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Restoring a network Time Machine backup

Apple computers come with a simple backup solution called Time Machine, which essentially backs up data every hour or so either to a connected USB drive or to a network storage device, usually a Time Capsule.

It happens that sometimes the Time Capsule backup cannot be restored using the usual menus in the macOS setup process, usually it will ask for your Capsule’s username and password and do nothing. But fear not, there is a way to access that backup.

To do so, follow these simple steps.

  1. Go into the Utilities menu, and select Terminal.
  2. Type the following command, replacing TIMECAPSULE_IP by your Time Capsule’s IP address (usually something like 10.0.0.1), username by your Time Capsule’s username and password by its password.

    mkdir /Volumes/TimeCap
    mount_afp afp://username:[email protected]_IP/username /Volumes/TimeCap
    exit
    
  3. Quit the Terminal application, and return to the Utilities menu, but select Disk Utility this time. It may also require you return to the main menu and select Disk Utility instead, as it’s not always in that menu.

  4. Choose the File menu, and select Open Disk Image.
  5. Go into the untitled folder, and then the username folder (it shows up as a series of persons holding hands).
  6. Finally, select the computers name.
  7. Close Disk Utility.
  8. Select Restore a Time Machine backup and follow the steps. Your backup should now show up as Time Machine Backups.