I have a MacBook Pro which I use Time Machine to back up usually weekly. Its hard drive broke recently. I got an exactly same hard drive and installed it into the laptop. How do I restore the computer into the most recent state using the Time Machine backup which was made when the old hard drive was installed?

Is there a better way to achieve the recovery than what I'm planning to do here?

  • 1
    Cmd/R at the chimes will give you recovery options, including Time Machine - see support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314
    – Tetsujin
    May 10, 2015 at 18:12
  • I tried Cmd+R, nothing happened. I probably don't have recovery partition somehow?
    – qazwsx
    May 10, 2015 at 20:53
  • If you replaced the HDD, there will be no recovery partition. May 11, 2015 at 2:12
  • If replacing it back is part of a viable solution, I can certainly easily do it, but is it?
    – qazwsx
    May 11, 2015 at 4:12
  • How old is the Mac? Cmd/R ought to work even with a completely unformatted drive; rather than the built-in recovery, it should go to Internet Recovery, on any machine newer than Lion [or Snow Leo plus a patch] It also ought to be able to boot from the Time Machine volume itself.
    – Tetsujin
    May 11, 2015 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


The basic TimeMachine recovery procedure boils down to:

1) boot from Recovery/Installation media 2) make use of the Disk Utility (I recall under the tools menu option of the installation USB/DVDs) to format/partition the new disk 3) Then select/choose the Restore/transfer option where you can then select the TimeMachine (Or Migration Assistant) to restore from.

The problems I don't have an answer to as I've never done that in my setups:

a) recovery of the Recovery partition... I usually were doing "upgrades", thus I did fresh installs, and then I restored the TimeMachine specific files, or I used the "Migration Assistant" to restore the applications/users as need be

b) You didn't specify the version, which might mean different issues w.r.t. the medium, ie. USB/DVD/etc. Creating a USB boot image is outside the scope of this question and answer ;)

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