I'm going to perform a clean install of OS X. I have a Time Machine backup.

I want to restore just particular folders, not everything. Is that possible?

  • 1
    You can access your time machine like a regular drive through the folder alias Lastest Apr 18 '13 at 18:21

According to the Apple documentation about using TimeMachine and Migration Assistant you can select all, several or no User accounts to transfer; select all or no applications; select computer settings and sub-settings or none at all; and finally, other files and folders not explicitly chosen from above.

Additionally, under the User account migration you can chose to migrate a subset of the Users' account folders, namely any mix of the folders Desktop, Document, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, Public (if it exists), Sites (if it exists) and other files that may reside in the Users's account but not in the Apple default folders mentioned above.

Furthermore, there are arguments for and against migrating the contents of the Applications folder. Some power-users with full sets of installation CDs and DVDs, with all the documentation and serial numbers for the software they own, say it is best not to migrate the Applications folder and instead reinstall all non-Apple software titles from scratch, and to download new copies of other software. While this scheme may be time-consuming and cumbersome, it does guarantee fresh installs. Given the utility of Apple's App store being able to download up-to-date versions of software you have purchased through the store, this may not be as difficult as it seems. On the other hand, if you have a slew of software titles for which you no longer have the distribution media, or for software which is no longer available, migrating the whole Applications folder is your best bet.

Lastly, you can access the TimeMachine disk itself and copy over files & folders manually.

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