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I have a MacBook Pro 2017 that was sent for replacement. The system was always synced with Time Machine.

I have a temporary MacBook Pro 2017 I am trying to restore to, but I can't get it to work.

The Time Machine backup is on a NAS partition (Synology DS216).

The path from the NAS' perspective is:

smb://SynologyDS216/volume1/TimeMachine

The path from Finder's perspective is:

smb://SynologyDS216._smb._tcp.local/TimeMachine

I reboot the computer to macOS Recovery, it finds the NAS, I can connect to the partition providing the username / password, and then nothing happens from there. It stays on the same screen.

enter image description here

It is the same behavior whether I try to use the auto detected path, the NAS' path, or the path Finder creates.

No backup appears.

When I connected with the original Mac, through Time Machine, I can see the files, the history, etc. so the files are there.

Now I have two questions:

  • Is there such a thing as a 'machine backup' vs. 'just some folders backup'? I had a lot of folders exclusion in my Time Machine settings, so maybe the files are there but not the OS.

  • If I connect to this backup through Time Machine, instead of the system restore/migration, is there a way to connect as read-only so the temporary computer will not start to edit the backup?

As a side note, the backup is from macOS Catalina (on a MacBook Pro 2017 15") and the temp laptop is running macOS High Sierra (on a MacBook Pro 2017 13"), if that makes a difference.

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  • Is there a reason you can't/won't update the temp laptop to Catalina?
    – IconDaemon
    Feb 17, 2020 at 15:00
  • I’m doing the update right now. I assumed, maybe wrongly, that for a restore the OS version wouldn’t matter
    – Thomas
    Feb 17, 2020 at 15:01
  • I believe your problem is that TimeMachine cannot recognize the files/backup, as they are too new Feb 18, 2020 at 1:52
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    This is confirmed: the version of the operating system DOES matter. This was solved by updating the temp laptop to Catalina.
    – Thomas
    Feb 18, 2020 at 10:47

1 Answer 1

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MacOS Catalina (10.15), for unknown reasons, stores its network backups in the "backupbundle" format. Every other version of MacOS, both older and newer, uses the "sparsebundle" format instead. If your target version of MacOS isn't at least as new as Catalina, it can't restore Catalina network backups.

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