3

I'm having difficulties to inherit Time Machine backups on a new MacBook Pro. I've read many Q&A on the same topic, but none was a solution for my case (that's why I don't think this is a duplicate).

I have no access to my old MacBook Pro, so this is crucial for me. I have two Time Machine backups, one on an external Hard Drive and one on a Time Capsule. I cannot access either of them.

This is what I've tried thus far:

External Hard Drive

If I mount the drive, I can see the Backups.backupdb folder on it, but I can't access it. From the Terminal:

$ ls -l
total 240
drwxrwxr-x@ 6 giovanni.lovato  staff  204 Aug 30 10:49 Backups.backupdb

$ ls Backups.backupdb/
ls: : Operation not permitted

$ sudo ls Backups.backupdb/
ls: : Operation not permitted

Seems like I have no access to it, not even as root. I've found the use of the command vsdbutil might help, so I did try:

$ sudo vsdbutil -d /Volumes/TM

but still:

$ sudo ls Backups.backupdb/
ls: : Operation not permitted

I checked the extended attributes:

$ sudo xattr Backups.backupdb
com.apple.backupd.ThinEncryptedRecoverySets

and tried to remove them, but:

$ sudo xattr -d com.apple.backupd.ThinEncryptedRecoverySets Backups.backupdb
xattr: [Errno 1] Operation not permitted: 'Backups.backupdb'

To inherit the backups, I know I have to run tmutil associatedisk, but I cannot do this until I regain access to the backup folder.

Time Capsule

No luck with Time Capsule backup either. I've mounted the drive and run the command:

$ sudo tmutil inheritbackup /Volumes/Backup/L-C02LPHF5FD56.sparsebundle
Attaching disk image...
Enter password to access "L-C02LPHF5FD56.sparsebundle":
** /dev/rdisk4s2 (NO WRITE)
Can't open /dev/rdisk4s2: Operation not permitted
/Volumes/Backup/L-C02LPHF5FD56.sparsebundle: Attach failed: The operation couldn’t be completed. Exec format error (error 8)

I've checked /dev/rdisk4s2 permission and tried to set the write flag, unsuccessfully:

$ ls -l /dev/rdisk*
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   0 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk0
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   1 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk0s1
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   2 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk0s2
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   3 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk1
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   4 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk1s1
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   5 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk1s2
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   6 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk1s3
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   7 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk1s4
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   8 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk2
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,   9 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk2s1
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,  11 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk2s2
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,  10 Aug 30 10:43 /dev/rdisk2s3
crw-r-----  1 root  operator    1,  12 Aug 30 10:44 /dev/rdisk3
cr--------  1 root  operator    1,  13 Aug 30 11:22 /dev/rdisk4
cr--------  1 root  operator    1,  14 Aug 30 11:22 /dev/rdisk4s1
cr--------  1 root  operator    1,  15 Aug 30 11:22 /dev/rdisk4s2

$ sudo chmod u+w /dev/rdisk4s2
chmod: Unable to change file mode on /dev/rdisk4s2: Operation not permitted

I'm totally stuck, can't find any solution elsewhere so I'm asking here for some advice!

  • Do you get an error message when you run sudo tmutil associatedisk -a "/Volumes/<your harddisk name>" "/Volumes/<YourTimeMachineDisk>/Backups.backupdb/<your computer name>/Latest/<your harddisk>"? Which one? I'd recommend that you don't try to change the permissions of a Time Machine backup disk, you probably won't be able anyway, but it can render the backup disk unusable. – jaume Aug 30 '18 at 15:08
  • I tried that command, but I get "Operation not permitted". That's why I opened a new question, since the one you linked and many others does not answer the permission error I'm experiencing. – Giovanni Lovato Aug 30 '18 at 15:12
  • Thanks for your answer, and can you see the contents of the external hard drive's Backups.backupdb folder in the Finder? Is the backup disk password protected? Do you mount the disk in some special way (for example with mount)? About Time Capsule, you write you can successfully mount the drive, can you see its contents with the Finder? The Time Capsule is network attached storage (NAS), isn't it? How come you get a Can't open /dev/rdisk4s2 error, /dev/rdisk4s2 is a local disk, or am I missing something? – jaume Aug 30 '18 at 15:19
  • I can see the contents of the disks in Finder, but not in Terminal (both for the external drive and the Time Capsule). I didn't mount the drive in any special way, just plugged in. About Time Capsule, that's a good question I was asking myself too, but I have no idea why it creates a /dev/rsdisk4s2 when I mount the Time Capsule; maybe the .sparsebundle files create that when mounting? – Giovanni Lovato Aug 30 '18 at 15:23
  • Yes, of course, you are right, the sparsebundle is a disk image, now it's clear. If you select the Time Machine disk and press Command-i (Get Info), is the option "Ignore ownership on this volume" at the bottom of the "Sharing & Permissions" section deselected (unchecked) (according to support.apple.com/en-us/HT202380, it should be deselected)? – jaume Aug 30 '18 at 15:32
4

I had the same problem and found a solution: I added the terminal app to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy -> Privacy -> Full Disk Access, then it worked.

  • Thanks! This solved the issue for me. Just yesterday still on macOS 10.12 Sierra I could cd and ls and tail within /Volumes/myTimeMachine/Backups.backupdb/ and today on 10.14 Mojave it suddenly failed. Could not explain. Feared that my TimeMachine may broke… Checked owner, groups and permissions of Backups.backupdb as I feared they may changed. But also those were plausible. So it was the new security mechanism "Full Disk Access" which made the difference! – porg Apr 7 at 16:04

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