Apple Time Machine: how to transfer backups from an old Time Machine HDD to a new HDD

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recently I've changed my Time Machine backup USB hard disk drive with a new one and I wanted also to transfer old backups on the "old" drive to the new one.

Below you can find which steps I followed (taking into consideration this support post from Apple) on my MacBook Pro with Mountain Lion OS X:

  1. Turn Time Machine OFF from Time Machine Preferences
  2. Connect the new HDD to USB port
  3. in Application > Utilities > Disk Utility, select the new HDD and erase it formatting as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) filesystem type
  4. right-click the new HDD icon in Finder, select Get Info and be sure the "Ignore ownership on this volume" is unchecked
  5. connect the old HDD with Time Machine backups to another USB port, leaving the new HDD connected to your Mac
  6. open a Finder window for both the two HDDs
  7. drag and drop the folder "Backups.backupdb" from the old HDD Finder window to the root of the new HDD Finder Window
  8. copy begins, it will take a while, wait for it...
  9. after the copy has completed, open Time Machine Preferences > Select Disk... and choose the new HDD
  10. turn Time Machine ON

That's all, it worked for me.

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