How can I trust Time Ma­chine again?

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

I re­for­mat­ted my MacBook Pro (Mid 2010) and did a clean in­stall of Mavericks. Now it won’t recog­nise my Time Ma­chine backup in ei­ther Mi­gra­tion As­sis­tant or Re­cov­ery ( ç+r). It can see all the back­ups in Finder. I’ve in­stalled an ear­lier backup from Car­bon Copy Cloner, but I have no luck with Time Ma­chine. I also use Time Ma­chine for my iMac and need to know if this is a reg­u­lar prob­lem as I now worry about back­ing up my Macs. Bob Collins

Your backup is fine, you just used the wrong tool to re­store it. Mi­gra­tion As­sis­tant is de­signed to move a user ac­count (and its data) from one Mac to an­other. It creates a new user ac­count with the same name and then copies data from the most re­cent Time Ma­chine backup.

The trou­ble is OS X has a hid­den num­ber (called the UID) that it uses to dis­tin­guish ac­counts. The first one cre­ated on a new Mac is num­bered 501 and it counts up from there. When you first start a new (or cleaned down) Mac, the Setup As­sis­tant asks you if you want to re­store from Time Ma­chine. If you do it then and there, the data is copied to UID 501 and ev­ery­thing works fine. Oth­er­wise, a new ac­count with UID 501 is cre­ated, so when you run Mi­gra­tion As­sis­tant later, UID 501 is al­ready taken and it creates UID 502. Though the ac­count name might match the backup, the dif­fer­ent UID stops you restor­ing.

There’s a way to shuf­fle the 502 ac­count to 501, but it’s pretty com­pli­cated. The sim­plest way out of your predica­ment is to re­for­mat once more, but this time opt to re­store from Time Ma­chine dur­ing the Setup As­sis­tant.

Mi­gra­tion is good for mov­ing data to an­other Mac, but Setup As­sis­tant’s bet­ter for restor­ing a backup.

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