Using Time Machine to Restore Your System

There are times, even on a Mac when you want to restore your system to a state it was in at an earlier time or date. If you use Time Machine, you can do this, ever since OSX 10.5.

To get started, you need to have a drive that has been dedicated to your TM backups and your (Snow) Leopard/ Lion installation disc. Put the disc into your drive and double-click the installer dialogue that pops up.

Install OSX

Install OSX

This brings up another box telling you to Restart to begin the process:

Restart OSX

Restart OSX

When your System restarts, select your language to continue. Once the next screen loads you can access the Utilities menu at the top of the screen. Select the bottom option to Restore your System from a backup. You will be asked where the backup is stored (on which internal/external drive) and presented with a list of backups to choose from. Pick the one you want and continue. Time Machine will estimate how long the restoration will take before allowing you to start the process. It reminds you that you are going to delete all the contents of your Macintosh HD, but that’s what you want to do if you are restoring to an earlier state. If you have any doubts before doing this, use Finder to tell you what files have been created since the time you are looking to go back to, and save them on a disc or flash drive.

Finder Sidebar

Finder Sidebar

You will need to do this before you start the Time Machine process.

Once you start restoring your System, take a break… When you come back, hopefully Time Machine wants you to restart, so press the restart button to reboot and that’s almost it.

Spotlight will need to index your drives again before you can use it:

Spotlight

Spotlight

You can see this by the pulsing dot in the icon. Also, the first time you start Mail you will see this prompt:

Mail import

Import messages into Mail

Click to import and your mailboxes will be rebuilt.

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