I'm trying to restore a handful of photos from my TimeMachine on Mavericks. Here's what I've been doing:

  • Connect back up drive
  • Go to Finder, search for file name "S0077"... (which has been deleted, thus cannot be found on "This Mac")
  • "Enter Time Machine" and go back to a back up, where it can find "S0077"
  • Mark all the files I would like to restore and click "Restore"

Now, time machine animates the restoration process, making it look like the files are being put back to where they used to be. However, the restored files don't ever appear in the file system after restoring. Once the animation is over and time machine closed, the files are nowhere to be found.

I do not remember where in the file system the files used to be. Inside time machine it will only find the files as long as the search location is set to Devices > My MacBook Pro, but not on the HD. But in regular mode that entry dissapears from the sidebar and only shows the HD and the external back-up devices. To me that seems like the files are restored on the computer but outside the harddrive - is that even possible??

Where could it be restoring the files to? Is it even restoring them? Is there a way to dictate a different restoration location for Time Machine other than its original location?

Thanks a bunch for any help and pointers

  • it would ordinarily restore them to where they last were. Did you try searching again, including system folders? Alternatively, search the time machine drive & copy them over manually.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 11:11
  • Thanks, Tetsujin! I didn't realise that the backups were accessible in the same folder structure manually. I managed to find an secure my files from there.
    – amelie
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


When you find the file in Time Machine, you can right-click it and select "Restore xyz to ..." . That lets you choose a destination folder.

  • The right-click menua only offers "get info", "delete" and "copy" (though it won't allow pasting after copying): I did manage to pull the files out of the backups manually though. Thanks for your tip
    – amelie
    Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 16:25
  • That would have been my next tip but I thought how should you browse to that file if you don't know its location. So: How did you finally do it? Commented Oct 21, 2014 at 17:12
  • I just checked every place it would possibly make sense for it to be in...
    – amelie
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 5:44
  • so, was it some kind of special apple folder that would correspond to "outside the harddrive" or did you finally find out its 'normal' location? Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 10:19

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