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How Do I Transfer an Old Time Machine Backup To a New External Hard Drive ?

I purchased a new iMac this summer and set up Time Machine using a 500GB external hard drive. I have recently purchased a 2TB external hard drive and have configured that drive to work with Time Machine on the above mentioned iMac. Is it possible to transfer the ‘older’ time Machine back up (from the 500GB HD) to the newer 2TB HD so that the ‘earlier’ files ‘take their place’ on the HD – prior to the ‘new’ start on the 2TB HD?
Harley Mumma

Comments: 2 Responses to “How Do I Transfer an Old Time Machine Backup To a New External Hard Drive ?”

    12 years ago

    I get this question a lot.
    The simplest way to do this is to NOT try to transfer the old data.
    Just start a new Time Machine backup with the new drive.
    Transferring the old data to a new drive will take a long time (both read and write will be over slow USB). Plus, it may not work (Time Machine may not recognize the new volume as a continuation of an old backup).
    The only reason to do this would be to get earlier versions of old files. But you should never rely on Time Machine or any "backup" solution for this -- archiving old files. Time Machine keeps those old versions around as a nice feature, but you can never rely on more than just the most recent version being on a backup.
    If you like, keep the old 500GB drive in a drawer somewhere for a few months. If absolutely necessary, you can always try finding an old version of a file on it manually.
    But otherwise, take this opportunity to start a new TM backup on the new drive. It will be faster to get going and definitely easier.

      12 years ago

      Thanks Gary,
      I'm not really sure if I even need the old TM backup, as I have a second external HD I use for most of my important files and photos. I will probably just reformat the old TM HD and use it as an additional BU HD. Thanks again for your time and response.
      BTW-Although I'm new to MacMost, I'm really appreciative of the time and effort you put into the web site and podcasts...they're great!

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