When I attempt to run Migration Assistant, it searches and searches but can't find the backups. When I open Finder, I can clearly see the backups and navigate around in the backups for the different dates.

It's on an external drive (attached via USB, both during backups and now for Migration Assistant). The drive is formatted as case-sensitive, journaled HFS+. The backups were made from a case-sensitive MacBook. I recently replaced the HD (the old one failed) and I'm attempting to restore my files to the new drive, which is formatted as case-insensitive.

The laptop is a late-2008 MacBook (unibody). I just upgraded the stock HD to a 7200 RPM Wester Digital w/ 750 GB. The external drive is a 1TB LaCie w/ 2 partitions (a FAT32 for wife's Windows box, and the case-sensitive, journaled HFS+ partition I'm using for Time Machine). I'm running the latest Mountain Lion (both before and after the HD crash).

  • Sometimes it is helpful to provide system (hw/sw) info.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 18:37
  • @Buscar웃 I added some info. Can you think of anything else that might be useful? Thanks.
    – Hank Gay
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 18:46
  • Thanks,... so does the spotlight finds it ?
    – Ruskes
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 19:09
  • @Buscar웃 Spotlight? I can find files on the external drive if I type their name into Spotlight, so I guess so. Does Spotlight have some special TimeMachine integration? If so, I don't know how to test it (I usually use Alfred instead of Spotlight).
    – Hank Gay
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 20:34
  • Re-index the external drive in spotlight and lets see.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 20:46

1 Answer 1


Seems that many people have difficulty restoring from a backup of a case-sensitive installation to a case-insensitive one. Please see comments for some discussion and various ideas.

A work-around which seemed to be successful in this case: copy the data you need manually from the backups, using the Finder. (I wouldn't expect to be able to recreate the entire machine with all settings etc this way, but documents should be easy to restore this way, and perhaps even your entire home directory.)

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