14 Replies Latest reply: Sep 29, 2015 10:00 AM by macdaddysolutions
Murgy1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

What would be a quick way to change permissions on 33 TM backup dates?  All I'm interested in is the Documents folders.


My new laptop has a different user ID than the one it replaced. I am unable to view the contents of my Users/oldUserID folders in any of the TM backups. I realize TM won't restore to a different computer so wish to copy some older Documents folders to the new computer. I am missing some files which may have not been in the Time Machine backup Migration Assistant used when the new laptop was set up at the Apple Store last year. I was able to change permissions for one userID directory in one TM backup but not for the subdirectories. I thought it would take less time to change permissions for the entire TM backup folder for the old laptop. I was wrong. In Get Info > Sharing & Permissions for the TM backups of the main MacBook folder the Names are greyed out and one says "Fetching...".

What does "fetching" mean wrt users on a directory tree?  Is it looking for all the users? How long should that take? Folder contains 990 GB, computer sleep=Never. This has taken over 24 hours and I have no idea what, if any, progress is being made with the fetching or with my attempting to change permissions down the directory tree.


System is using MacOS X.8.4


Message was edited by: Murgy1

MacBook Pro (13-inch Late 2011), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Daniel Ebeck Level 4 Level 4 (1,660 points)

    Are you doing this through the TM interface, or have you mounted the dmg on the desktop?


    990GB is a lot of data...

  • Eric Root Level 8 Level 8 (41,475 points)

    You might be able to inherit the backup using the information in the 1st two links. The third link is general troubleshooting.


    Inherit a Backup

    Inherit a Backup (2)


    Time Machine Troubleshooting

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (177,680 points)

    Turn Time Machine OFF temporarily in its preference pane. Leave the window open.


    Navigate in the Finder to your backup disk, and then to the folder named "Backups.backupdb" at the top level of the volume. If you back up over a network, you'll first have to mount the disk image file containing your backups by double-clicking it. Descend into the folder until you see the snapshots, which are represented by folders with a name that begins with the date of the snapshot. Find the one you want to restore from. There's a link named "Latest" representing the most recent snapshot. Use that one, if possible. Otherwise, you'll have to remember the date of the snapshot you choose.


    Inside the snapshot folder is a folder hierarchy like the one on the source disk. Find one of the items you can't restore and select it. Open the Info dialog for the selected item. In the Sharing & Permissions section, you may see an entry in the access list that shows "Fetching…" in the Name column. If so, click the lock icon in the lower right corner of the dialog and authenticate. Then delete the "Fetching…" item from the access list. Give yourself read access if you don't already have it. Click the gear icon below the list and select Apply to enclosed items from the popup menu.


    Now you should be able either to copy the item in the Finder or to restore it in the time-travel view. If you use the time-travel view, be sure to select the snapshot you just modified. If successful, repeat the operation with the other items you were unable to restore. You can select multiple items in the Finder and open a single Info dialog for all of them by pressing the key combination option-command-I.


    When you're done, turn TM back ON and close its preference pane.

  • Murgy1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Not using the TM interface because TM doesn't see those backups.  Name of current laptop & my user ID have changed.

    Unsure what .dmg you're referring to.

  • Murgy1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    After unlocking the folder, Fetching was always greyed out so could not be removed or modified.

  • Murgy1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The old backups are about a year old. Some of the pondini info was useful.

    I was able to change permissions on some of the backups and was able to copy some of the Documents files to my new internal disc.

  • Murgy1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    My problems now:  After removing three backup folders from Time Machine to Trash I cannot entirely delete any of the backups in the Trash.

    Currently there are 65K files in the Trash.  When I click the "Empty Securely" button, with or without also holding down the alt/Option button, the "preparing to empty the Trash" window opens and when the "Number of items to delete" reaches the 65K number, the screen flash exits.  Each time I try to empty the Trash the number of items to delete is unchanged then the screen disappears.


    Why is this happening?  I have not enough space on my internal disc to move/copy any of the items from Trash even if that were possible.  What steps should I take to remove the items in the Trash?  The three backup folders in Trash have had their permissions changed to R/W recursively for all users:  me, admin, staff, everyone. I now have practically no space on my disc.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (177,680 points)

    Don't empty the Trash securely.

  • Murgy1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I see an appreciable drop in the amount of storage used on the TM external disc after your direction above, thanks, but the Trash still isn't flushed. I'm now down to 54 files (9MB) I can't get rid of.  All these files are locked, the Locked option box is greyed out even with the Get Info padlock unlocked. Unable to delete Fetching... from any of these files. The only Trash erase option displayed is the Secure Empty Trash.  How do I flush the rest of the Trash? 

  • Eric Root Level 8 Level 8 (41,475 points)



    Trash – Can’t Empty or Move File To Trash


    Trash FAQ       


    Trash – Empty When File is Locked or in Use

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (177,680 points)

    It's not clear whether you tried to empty the Trash insecurely with the option key down.


    By the way, there's a tendency for people to make comments on this site to the effect that you should empty the Trash using a shell command (in Terminal.) Don't do that.

  • Murgy1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I was able to finally change permissions and copy what I needed to another HDD.  It took many days.  Changing the permissions to the deleted Time Machine folder recursively seemed to never end.  Many problems with files whose permissions had not been changed, after all.  Think I got what I needed but there must be some easier way to restore the files.  I will try never again to allow the backup drive to fill up:  flagging files for deletion then loading more data onto the backup disk prevented restoration of the deleted files.


    Is it possible to only partly empty the Trash; that is, to select which files I wish to delete but leaving other files in the Trash? That would have save me a lot of time moving items off the backup drive to another backup drive, in order to restore deleted items.

  • Eric Root Level 8 Level 8 (41,475 points)

    Move the files you want to keep to your desktop, empty the trash, and then return the desktop files to the trash.

  • macdaddysolutions Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    You are awesome.