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how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby paul tha other » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:58 am

ive had a failing drive.its was no big deal i got a replacement etc...today i got a email from someone wanting something that was on that drive..ive got it all backed up ,no problem..or so i thought

opened up time machine to find that it hasnt got the backups from that drive...it was there last week when the drive was inside my mac but now its not there i cant get to the files..


is there a way to get to them???

its not a big deal if not...they were asking on the off chance
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:26 pm

If the drive doesn't mount, then you probably can't repair it via DiskUtility, so in these instances, my absolute first port of call is DiskWarrior - likely the issues with it are fixable and DW does a much better job than anything else in my experience.

If DW can't fix it, then it's likely not recoverable (without specialists).
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby paul tha other » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:31 pm

the drive itself is gone,in the bin.....it was one that was inside my mac pro...time machine has been backin it up for years...i saw the back up for that drive last week .i open up time machine, no back ups for that drive..they were there last week, when the drive was working and inside my computer..
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby desmond » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:35 pm

Ok - maybe others can help, I don't like, use, or trust Time Machine...
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:53 pm

I'm not a mac user, but my first thought here is that Time Machine is running synchronous backups. In others words, whatever changes in the computer the TM backup changes to reflect that.

So if you add a file it's copied to the backup, and if you delete a file it is also deleted from the back up (possibly after a set time period...)

So in this case, since the original hard drive has been physically removed, I imagine the backup has decided it need no longer backup those removed files... and I suspect they they will all have gone forever.

A online backup is not the same thing as a secure storage archive....

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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby paul tha other » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:16 pm

you right but time machine dosnt delete the file if you delete it...if i deleted files by accident i normally go into time machine and scroll back to the date i deleted the relevant files and hit restore so i know the files are there but i cant see the drive in my back up menu or if i open the back up drive

like i said none of this is crucial but it would be handy if i could get to those files
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby paul tha other » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:17 pm

oh and thanks for your replies.
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:38 pm

paul tha other wrote:...time machine dosnt delete the file if you delete it...if i deleted files by accident i normally go into time machine and scroll back to the date i deleted the relevant files and hit restore...

Fair enough -- as I said I'm not a Mac or TM user... but I do have experience of a variety of commercial backup systems, most of which can be configured to archive/delete files in different ways.

Regardless, as you can no longer see the broken drive listed in the TM menu or when you open the backup drive itself, it would appear that by removing the drive from your Mac Time Machine has decided to remove the corresponding files from the backup archive too... which does have a certain degree of logical sense about it.

But you will need a Time Machine expert for a definitive answer as to whether there's any way to recover those lost/hidden files.

Personally, I run daily incremental backups of my computer's drives to a NAS Raid array box, but I also have other dedicated NAS boxes that provide a long term storage archive of completed materials.

I surprised myself recently by being able to retrieve for someone the original text and graphics files for an article I wrote in 1996, and I have archive audio source and mix files dating back to the same era... :-) <smug mode on>

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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby paul tha other » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:12 pm

for 90%of the time time machine is fine...i just find that every now and then it isnt...im moving to something a bit better once (or if ever) i get this new computer

anyway thanks again

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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby RoadieChauffeur » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:03 pm

Not sure which version of OS you are running, but I don't think Time Machine varies that much.
There is an oddity when looking for removed disk volumes, in that the Time machine UI starts with the current state of play and in your case, the volume isn't there.
To see removed volumes:
- Open Finder
- Enter time machine (which will be the Today - Now backup view)
- select your computer name from the sidebar
- the contents should show current volumes
- scroll back down the timeline to when the missing volume did exist
- the removed disk should appear in the main window (but not the sidebar)
- Open the volume and navigate as normal
- restore files as required

Hopefully that will sort you out.
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby RoadieChauffeur » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:13 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I'm not a mac user, but my first thought here is that Time Machine is running synchronous backups.

Time Machine is a (file level) snapshot system rather than a backup system. Very roughly, it takes a copy of the folder/file structure at each backup. If it has previously backed up copies of any of the files, the new backup structure is just set to point to them. If there are new or changed files, those are copied to the backup and linked to the new backup file structure. The result is that any one file is only ever in Time Machine once, and each backup process is very much like an incremental backup.

When viewing the backups/snapshots you can browse the folder structure and see all versions of a folder or file over time.

When an old backup is deleted (which happens when the Time Machine volume gets full) all that gets deleted is the old folder/file index and any files that ONLY appear in that backup, and no later ones.

To make the historic restore more useful, Time Machine doesn't just delete backups from the oldest end, but it 'thins out' the snapshot points so recent ones are every half hour or so, and the oldest ones are kept for about one every month.
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:59 pm

RoadieChauffeur wrote:Time Machine is a (file level) snapshot system rather than a backup system....

Thanks for the overview Roadie -- interesting and much appreciated.

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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby paul tha other » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:57 pm

ah haaa....gotcha.....perfect that worked a treat...

thanks for the info


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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:53 pm

:clap: Yay! :D :thumbup: So hidden, rather than lost! Phew
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby desmond » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:16 pm

RoadieChauffeur wrote:To see removed volumes:
- Open Finder
- Enter time machine (which will be the Today - Now backup view)
- select your computer name from the sidebar
- the contents should show current volumes
- scroll back down the timeline to when the missing volume did exist
- the removed disk should appear in the main window (but not the sidebar)
- Open the volume and navigate as normal
- restore files as required

To me, that seems a *terrible* way to do backups, particularly for consumers.
*Hiding* your backed up files when you want to restore them... unless you can remember the date you last connected your volume... sheesh!

Just one of the many reasons why I don't use, like, or trust, Time Machine (but I appreciate for some folks it's a good, simple solution and has some advantages.)

Thanks for the procedure, BTW. :thumbup:
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby paul tha other » Tue Jun 12, 2018 5:02 pm

i agree...i have a vague memory or maybe again it was a dream but im sure it didnt used to work that way...it might have got changed when one of the updates that "made it better"got installed ..i could be wrong...
i think that maybe having spent too many years on computers and having to learn or deal with the progression and changes of software has put me in a place where im always second guessing myself.when i was looking for the back ups it never occurred to me to scroll back to when the drive got unplugged because i can remember doing this or something similar before and it didnt seem to be this much of a carry on


tbh though time machine kinda does what i need it to do, just every now and then it confuses me when it throws a curve ball like this

anyway..thanks again for the info

paul
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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby ConcertinaChap » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:21 pm

I quite like Time Machine and on the two occasions when I truly needed it it came through trumps. Nevertheless this might have caught me out in the same way and for similar reasons, So I'm bookmarking this thread ... just in case :)

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Re: how to get the back ups of a drive that is no longer there

Postby ore_terra » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:14 pm

It's saved my ass a couple of times... can't see how it would not be useful in cases like this one (stuff accidentally - or not - deleted)
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