A Good Tip for TimeMachine users

Posted: September 5, 2008 in Apple, backup, Mac OSX, software
Tags: , , ,


I have to admit, this is something i was curious about the other day while working on a computer that was having issues. Sure i have backups of most of my stuff, and i have a complete backup of my MacBook through Time Machine, but what happens if my MacBook dies? can i restore to another Mac? Apparently i can…

(from MacFixit:, with info from the Apple forums..)

Tip: Restore Time Machine files to other computers.
Time Machine is great technology for backing up one computer, but problems arise when multiple systems are involved. When users use a disk for backing up one computer, the files are only restorable to that one computer. This is great for separating backups of multiple computers that may reside on one disk, but it prevents users from accessing the backups from one computer if they are on another computer. This affects users who either have had their computers’ motherboards replaced, or for users who are temporarily using another computer if their main one is being repaired.
“I had a computer lose a power supply and it is getting repaired. Can I restore folder or a few files from the crashed computer time machine external hard drive to another computer for temporary use until I get my other computer fixed.”
The ability to browse “other” backups is a feature that is available in Time Machine, but is not apparent to users. In order to access this feature, users should attach the Time Machine drive to the second computer, and then hold the options key and select the Time Machine menu from the system menu. There should be the option to “Browse Other Time Machine Disks”, which should bring up a list of available Time Machine backup volumes. Users can then access their backed up files from the new computer. This feature is also available by right-clicking the Time Machine dock icon.
So far i haven’t had to check this to ensure it works, but its good to know i am not totally screwed if the worst should happen and i need to restore to a new or at least different Mac.
With that knowledge, i can rest a little easier.


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