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Extract Directly from Time Machine

Normally you use Time Machine to restore lost data in a file like this: within the Time Machine interface, you go back to the time the file was not yet messed up, and you restore it to replace the file you have now.

You can also elect to keep both, but the restored file takes the name and place of the current one. So, if you have made changes since the backup took place that you would like to keep, they are lost, or you have to mess around a bit to merge changes, rename files, and trash the unwanted one.

As an alternative, you can browse the Time Machine backup volume directly in the Finder like any normal disk, navigate through the chronological backup hierarchy, and find the file which contains the lost content.

Once you've found it, you can open it and the current version of the file side-by-side, and copy information from Time Machine's version of the file into the current one, without losing any content you put in it since the backup was made.

Submitted by
Eolake Stobblehouse


Update Migration Assistant before Upgrading to Lion

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Stop the presses! Wait! We don’t have presses! That’s good, since Apple has just released Migration Assistant Update for Snow Leopard, which is described somewhat blandly despite the rather irritating consequences:

This update addresses an issue with the Migration Assistant application in Mac OS X Snow Leopard that prevents transfer of your personal data, settings, and compatible applications from a Mac running Mac OS X Snow Leopard to a new Mac running Mac OS X Lion.

Although it’s unclear how prevalent this bug is (we haven’t run into migration problems during the testing of Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Upgrading to Lion”) and Apple implies that it applies only to a new Mac running Lion, we still recommend getting this update via Software Update or the Apple Support Downloads page (where it’s a 714 KB download) before upgrading to Lion. And if you’re planning on buying a new Mac that has Lion pre-installed and migrating your data over to it from a Mac running Snow Leopard, you’d be silly not to download this Migration Assistant update first.

Check out the Take Control ebooks that expand on the topic in this article:

Upgrade to Lion successfully with Joe Kissell's advice, gained through countless test installs. Learn what to do if you can't download from the App Store, avoid problems, and perform key post-upgrade tasks. Covers upgrading from Tiger or Leopard, Lion Server installation basics, migrating to a new Mac, and Recovery mode.


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Comments about Update Migration Assistant before Upgrading to Lion
(Comments are closed.)

Robert S  2011-07-25 12:33
I would be interested in learning if there are any data/application migration options between a 2008 - 32 bit MacBook Pro w/Leopard 10.5.8 and a new iMac with Lion. Unfortunately my HD is full and there's not enough space to install Snow Leopard. I'll be doing this the hard way...
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-07-25 12:36
Yup, this is covered in "Take Control of Upgrading to Lion," along with details about how much disk space you need.
Steven Raskin  2011-07-25 20:36
I'm one of those die-hards who still uses Eudora for email. Will Eudora 6.2 run under Lion or do I have to make the change-over to Mail before-hand? If so, are there instructions for porting over all my mail, mailboxes, settings, filters, etc.?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-07-26 06:32
No, Eudora requires Rosetta and will not run in Lion. Plus, some of the conversion tools also require Rosetta, so you'll want to convert your mail elsewhere before you upgrade to Lion.
Doug Hall  2011-07-26 06:35
I ran into this problem and I was using the new Lion Migration Assistant. Here's what I did:

• Made a Lion install disk from the download.
• Did a full Time Machine backup to a new drive
• Formatted my drive to a journaled format with Lion's Disk Utility.
• Installed Lion from the install disk
• Used Lion's migration Assistant to pull over Apps and Documents.

On three attempts, Migration Assistant hung with less than a minute remaining. It didn't matter that if I selected Documents, or Applications or both.
marikavs  2011-07-27 15:08
I am "planning on buying a new Mac that has Lion pre-installed and migrating your [my] data over to it from a Mac running Snow Leopard" so I downloaded the update today to be prepared for a) not having the broadband connection then and b) migrating from my ancient MacBook (original 1,1) when I get an "Air" (or something) when I scrape together the funds. But I'm confused. The Migration Assistant in Utilities looks just the same as it did before I installed the update - Version 3.0.4 with a June date. Did I already get it with some software update in June, or am I missing where to look?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2011-07-27 15:27
My suspicion is that there's shared code used by both the Migration Assistant app you can see and the one that pops up during installation.

I have the same version of the app in the Utilities folder that you do, also after installing the Supplemental Update.