I have an iMac with a dead internal drive. And I have it's TimeMachine drive. I'd like to know that the TimeMachine-based data is safe and sound so I'd like to restore it to my MBPro. But not over top of my MBPro data.

Is it possible to connect the iMac's TM drive to the MBPro and rebuild my Documents folder in to a random location (not over top of the MBPro's Documents folder) on my MBPro?

  • TimeMachine would totally miss his target if it wouldn't be possible, don't you think ?
    – Rabskatran
    Feb 9, 2011 at 16:39
  • @Pierre W: Not really. Apple makes no claims the data is stored in a format that'll be accessible piecemeal from any other machine. Thankfully it is.
    – Ian C.
    Feb 9, 2011 at 17:25

2 Answers 2


You can navigate your backup drive in the Finder. Mount it, go to the Backup folder > [name of machine] > [name of volume] > latest > Users > [user name] and restore the files you want.

(You can also choose a date instead of latest to restore earlier versions of the files/files that have been deleted.)

  • Look at that. Very cool. It's all there, safe and sound. Thanks!
    – Ian C.
    Feb 9, 2011 at 17:20

You can use the Time Machine UI to restore from the backups of a different Mac by option-clicking the Time Machine icon in your menubar or right-clicking the Time Machine icon in your Dock, and selecting "Browse Other Time Machine Disks". (See question 17 from the Time Machine FAQ for more details.) You'll still need to navigate to "Latest" (or an earlier backup) as zevlag describes in his answer if you choose to do this.

If you do elect to use the comfort of Time Machine to choose what to restore, you'll want to read question 16 from the FAQ: "How can I restore a file/folder to an alternate location?"

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