Time Machine 10.8 podcast – Recover Data

 
Hi and welcome to the second part of our podcast on Time Machine. My Name is Pete.

In this episode I am looking at recovery from a Time Machine backup, in the first part Hugo talked about backing up with Time Machine and in the final part we will look at the advanced features.

So, say one day you startup your Mac and find it doesn’t startup as usual, you see a persistent grey screen with a folder and a flashing question mark or a prohibitory sign.

The first step to this problem would be to run Disk Utility, you can get access to disk utility from the recovery partition, recovery is accessed by starting your Mac and holding down Command R at boot time or hold the option key and select the recovery partition. If you don’t have a recovery partition then you can boot from your backup drive or use Internet Recovery by holding Command Option & R if your Mac is capable.

When you have Disk Utility running you should be able to select your boot volume and then click the verify button, if verify finds errors then try repair disk. If you still have errors or no disk or volume shows up, they would all indicate a possible faulty drive.

So it’s time to book your Mac in for a checkup with Amsys, where we will inform you of our findings and if we have to format or replace the drive then the original operating system, with a recovery partition will be installed, but your data still needs to be restored from your Time Machine backup.

The easiest way to do this, from a full backup on an external drive, is to connect the drive and boot from it; this will take you to the recovery screen where you can restore your backup. If your backup is network based then you will need to connect to that network before you will be able to select the data volume and restore.

You will now see a list of the stored backups, the most current at the top, select a backup, select the destination drive and restore.

The restore will take some time, dependent upon the size of your data.

If you try to restore your backup to a different Mac you will be notified that you need to use the Migration assistant to achieve this, the Migration assistant can be found in the Utilities folder.

When it comes to restoring a single file, we have a couple of choices, the Time Machine interface or manually drag and drop the file. Firstly let’s look at the Time Machine interface, this is a very intuitive way to choose or find the version of a file you want to restore.

The interface shows windows going back in time, on the right hand side is a timeline that identifies backups, dates in pink indicate the data that resides on your Time Machine backup device. Dates in white indicate the data resides on your Mac. In OS X Mountain Lion and Lion, portable Macs have the feature of local snapshots.

Searching works just as it does in the Finder, so you can search for the files you need to restore. When you have found the file you need to restore, click the Restore button in the bottom right of the screen and the file will be restored to its original location. If a duplicate file exists in that location then you will be asked what to do, you can replace the current file with the one from the backup, you can keep both files, the one being restored will have its name appended with (original) in brackets, or cancel the restore.

Should you want to delete a file from all the backups, then select the file and click on the action menu and select the option to Delete All Backups of the selected file.

The quick look feature is also available from the same menu; this is very useful for identifying the correct file to restore.

When each backup is stored, a folder is created as is the date and timestamp of the backup. When you open this folder it will be a replica of your drive and all of your files will be current as of that backup, to restore a file you simply drag and drop the file from the backup drive to wherever you want it.

Apple has integrated Mail, Contacts and Calendars with Time Machine so that the app data is restored directly into these apps. For example, if Time Machine is started while you are using Mail, all of the windows you see going back in time are Mail windows.

If we step back in time to find an email we have deleted when we click restore a Time Machine, a mailbox is created containing the recovered messages, a similar process happens for the other apps

If you are using apps that are Version capable, like Keynote and Pages, then starting Time Machine while using these apps is the same as browsing the versions of the current document.

Thanks for watching and join us next month episode 3 on Time Machine’s advanced features.

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