Lifting the Sun

Turns out Time Machine is not just for accidentally deleted files -- it works great for restoring a Mac from bare metal, too. Even over the network.

James Duncan Davidson's instructions for using theOSX Leopard install DVD to boot and restore from a Time Machine backup work great if you back up to aUSB or FireWire drive.

But I use Time Machine over the network, so my backup set wasn't available. Nedospasov had the secret for mounting the network backup share first.

Here's the whole process:

  1. Boot from the installer DVD. Choose "Options…" to get the Utilities menu

  2. Utilities > Disk Utility to partition the disk the way you like it

  3. Utilities > Restore System from Backup… If your Time Machine backup set appears, then restore away. While there's a button here to connect to a remote disk, that option wasn't clickable for me. So we'll have to mount our network volume manually.

  4. Utilities > Terminal Run this command to mount your backup volume manually (substitute your username, password, and so forth):

    mount -t afp afp://username:password@hostname/ShareName /Volumes
**Update:** On Snow Leopard, you may need to create the mountpoint first (thanks, Darren!):
    sudo mkdir /Volumes/Time\ Machine\ Backupsmount -t afp
    afp://username:password@hostname/ShareName /Volumes/Time\ Machine\ Backups
5. **Utilities > Restore System from Backup…** and you should now be able to choose your Time Machine backups. Wait for System Restore to do it's thing. Over my 100Mb network, it took about four and a half hours to restore 80G. WiFi would require even more patience. Once the restore is done, you'll be asked to reboot. And then, ta-da -- just about everything will be back just the way it was. A couple of exceptions: Mail will rebuild its cache the first time you start it. You'll have to re-authorize iTunes. And if you use Web Sharing, Apache won't start because its log directory isn't restored. To fix Web Sharing, recreate Apache's log directory. From Terminal, run this command:
    sudo mkdir /private/var/log/apache2
And that's all. At least for OSX 10.5.3. While Time Machine does not give you a bootable external drive the way that a backup with SuperDuper! might, Time Machine support baked into the OSX install DVD makes this a great option. With Time Machine we get file versioning and disaster recovery. Way to go, Apple!

13569 views and 7 responses

  • May 4 2011, 3:12 PM
    Darren responded:

    I think your instructions are out of date for Snow Leopard.

    Only a small change, but this works:

    $ mkdir /Volumes/TimeMachine
    $ mount -t afp afp://user:password@afpserver.local/ShareName /Volumes/TimeMachine

    Quit Terminal, then enter the Time Machine Restore utility. The unsupported backup volume should then show up.



  • Jun 22 2011, 8:11 PM
    Eric Johnson responded:
    Thanks, Darren! I've updated the post accordingly.
  • Jul 18 2011, 1:40 AM
    vfdvd responded:
  • Mar 2 2012, 9:23 AM
    Glenn responded:
    Thank you!

    I was stuck here with my DroboFS not showing up in the list of restore points. This fixed it! On Lion you don't need to create the mount point first.

  • Mar 22 2012, 3:10 PM
    blazejpawlak responded:
    In my case I had to create the mount point manually and then additionally issue 'hdid /Volumes/myBackupVolume/myBackup.sparesbundle

    Only after that the backup showed up on the list.

  • Mar 23 2012, 1:28 PM
    briancellis (Twitter) responded:
    I followed Darren's instructions and was getting 1069 errors when attempting to mount the drobo fs. I found that using the ip address in place of afpserver.local did the trick with mountafp afp://username:password@ /Volumes/TimeMachine

    Good news is I'm back in business with 10.6. Thanks for the help!

  • <div class='responsetime'>Apr 25 2012, 2:47 PM
    esti responded:
I restored a MacBook Pro 13 using a Lion installer. I had to follow the steps blazejpawlak describes. Specifically:

mount -t afp aft://user:password:192.168.xx.xx/ShareName /Volumes/TimeMachine
hdid /Volumes/TimeMachine/myBackup.sparsebundle

Without the hdid step the volume didn't show in the list of volumes.

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