I did a full Time Machine backup on an external drive recently. I loaded an embroidery app and royally messed up my folders. I want to restore to that recent backup but I’m being asked from what source. The options are External drive and Macintosh HD. I was only expecting one option (the external drive) so do I need both and if yes, can I select one then come back to select the other?

1 Answer 1


Probably there are local snapshots on Macintosh HD, newer than the initial backup on the external drive. Time machine is doing local snapshots if the external backup volume is not connected, as long as there's enough space.

If you restore from the external drive, the local snapshots won't be available afterwards.
If you restore from a local snapshot, your backup on the external drive won't be affected so in case the restore from local snapshot wasn't right you still could chose to restore from external drive.

  • also, restoring from the local snapshot will be much faster
    – Ezekiel
    Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 13:22

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