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  1. #1

    Jhorra's Avatar
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    Restore specific files from time machine backup
    So I was beginning to have problems with my mac and decided to do a fresh install. I did a final backup, wiped the hard drive and installed Lion. Now I want to restore specific files from Time Machine, but I don't see options like that. There was Users, applications, settings and "Other files". I chose other files thinking that would let me choose, but it just went straight to transferring. I have no idea what it's transferring. Is there a way to choose specific files?

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    When you open Time Machine and select a date to restore from, you should see a Finder like view of that particular backup. Navigate through the backup the same way as you would through the Finder and choose the folder or files you wish to restore.

  3. #3

    Jhorra's Avatar
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    Yes but that's when you're browsing through your own backup. After the fresh install it doesn't see it as my back up, so I can't do it the normal way.

  4. #4


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    You did the restore incorrectly. What you should have done is wiped the hard drive, booted from the Lion Recovery partition, and then done a full restore from your Time Machine backup (one of the options of the Lion Recovery Partition).

  5. #5

    Jhorra's Avatar
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    I didn't want to do a full restore. I just wanted to restore specific files.

  6. #6

    McBie's Avatar
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    Open Time Machine with your external backup disk connected.
    Inside Time Machine, browse to the day from which you want to restore data
    ( Right hand side )
    Inside the finder in Time Machine, browse to the file/folder you want to restore and click Restore

    Job Done.

    PS. Once in Time Machine, it can take a few minutes before the history ( days on the right hand side ) are loaded, so be patient.

    If after a re-install your Time Machine is empty, do a right click on the Time Machine icon on the dock and select "Browse Other Time Machine Disks ".

    Cheers ... McBie
    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

  7. #7

    chscag's Avatar
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    That's what I suggested in my reply above but he states it isn't working because he installed fresh and now it doesn't "see" his backup.

  8. #8

    Jhorra's Avatar
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    In the end here's what I did:
    1. Since it was a time capsule it only shows as a mounted drive when time machine was using it, so I would have to activate time machine so the drive would mount.
    2. At this point I could see all the folders in time machine, but when I tried to copy files out of the folder it would say I didn't have permission to view them.
    3. To get around this I had to use the console to launch finder as the administrator
    4. This would let me copy the files from Time Machine to my local disk.
    5. When copied this way the permissions were messed up, so I would have to modify the permissions on any file I retrieved using get info.

  9. #9

    Jhorra's Avatar
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    As stated above, since I did a fresh install it didn't see the previous back ups as being for my machine, so I couldn't use the regular time machine interface to retrieve them.

  10. #10

    Deckyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McBie View Post
    Open Time Machine with your external backup disk connected.
    Inside Time Machine, browse to the day from which you want to restore data
    ( Right hand side )
    Inside the finder in Time Machine, browse to the file/folder you want to restore and click Restore

    Job Done.

    PS. Once in Time Machine, it can take a few minutes before the history ( days on the right hand side ) are loaded, so be patient.

    If after a re-install your Time Machine is empty, do a right click on the Time Machine icon on the dock and select "Browse Other Time Machine Disks ".

    Cheers ... McBie
    This saved me HOURS of frustration! Somehow when I moved all my iTunes media from my MBP to an off-computer location, a good number of albums got misplaced or deleted or something. After reading this post I went home and gave it a shot and BAM, 132 albums replaced - no need to call for a new download.
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
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  11. #11

    McBie's Avatar
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    Glad it helped you out Brad .

    Cheers ... McBie
    A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.
    The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

  12. #12

    Deckyon's Avatar
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    Yeah! It was the best thing to happen to me in a week (yeah, my life is nuts).
    MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
    MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
    iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Air 2 128 GB LTE, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2

  13. #13


    Member Since
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    I have question:

    I have Movies folder and Music folder and I want Time Machine to backup only new files in these folders automatically, because I am working with music projects and I don't like to copy projects manually.

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Mar 31, 2013
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    same problem as yours (i need help please)
    Jhorra i've been having the same exact problem!!! please let me know if you were able to find a solution for it! tit4tat_91@hotmail.com

  15. #15

    Slydude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SABOND21 View Post
    I have question:

    I have Movies folder and Music folder and I want Time Machine to backup only new files in these folders automatically, because I am working with music projects and I don't like to copy projects manually.
    Are you saying that you want Time Machine to back up new files in only these two folders? If so, simply exclude all other folders from the backup. See this article and read the section Putting Time Machine on a Diet,

    Once you exclude folders that you don't want to back up Time Machine backs up what's left. The first time it backs up al the content of those folders. On each subsequent backup only new / modified files are copied to the backup. A pointer is made to the location of unchanged files. This saves space or the backup size would quickly get out of control.

    Keep in mind that any files in the excluded folders are not backed up. Make sure they are either backed up elsewhere or unimportant.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

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