March 15, 2012
Do not taunt Angry Time Machine
He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it. — Not Jack Handey
If you’ve had trouble backing up your Mac via Time Machine–as I did once I installed Lion–do not, for the love of God, push your luck and try to use Time Machine to migrate data from one Mac to another. Just don’t.
Details if you want ’em:
Post-10.7, I couldn’t update my backups on my Drobo and Time Capsule, nor could I get one to work on the new USB 3.0 drive I bought for the job. When I tried a fresh FireWire drive, however, everything seemed cool. Thus when my new Mac arrived, I tried transferring apps & data via the Migration Assistant.
And now begins the screamin’ & the wailin’: The apps that made it over were all zero KB, and files never transferred. Not a big deal, I thought: I can just re-install apps & move files manually. The trouble is, when I tried to install Apple Motion, I got a series of errors about missing files (ProKit). I tried various work arounds, including installing the FCP X trial. Soon, though, all the Apple apps, as well as iPhoto, were crashing on launch. It seems that the failed app migration stomped a bunch of critical libraries.
Here’s the excellent part, though: Lion’s airbag works great. At the advice of my exhausted Apple friend (who’d been supplying would-be fixes), I finally reinstalled the OS. Fearing the worst (bare-metal, nuke-from-orbit, dogs-and-cats-living-together stuff), I backed up my files and blocked off a bunch of time. I still cannot believe how well it went: restarted the machine, held down Cmd-R, okayed a couple of prompts, and half an hour later 10.7.3 was up and running as if nothing had happened. Everything (open docs, browser history, passwords, etc.) was restored. I’m still kind of holding my breath, but so far, so amazingly good. Hats off to the Apple folks behind this capability.