I have to grab some files from a time machine backup and I only have a Windows PC. I downloaded the HFS+ filesystem drivers from MacRoumers (here) and plugged in my Time Machine Drive. Everything appears normal, until I transverse into a specific backup. There I see the "Library" directory, and every other folder (Desktop, Movies, Music...) are files. It's like this in every backup instance, and I'm stuck. I don't recall these folders being symlinks to earlier backups, but I could be wrong and these drivers don't support symlinks.


When Time Machine makes a backup it only copies changed files and creates links to the older items. AFAIK these are not symlinks, but hardlinks.

Sample output from Time Machine 23/06/2014 10:40:19.087 pm com.apple.backupd[12797]: Copied 4 items (33 bytes) from volume DeepThought. Linked 20.

  • You can't hardlink a directory, even so these links must point somewhere on the drive - where are the original files? – ecnepsnai Jun 24 '14 at 4:13
  • If they are symlinks (and not some proprietary Apple format) then you can simply look at the contents in a text viewer which will show the target of the link. – Milliways Jun 24 '14 at 4:31
  • None of them have any content. They're all 0 bytes. – ecnepsnai Jun 24 '14 at 4:44
  • They probably have content in the Resource fork like an Alias. Either way I think you are out of luck trying to access on a Windows system. Even the BSD Unix commands on a Mac have no knowledge of some Apple constructs. – Milliways Jun 24 '14 at 4:48

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