Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time Machine is a Must-Have

iMac 27 dead. Last night I had some friends over my place. To watch some YouTube shows, I moved my iMac 27" to my kitchen. We had some drinks and enjoyed shows. When I moved the iMac back to my computer room afterward, my iMac was dead. It stayed in the initial white screen with spinning wheel running for ever. I turned it off and on again, nothing help. tried this morning again, the same screen. I actually realized something wrong last night and I booked only one spot the next morning at the local Apple retail store.

The genius person was very nice and had British accent. I told him the story. He turned on the iMac, and it was the same result. He told me that it was the symptom of hard drive failure. "I'll replace the hard drive for you", he said. "Did you back up your hard drive", he asked. I told him that I have an USB external hard drive as a Time machine. "That's good.", he smiled.

"OK. I have no choice." I accepted that, "I also have an iMac 24, from my experience, I did not get Time machine migrated to this machine (27) from my 24 when I purchased this one (27)."

"I can give you step by step instructions of how to do that if you want." he said, "it should be very simple and straightforward, and I don't think there should any problem since your time machine was running against to this one."

"I think I can do it. I'll give it a try", My voice showed a little sign of hesitate.

After he checked status on his computer, he said, "We don't have hard drive in stock right now." He offered one option, "I am sorry we have to keep it in store. I have placed an order. The earliest date from the system may be next Wednesday. Is that OK?"

"OK", I was reluctant, but I had no choice. That's my story of my dead iMac 27. I am expecting to get it back next week.

I don't worry about any applications on 27, but I have many important data files and an iPhone project I have been working on. If I cannot get my time machine back to the new hard drive, that would be disaster for me. Fortunately I have had my iMac 27 connected with my time machine all the time, till the last moment when it was dead. "This would provide me one experience to see how the time machine works", I thought.

This afternoon, I had an idea: can I try my time machine on my iMac 24"? if I can get files and the source codes of my iPhone project back to iMac 24? The iMac 24 was the only one computer I had for the time. If I could get the files back, I could continue to work on my project. That's really good idea. I plugged the time machine to my 24's USB port. The drive appeared on the desktop. My Time was not running. I don't think it is good idea to get it running. The content of the USB drive is for my iMac 27.

However, I can browse the content of the drive in Finder. To my surprise, I see all the folders by time in chronic order:

Here is what I have in the latest date folder: my 27's hard drive:

and all the folders and files under the users/[myuser]:

What a life saving feature! I dragged some files and folders back to my iMac 24"s HD, and my iPhone project was back. Even without directly restoring all the content back to an iMac, I can still browse files directly and restore files manually. That's already good enough for me. Time Machine is a must-have item for Mac users!

It would be nice if I can restore the time machine back to my iMac 27 when it is back. Wait and see.

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