I had to do a Time Machine restore on my internal MacBook Pro 750gb hard drive. The complete backup contains nearly 700gb of data. Twice, the restore process failed at the exact same point because of a file that could not be read from my external Time Machine backup disk. When trying to manually copy everything onto my reformatted internal hard drive, I found the corrupted file that was blocking the entire restoring process - a 6,5 mb MP4 clip!

My problem, it is:

  1. impossible to delete or replace this corrupted file on the backup version of my computer
  2. impossible to simply ignore this file during the restoration process
  3. impossible to reboot my computer once a manual restoration (minus the corrupted file) is completed - the computer doesn't recognize the System Folder, even though it has been copied in one step, from the Time Machine backup disk onto my internal hard drive.
  4. re-installing the OS on my "manually-restored-internal-HD" erased numerous important software extensions

Applications like Carbon Copy Cloner allow to copy everything except whatever cannot be read or written, and simply gives a report of the corrupted files at the end of the process. Is there any way of doing the same with Time Machine ? In other words, can I ask Time Machine to skip / ignore unreadable or corrupted files when restoring ?

  • Try setting the permissions on that file to give yourself read and write access… but I doubt this will work if you can't even delete the file. If you can't do that, this file is more of a problem than you might think. The filesystem is likely corrupted in some way. You could try repairing the external disk in Disk Utility, but I've had filesystem repairs fail and leave the volume non-mountable, so beware.
    – sudo
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 20:56
  • Having the same problem. Apple Engineers couldn't write software if their lives depended on it. I have never in my life seen such retarded software! Commented Dec 30, 2017 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


When you restore with Migration Assistant or the recovery drive, it lets you choose which files you want to restore (usually "System", "Settings", "Accounts", etc). This isn't quite what you asked for, but you could uncheck whichever category contains that corrupted file as long as it's not part of the system. Just restore enough to get your system running. You could later boot into OS X and manually restore the rest of the files using the Time Machine application, which lets you exclude whichever files you want.

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