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I'm clicking "Browse other backup disks..." in the Time Machine menu, then selecting a Time Machine disk. This puts me into the Time Machine interface, but I just see my home folder. Not my home folder from my old computer, but my current home folder. How can I browse my old backups to retrieve files?

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  • Does it allow you to go back in time in the interface at all?
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:16
  • Yes it does. I can access my current Time Machine just fine.
    – Hassan
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:17
  • No I meant on the disk you wish to retrieve your files from.
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:20
  • No, not at all. It just shows my current files on my current computer.
    – Hassan
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:22

2 Answers 2

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To retrieve files from a Time Machine disk without using the Time Machine interface, open a new Finder window and open the volume from the sidebar. You should see a folder called Backups.db. Open this and the folder it contains for your computer.

Note: If you're using a Network Disk, such as a Time Capsule or Airport Extreme with a connected disk, you will not see Backups.db, you will instead see a .sparsebundle file. Open this and you should be able to continue these instructions.

You will now see a list of folders, named by their date/time. Open the folder you wish to retrieve the file from and navigate to the appropriate location.

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  • I didn't understand... where is this backups.db? Is it on my time capsule (where the backups are stored)? Also I was hoping for a way to do this within Time Machine, since that's what it's supposed to do.
    – Hassan
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:38
  • If I can't do it within Time Machine, that's also okay, I do need the files on there either way
    – Hassan
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 2:38
  • You want to open the backup disk itself in Finder. Just updated the question in regards to Time Capsules.
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 18:35
  • I don't know which folder I need to select. There are many of them, and I just don't know when I added the files I need.
    – Hassan
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 15:10
  • Is there a way to do this with the regular interface? At least that shows the most recent files.
    – Hassan
    Commented Aug 23, 2015 at 15:11
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Once you are in the Time Machine interface, you have to go to the folder on the other machine. Navigate up the folder hierarchy and then back down inside the Macintosh HD / Users folder if you need user files from the backup or into the other folder.

If you keep going to a higher folder you will then see each machine that has backed up to that destination - not just the current machine.

Shift - Command - G brings up a dialog to enter the exact path to the files if you happen to know that already.

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