...aand it's stopped working again, whether connected directly to my Mac via Ethernet or via the Time Capsule-created Wifi network. Does anyone know what's going on here? When I try to browse another backup, my current backup pops onto the desktop, and as I said, all I see is the top level of my computer, not the disk I'm trying to access (the backup of that disk shows up, but that's no help, because I can only browse it folder-wise (i.e. by the dated backup folders) not Time Machine-wise, and I can't restore anything via Time Machine view in any case).
What OS are you actually running? Initial profile showed Snow Leopard.. funny stuff happens with Mountain Lion.
I am at a bit of a loss what you are trying to achieve. Backups are not designed as a method to find files and copy them from a different computer.
If you want to do that, login and share files from the other computer and copy directly.
You should only use TM backup from the computer that created it due to permissions issues.. but you can recover a whole backup.
Read all the stuff in Pondini from 14-17 on various issues of restore from TM.
You can access the backup.. and restore it.. it will restore just fine.. I use a USB drive plugged into the computer and restore the whole thing.. because you cannot get files out of libraries.. you have to restore the files to access them.. that means restoring whole libraries now with newer versions of iphoto or itunes etc.
If you want a file from the other computer.. copy it across the network.. don't dig it out of the backup.
You're confused. Using the directions at http://pondini.org/TM/17.html, you are supposed to be able to enter Time Machine (Star Wars) mode on another backup. This worked fine for me, and I was able to restore files properly--once. This is proper behavior. But before (and after) that, it did something different. The "Browse Other Time Machine Disks" function is not working properly for me, and I'm trying to figure out why.
If the other computer is logged into the sparsebundle at the time you try to get access to it, I think you might have issues.. The TM sparsebundle should be protected by TM when it is running and mounted.. Did you turn off the other computer when you did this.
And if I am confused.. I am sorry.. As far as I can see the idea of using the backup of another computer to access its files.. is not the correct method of file sharing.
If the other computer is logged into the sparsebundle at the time you try to get access to it, I think you might have issues..
As I no longer own the computer in question, this seems unlikely
In fact I was hoping to be able to remove older backups from my Time Capsule in order to free up some space. But without the "Browse Other Time Machine Disks" function working, this is impossible.
Restore the whole backup to a USB drive plugged into your computer..
Then wipe the TC. You can copy all the files you need from the USB drive.. and keep it until you are sure there is no need any longer for it.
I think there are mutliple issues with TM.. across versions for example if the old computer used a different OS.
And Mountain Lion does have issues handling TC.. if you reboot both things might suddenly start working again.
. . .
When I try to browse another backup, my current backup pops onto the desktop,
Yes, that's correct (if sometimes a bit misleading) -- the Today (Now) display always shows the current contents of the Mac you're running on -- not a backup.
all I see is the top level of my computer, not the disk I'm trying to access (the backupof that disk shows up, but that's no help, because I can only browse it folder-wise (i.e. by the dated backup folders)
Also correct. Things in the sidebar of the Today (Now) Finder window weren't backed-up from that other Mac -- even if they have the same names as things on the current Mac, they're from a different Mac, so are treated as being entirely different (and the contents usually are different).
If you don't select anything on the Today (Now) window, but instead click a backup in the TimeLine, that will show a Finder Window with a folder for each drive that was backed-up on that particular backup. From there, you should be able to navigate to what you want to see.
not Time Machine-wise,
I'm not sure what you mean by that, but I suspect you mean you can't click things in the sidebar. If so, that's correct, as explained above.
and I can't restore anything via Time Machine view in any case).
I'm assuming you mean via the normal Restore button at the lower-right of the screen? If so, that's because the Restore button really means "Restore to the original location," but since the original location is a different Mac, and/or the folder structure is different, it can't.
If so, try selecting something, and either right-clicking it or selecting the "gear" icon in the Finder window's toolbar, then selecting the Restore <Item> to... option, and select the desired location.
Okay that's even weirder. I've got the sparsebundle from the old computer's backup ("Backup of Herbie") mounted, and my computer decided to do a Time Machine backup , as it should. But it is the icon next to the Backup of Herbie in Finder Windows, not the Backup of Jane (my current computer)! However, ejecting "Backup of Jane" stopped the backup, so perhaps it wasn't actually trying to back up my current computer to the old sparsebundle, even though it sure looked like it.
If you want to restore to a different location, select the item(s), In your case all the top level folders.
but instead of the Restore button, control-click (right-click) the item That will produce a "contextual" menu something like this (the contents vary depending on what's selected, and whether you're on a backup, a Local snapshot, or the Today (Now) window:
Select the "Restore <item> to ..." option.
You’ll then see a window to choose the desired location. See Question #16 for details.
If you’re restoring an entire data-only volume, select all the top-level folders.
b. Many people do not update their profiles.. but I am really trying to help.. I am not trying to upset you or say anything wrong.. I do not read back every posting.. some comments are general.. if the two backups were made on different versions of TM there can be different issues.. take it as an attempt to aid not anger.