Moving Time Machine files – Deja Vu

Having got myself a new external hard drive I decided to move my MacBook Air’s Time Machine backup from the old disk (which was full) to the new one. It was at this point that I remembered that I’d done this before and, what’s more, I’d written a post about it. Anyway, that was over 18 months ago so I thought I’d try Apple’s official method again. Ha Ha. Last time Apple’s method didn’t work, maybe it’s been fixed…

Apple’s official method goes like this:

  1. In Disk Utility, partition your new HDD as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” with a GUID partition
  2. Open the File Info window and make sure that “Ignore ownership on this volume” at the bottom of the “Sharing & Permissions” section is not checked.
  3. Turn Time Machine off
  4. Using Finder, copy the file “Backups.backupdb” from the old disk volume to the new one.

So I did this and, after an hour or so of happy copying, it failed. More accurately, it failed on specific files which it claimed could not be copied. To be honest I wasn’t surprised, given previous experience, so this attempt was made more as an experiment than with any expectation that it would work. Thing is, why does Apple continue to push this method when it has a reputation for not working? (You can look at the Apple Discussion Forums)

Last time I copied my Time Machine files, I used Carbon Copy Cloner to do a block-by-block copy but this time, I thought, Apple’s Disk Utility could provide the solution.

First off, I used Disk Utility to perform a repair of the old backup disk, to ensure that any file corruptions or permission errors were resolved prior to copying, as this could have been a reason for the Apple method failing. I did a Partition-level repair then a File-level repair. Interestingly, neither of these found anything to repair which sort of squashed that little theory. Ah well, on to the important bit. After formatting the new volume as per Apple’s instruction (above) I was all set. Here’s the method:

  • In System Preferences, turn Time Machine off
  • Connect both the old and new HDDs
  • Open Disk Utility
  • Select the original backup disk from the list in the left column and click the “Restore” Tab.
  • Drag the original backup disk volume (i.e. the one to be copied) to the “Source” field.
  • Drag the new backup disk volume to the “Destination” field.


  • Click the “Restore” Button.
  • The copy will take some time to complete. Once it has finished, the name of the destination volume will have changed to be the same as that of the original. This could be a bit confusing so eject the original volume.
  • You could change the name of the new volume but there is a risk (call that bitter experience!) that Time Machine will see this as a different disk and instead of carrying on as before, start a fresh backup and discard the backup history you were trying to retain in the first place. My preference was to simply eject the original volume before resuming Time Machine. After all, if the copy has been successful, the old one will no longer be required and after a decent period of mourning (just to be on the safe side) the old disk can be repurposed.
  • Back in System Preferences, turn Time Machine on. Enter Time Machine and check that you can browse the backup history. Do a sample file restore to check everything is working as it should. If that checks out, let it perform a backup cycle, afterwards checking that the backup history can still be accessed and restored from.

And that’s it. I won’t pretend this is a quick procedure. For some people it won’t even be necessary. You’ll need to consider whether you really need to keep a long range of backups stretching back a year or more. You could always keep the original disk somewhere safe for a while and allow Time Machine to start afresh with the new disk.

Lastly, if you do try either of the above methods, you do so at your own risk. What worked for me might not work for someone else. Before you undertake any file management activities make sure you have a robust backup of any important data.



I was thinking about upgrading the Macs to Yosemite and ended up reviewing my DR arrangements. Running out of space on a couple of the Time Machine disks so time to go shopping for a bigger HD. This will be followed by some file moving.

Kill me now.

Battery drain

Today my MacBook Air’s battery went from fully charged to 27% in a matter of a few hours, most of which was spent in sleep mode. Not good!

So I launched Activity Monitor and had a look at the Energy Impact readings. Wow! It reported Google Drive running at over 100. That was definitely not a good thing. So I closed the App down and re-launched it. This time Google Drive’s energy impact was at around 2.5. Much better!

I found that this issue has been reported in Mac discussion forums but not in any great numbers. So for now I’ll keep an eye on it, if the issue persists then I can always bin GD. Anyway, when Yosemite drops I will be able to try out the full iDrive experience. And if that’s as good as it’s cracked up to be, GD’s days will be numbered for me anyway.


So, Mavericks is now on 2 of the Macs. I like the changes; pleased to see the back of the “faux” leather on the calendar app, etc., although I haven’t yet formed an opinion on the changes to Pages or Numbers. I’ve also held off setting up Keychain on iCloud. Call me old fashioned, I still find it somewhat unsettling to store all my logon credentials on someone else’s server.

I haven’t been out geocaching much. Whenever there’s been a day of decent weather it has coincided with some other activity. In fact my last find was about 10 days ago and that was mainly because it was a new cache very close to home and Skye needed a decent walk.

Meanwhile… emboldened by my success with tiling the kitchen floor, I have embarked on the next stage of the project – tiling the walls. This, as they say, is why we drink.


After updating my MacBook Air to 10.8.5, I read some interesting stuff on MacWorld about the update. Turns out it included the MacBook Air Software Update 1.0 – which was released on 18 July but was only available for Mid-2013 MBAs. This update included a fix for “an issue that in rare instances may cause an intermittent loss in wireless connectivity”. And that of course is the issue I had on my Mid 2012 MBA. Better late than never, I guess.

It explains why my WiFi has been robust since the update, anyway.

WiFi Woes

In my last post I mentioned that I’d been experiencing the WiFi dropouts which have been plaguing users of OS X 10.8.4. And that I thought I’d fixed it. Seems I spoke too soon; periodically I’ve found my MBA dropping the connection. In fact it has been getting bloody annoying. The Apple discussion forums have loads of threads on the subject, seems it’s an issue with 10.8.4 that  Apple has know about since June. Apparently it is affecting various Mac models but I’d only had it on my current MBA (the others were fine).

Anyway, I found some very promising fixes (see and was reading through these when System Update announced an OS X update. While it didn’t explicitly mention “my” bug, there were numerous bug fixes, including some WiFi ones so I thought maybe do the update first and see what happens. So I did that. And after a while the connection dropped again.

Now, (as you know) Mountain Lion has done away with the old way of installing updates, nowadays everything is done through the App Store (like Software Update but even more “nanny state”). Pre-App Store/Lion/Mountain Lion, installing the Combo version of an update would often cure all ills. Now, IT Admins with many Macs to update need the facility to download once and update many, don’t they? So the old school Combo Update method must still be available, huh?

So I went to Apple’s download site and found the Combo Update for 10.8.5 and, after saving a copy externally, doing the usual backups, permission repairs etc. I ran the update – it was just like the old days.

And so far it seems to have worked. Whatever the fix was, running the Combo seems to have made it stick. I’m still watching that fan icon for now. 😉

This week I has been mainly doing…

I swapped the diesel-guzzling Rang Rover Sport for my Freelander. Despite the fun I had driving the RRS it was a joy to get my own LR back.

On Wednesday evening they tested the new Buncefield Siren which is designed to warn the local populace of imminent catastrophe. Unfortunately we were out so we missed it. I hope it was suitably loud.

In a moment of madness I decided to tart up the woodwork on the rear elevation of our house. Not completed it yet. I hate DIY.

I’ve had an intermittent problem with my MacBook Air dropping its Wifi connection. According to  Apple discussions,  it’s something to do with the latest version of Mountain Lion (10.8.4). While we all wait for Apple to fix that, I decided to delete all the known networks from System Prefs and Keychain, I also renamed  ~/library/preferences/ (to force OS X to create a new one). Made no difference. A suggestion on the forum was to reset the SMC but I couldn’t see how that would help. Instead I reset the PRAM. That seems to have cured it.

And I haven’t yet been geocaching in September.

An eclectic week.

Tuning the website

When I first refreshed my Geocaching website, using the 960 Grid system, I found that it didn’t render properly in IE. To be honest it wasn’t a problem for me as an OS X Safari user and I did check it worked in Firefox, Opera, Chrome and even Epiphany (just in case there are any Debian users visiting my site).

Anyway, it had been bugging me a bit so I’ve cleaned up the code and reverted to HTML 4. That seems to have done the trick.

I found a couple of pretty helpful on-line tools, so here are the links here in case you find them useful too.

W3C Markup Validation Service:

IE NetRenderer browser compatibility check:


Crossover – update

Back in August I wrote about trying Crossover for Mac. This is an application which allows you to run Windows apps on your Mac without running Windows. Now, most Windows apps I can do without. Except that I wanted to try GSAK.

At first it was looking quite promising. Even though Codeweaver don’t have a CrossTie, I installed the GSAK App. Mostly it seemed to work fine, however it refused to connect to the Geocaching servers – one of GSAK’s fundamental features. I hit the forums and I soon discovered that GSAK relies on Windows’ inbuilt Internet Explorer for its internet connectivity, which of course you would have if you were running GSAK on Windows.

Back in Crossover I installed IE in the same bottle, hoping that GSAK would talk to IE, however this didn’t work either. I tried several versions of IE, just in case something had changed in the compatibility area. No dice. I also discovered that GSAK’s author has no plans nor inclination to support GSAK running in Crossover, any more than he is interested in porting it to OS X. Not that I have a problem with that, he knows his market and has no need to develop for other platforms.

So, Crossover is not going to make a permanent home on my Mac. And if I want to use GSAK I will have to persevere with Windows running in a VM. More of that in due course.