I just bought a new MacBook Pro with Lion. I restored my files and apps from the MacBook with Snow Leopard, etc., from Time Machine. All seemed to have uploaded correctly, but after using several weeks, I did find missing files . . . which I recovered by going back into Time Machine and simply uploading those files. Recently, while attempting to back up my machine, I got an error message stating, "This backup is too large for the backup disk. The backup requires 467.34 GB but only 155.61 GB are available." I realized that all the old data needed to go, except I wanted to save 3 backups from the old computer to ensure that I could recover the files, should I find others missing. Easy enough, I thought! Wrong!

I opened Time Machine, navigated the window to the MacBook Pro setting, went back in time to select the date before which and including I wanted to delete the old files. Much to my dismay, only files after February 12 were dated, the others were gray, contained no dates and were impossible to select. So, now what?

Sadly, I could have avoided this, had I delete old data before I uploaded files to the new computer. But, I'm afraid my learning curve runs behind my needs. "Coulda, woulda, shoulda!" So, now what? Help, please!

  • Do you still have the old computer?
    – Daniel
    Commented Feb 19, 2012 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Your best bet is to turn off Time Machine, eject the backup drive and get some help from someone trained to know what Time Machine looks like.

It's entirely possible, the software deleted the old files and over-wrote them with new backups. It's also possible you had a minor glitch in the permissions and all is well.

Assuming you are near a retail store, you can usually get a quick read from someone in the store or worst case, make a support request at the bar. Phone support is also an option, but I've found that taking the backup drive and the mac (as well as your old mac drive / CPU) in to the store is the fastest way to get someone seeing exactly what is going on and your data uncertainty sorted.

As much as I like to help guide people, it's really best to disconnect the drives and reduce the risk of more files getting deleted and not learn on this one instance if you can get some professional help on this.

  • Yes, this is exactly the counsel my spouse gave me. I shall make an appointment at the genius bar.
    – Dolores
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 4:53
  • Good luck and do feel free to edit my answer or add your own answer once you have resolution. Welcome to the site here - the best thanks to anyone here is commenting, voting and finding a thing or two you can make better.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 14:44

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