How to Open Read Extract View Recover or Restore Data from Time Machine Sparse Bundle File

  • Posted: 06 September 2009 10:35 PM

    I have a MacBook that had to be restored to factory settings because I messed it up somehow trying to install Windows via boot camp. It was backing up to time machine for months before this happened. When it was all setup again, it began backing up to time machine but did not recognize the sparse bundle file that was created for this machine over the time before it was re-imaged. I thought that it would overwrite this existing sparse bundle file so I copied it down from the time machine device to my desktop. The only thing I want out of the sparse bundle file is my iTunes music. Here are my questions:

    1. Is there a way to tell the machine to use use the existing sparse bundle file on my desktop, providing I move it back to the time machine device and delete the current (brand new) sparse bundle file that time machine has created? Then if this is possible would I then be able to restore my iTunes music folder?

    2. Is there a way for me to manually open the sparse bundle file and locate just my iTunes music files and copy those out of the sparse file onto my HD into iTunes?

    3. Do you have any other ideas or suggestions I should try to get my music back?

    Thank you!
    P.S. I’m a little new to this and I’m pretty sure that I have managed to post this to the wrong location… unfortunately I can’t figure out how to move it or where it should go if i new how. Sorry.

    [ Edited: 06 September 2009 10:37 PM by bskeezy ]      
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    Posted: 08 September 2009 07:59 AM #1

    You could boot from your OS X DVD and then do a system restore from the original time machine back up, selecting a good version from before the machine became messed up with windows.

         
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    Posted: 08 September 2009 02:59 PM #2

    I, personally, haven’t tried this but an app called Back-in-Time looks like it might be of some help.

    http://www.tri-edre.fr/english/backintime.html

    - Jerry

         
  • Posted: 08 September 2009 05:45 PM #3

    bskeezy - 07 September 2009 01:35 AM

    2. Is there a way for me to manually open the sparse bundle file and locate just my iTunes music files and copy those out of the sparse file onto my HD into iTunes?

    Regarding #2, I’ve opened up several Time Machine sparse bundle image files and navigated through them without any special tools.

    When you open up your sparse image bundle, you may see several folders with dates or numbers (I can’t recall exactly which), but look for a folder called “Latest Backup” (or something similar like “Current Backup”).  If you open that folder you should be able to browse what your hard drive existed as of that backup.

    You iTunes music folder is usually within your /Users/yourusername/Music folder.

    If you want something older than the most recent backup, you can delve into the numbered folders.

    If this doesn’t work for you, post again and I’ll take another go at it.

         
  • Posted: 16 September 2009 05:53 PM #4

    JerryM - 08 September 2009 05:59 PM

    I, personally, haven’t tried this but an app called Back-in-Time looks like it might be of some help.

    http://www.tri-edre.fr/english/backintime.html

    - Jerry

    Thanks I will try some of those suggestions and see what I come up with. Thanks Jerry, I am also a Dolphins fan (what are the odds) and actually witnessed firsthand, the beatdown we received on Sunday from the Falcons in the GA Dome. I will reply back to this post with what worked, in case it helps someone else.

         
  • Posted: 16 September 2009 09:41 PM #5

    gregriley - 08 September 2009 10:59 AM

    You could boot from your OS X DVD and then do a system restore from the original time machine back up, selecting a good version from before the machine became messed up with windows.

    Far from a pro, but I vote for that choice. :\

         
  • Posted: 17 September 2009 01:21 AM #6

    brokentry - 17 September 2009 12:41 AM
    gregriley - 08 September 2009 10:59 AM

    You could boot from your OS X DVD and then do a system restore from the original time machine back up, selecting a good version from before the machine became messed up with windows.

    Far from a pro, but I vote for that choice. :\

    I restored from a Time Machine backup following the replacement of a hard drive under AppleCare warranty. It worked flawlessly. While Time Machine might not be a perfect solution, I now consider it an essential part of my computing regiment. Under Snow Leopard Time Machine works much more quickly and appears to be much more stable.

    Following the Snow Leopard upgrade I deleted the old Time Machine sparsebundles and started anew on each Mac in the house. Not only did this gain storage space, Snow Leopard has really sped up the hourly backup process.

         
  • Posted: 21 September 2009 04:49 PM #7

    I know this is an old topic, and perhaps I didn’t understand the question but…

    I have an older Intel iMac running Leopard (10.5)

    I recently purchased a new Mac and after I went through the initial stuff (registration etc.) I upgraded to Snow Leopard (10.6)

    Then I plugged in my Time Machine drive from the 10.5 iMac, told 10.6’s Time Machine to leave it alone and started to copy from from it. I navigated to the latest backup and just started copying. It worked great and I got just the files I wanted. I also copied over the Time Machine’s ~/library/mail folder into the new Mac’s ~/library directory. (I had not run Mail yet.) Once I ran mail it updated the mailboxes and I was in business.

    So from my perspective, just drag-n-drop what you want from your Time Machine backup onto you new drive.

         
  • Posted: 09 October 2010 07:41 AM #8

    Hi, i tried that but the osx says that the time machine files are from a security drive and can’t be moved.

    what should i do to recover this files?

         
  • Posted: 17 May 2012 10:38 PM #9

    My Macbook’s hard drive failed and I sent it to the shop. As a result I wanted to open my Time Machine backup to have access to certain files. I have an old Macbook that I tried to use for this purpose. I had been using Time Machine on the same time capsule with this old computer. The first big scare is that Time Machine will not show you the new backups if you use the old computer, but only the backups for that computer (3 year old backups in my case). I was able to figure that out and next I tried using migration assistant to recover the information that was invisible on TM. I was able to identify from a list of options what appeared to be the new backups and I believe that system would have worked, except that my old laptop did not have space on its hard drive to fit the new backups. AND migration assistant will not let you use an external hard drive or such. My last recourse was what worked: open Finder, on the menu click “Go -> Connect to Server” then “browse.” The time capsule should appear there on the list. Double clicking it will mount it as a drive. Then on Finder, on the menu click “Go -> Go to Folder” and say “/Volumes” Voila, you will see the backups mounted there, which you can browse normally with Finder, and copy individual files to your computer (do NOT attempt to write though). Everything works, except it is a little slow. There was one last scare, all the directories, including the root one, had the date of creation, not the modify date. So my root directory had the date of 3 years ago, when the new backups for the new computer were first established. The same goes for other directories. I hope this is helpful to someone.

    [ Edited: 17 May 2012 10:41 PM by Uli2001 ]      
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    Posted: 22 May 2012 02:27 PM #10

    Thanks for that Uli2001. You can also hold down the option key when you click the Time Machine menu (in the menu bar) which gives you the (otherwise hidden) “Browse Other Backup Disks…” option, allowing you to perhaps do this in a more “approved” way.

    Either way, glad you got it working, and thank you for sharing the path that you took to get there!

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  • Posted: 13 June 2012 09:36 AM #11

    Hey guys.  Joined the forum specifically to thank Uli2001. I had an MBPro that was about 5 years old and encrypted with FileVault.  The logic board died and took a few other things with it, so not worth repairing.  I bought a new Pro yesterday after the release of the new line, and I did not know I should have tried restoring from a backup before doing anything else like creating new user accounts.  Attempted Migration Assistant to try and restore my data from my Time Machine backup disk only to have the system tell me that I could not restore FileVault accounts.  Following the instructions in the post for using the “Connect to Server” option, selecting /Volumes, and then double-clicking my .sparsebundle file allowed me to put in my old password and browse folders as if I was looking at a server.  I created a folder called Restored on my desktop, and I was able to copy everything I needed.  Given that I had years worth of family and professional photos and music going back to my college days (> 20 years), you cannot imagine how much I appreciate your post and the ability to breathe again.

         
  • Posted: 10 August 2012 09:17 AM #12

    HI,
    I know this is an old Thread but I was hoping to get some help. Seems that you are the only ones on the internet that got somewhere:

    I Lost 4 years of DATA with backup that cannot mount?

    I had to do a format in my computer but before doing so I backedup my computer using the Time machine back up. I am not sure If did not let the back up finalize completely or if it was because I set up the computer with a diferent name afterwards:::: but it shows it has 450 mb in the back up I would like to recover, but when I went to mount my back up with Disk Utility, it cannot mount the image, with the time machine it only show the new machine.

    I have sent the drive out to try to recover the image and it shows up enough for other utilities to see it and after scans, the logical size of the data is full of numbers, but no .doc or photos.


    So, my question, finally, is this:

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could recover my data? I have 4 years of work: inventory, family photos and I am desperate.

    Thank you so much.