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Common Tasks

These are brief descriptions of some of the common tasks supported by TimePreserver. Full details are provided from the Help menu in TimePreserver itself.

See also the step-by-step visual Walkthrough, and Walkthrough: Lite, showing how to create or update a TimePreserver archive.

  • How to create an archive of a Time Capsule
    • This process creates a standard (disk-based) TimePreserver archive:
      1. Attach an external disk (Thunderbolt, USB, etc.) to your Mac.

        The disk should preferably be in standard Mac OS X format (HFS+, APFS). Other formats are supported only if enabled under Preferences.

      2. Launch TimePreserver.

        If you are evaluating TimePreserver select Demo in the registration dialog which appears.

      3. Select your Time Capsule from the source menu and the disk you attached in the first step from the destination menu.

      4. Click the Archive button, confirm your selections, and the archiving process will start.

        During archiving each Time Machine backup on your Time Capsule will be locked in turn to ensure the integrity of the archive. If Time Machine attempts to backup during this time it may display a warning dialog; this indicates you are being protected and is not a problem, you can just dismiss the dialog.

        If you are running TimePreserver Lite, or TimePreserver in demonstration mode, all Time Machine backups are locked during the whole process and all items, not just modified ones, are copied — this mimics the Time Capsule’s own behavior. In this situation the window will indicate how many items would have been copied, and how long it would have taken, had it been TimePreserver running.

  • How to restore a complete Mac from a TimePreserver archive
    • Start with the Mac powered off.
    • For systems with a Recovery partition:
      1. Attach the TimePreserver archive disk.

      2. Boot the Mac into Recovery mode by holding down Command (⌘)-R until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe.

      3. In the MacOS Utilities window that appears when startup is complete choose Restore System From Time Machine Backup.

      4. Follow the onscreen instructions, selecting your TimePreserver archive volume and then the particular Time Machine backup you wish to restore.

    • For systems without a Recovery partition:
      1. Attach the TimePreserver archive disk.

      2. Either:

        1. Attach your external MacOS X Installer drive.
        2. Boot the Mac by powering up while holding down the Option key until the drive selection UI appears and then selecting the Installer drive.


        1. Insert the MacOS X Installer DVD.
        2. Boot the Mac from the Installer DVD by powering up while holding down the “C” key.
      3. In the Installer, choose Utilities > Restore System from Backup.
      4. In the Restore Your System dialog, click Continue.

      5. Select your TimePreserver archive volume.

      6. Select the Time Machine backup you want to restore.

      7. Follow the onscreen instructions.

  • How to restore an individual item from an archive
    • This process restores an individual item from a Time Machine backup stored in a TimePreserver archive:
      1. Attach the TimePreserver archive disk and mount it.

      2. Using the Finder locate the Time Machine backup within the archive, this is a sparsebundle disk image named either mac-name.sparsebundle or mac-name_hexnumber.sparsebundle. Double-click the sparsebundle disk image to mount it in the Finder.

      3. Right-click the Time Machine icon in the Dock; or option-click the Time Machine icon in the menu bar; and select Browse Other Time Machine Disks…

      4. In the dialog select the disk mounted in step 2.

      5. Continue to use Time Machine as usual.

  • How to restore a complete Time Capsule from an archive
    • This task is accomplished using the Finder:
      1. Attach the TimePreserver archive disk of the Time Capsule you wish to restore and mount it.

      2. In the Finder; using either the Shared section of the sidebar or the Connect To Server… menu item; mount the Time Capsule you wish to restore.

      3. Select the whole contents of the TimePreserver archive; that is the whole disk contents or the whole folder contents if a folder-based archive; and drag onto the Time Capsule disk to copy all the items.

      4. Get a cup of coffee! Restoring a complete Time Capsule takes a long time, there is no way around that. However doing other work on your Mac while the items are restored is fine, it will probably not even slow the restore down significantly as the process is limited by network & USB speeds.