My hard drive died after files started disappearing for a couple days. I ended up getting a new Mac since the computer was old anyway.

I'm worried that the last couple days of Time Machine backups will be bad due to the dying hard drive, so I'd like to use an earlier backup date from before it started dying with Migration Assistant.

I don't see any way in Migration Assistant to select the date of the backup that I want to use.

Should I just "delete" the latest backup folder dates from the Time Machine drive? Will that screw up the backup?

Any other way to accomplish this?

  • I don't have a convenient way to test this, but I believe it will display multiple backups if you boot from Recovery or Internet Recovery and do "Restore from Time Machine", which will also reinstall the OS at the same time. – Alan Shutko Jan 5 '17 at 3:09

Just select the drive to restore from - the Migration Assistant will then give the list of backups by date to choose from.

  • 2
    It does not give a list of backups. You only get that window with the Restore disk feature, which cannot be used on a new Mac (that is different from the one originally backed up) – Lance Tyler Jun 26 '12 at 15:09
  • OK not a new mac but it did give me the dattes for another mac as well as the same one I was rebuilding – Mark Jun 26 '12 at 22:35
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    By default, Migration Assistant only shows the newest backups. It doesn't show more that one backup for any Mac that was attached to it. – TopHatProductions115 Aug 26 '16 at 23:20

You should temporarily move the backups from the corrupt/unwanted version of the system to a different location, and then attempt the Restore. You may also try renaming the unwanted backups. For more, please go to:


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