Effective Mac - Using TimeMachine Part II or Why Restore was greyed out?

2009-09-12 Personal Mac Tips & Tricks

It happened again!!! Another HD crash. A year ago I lost my original 160GB drive and replaced it with a 250GB drive. Now this one failed only 12 month later. I am not sure what is happening here, but I do not feel that I "mishandle" my MacBook in a way that would explain this rate of failure. Let me know, what your experience is. Are MacBooks DiskEaters?

Anyway ... in any case I had a chance to see, if my new backup strategy is better than my old one. You might remember (or not :)) that last year I found out that you have to use TimeMachine the "right way", if you want to have a pleasant restore experience.

This time around I booted from the Installation CD, went to Utilities and selected "Restore System from Backup ...". Imagine my surprise when I was confronted with a selection of snapshots until 2 month ago (and I was sure that the last backup was from Sep., 03rd), but I figured "Hey, better *something* from mid of May than nothing and maybe I can restore more files using the TimeMachine application after the initial restore" and of we go ...

6 hours later my system is restored and I start the TimeMachine application and surprise (again :)) I can see all me backups until Sep., 03rd, but all backups between mid of May and Sep., 03rd are greyed out (including the Restore button). Weird and frustrating. What the hell did I do to make all of these backups "un-restoreable"?

After an hour of investigation I found the problem: Mid of may I renamed the disk in the MacBook from "Macintosh HD" to "Roland's HD". Trivial, simple change, nothing to think about, nothing to worry about and TimeMachine continues to back up as normal, but will create a new backup set with the new volume name.

What is not really immediately obvious is that you can restore from various backup sets, when you run "Restore System from Backup ...". After you have selected the disk to restore from, there is a drop-down box at the top of the screen, that will allow you to select a backup set (in case you have more than one on the disk) and the next screen will then display all snapshots in that set, means the solution to my problem was to select the "Roland's HD" set and voila ... suddenly the snapshots between mid of May and Sep., 03rd are displayed.

After another 6 hours I was in pretty good shape and I now like TimeMachine even more than before.

BTW, ... if you are in Dublin and need help with your Mac I recommend the guys from the MacShop at Merrion Square. Good, competent, fast. This is how it should be.