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Searching Time Machine backup for a file
#52546 10/01/19 06:16 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
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I'm trying to locate an old file which hopefully is on my Time Machine backup. It would be a word processor file, probably Pages, but maybe Appleworks. It's a job resume for a friend of mine. So, it probably has his name somewhere in the filename, probably along with the word 'resume'. I know some unique words that would be in the file. However, I have no idea how to make Time Machine search for it. The Apple website seems to suggest that it's possible, but they are short on details. Is this possible?


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6
Re: Searching Time Machine backup for a file
Bob_00001 #52547 10/01/19 06:44 AM
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Have you seen Use Time Machine to restore deleted files or older files - Apple Support?

It doesn't sound all that complicated as long as you know where the resume once lived.


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Re: Searching Time Machine backup for a file
artie505 #52548 10/01/19 01:58 PM
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Artie has it right. In general you need to know approximately WHERE and WHEN the file existed and we are not accustomed to accounting for Einstein's fourth dimension, Time. But in Time Machine it is essential. One caveat, do not attempt to find and retrieve the file using Finder, you should go through time Machine.

If the file was being edited and you can locate it in Time Machine at some — any — point in time, then recover it to its original location. Then select the file and Open Time Machine again then scroll forward through the different points in time until the file disappears. That will pinpoint the final version of the file before it was deleted and is likely the version you want to recover.


joemikeb • moderator
Re: Searching Time Machine backup for a file
joemikeb #52555 10/02/19 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Artie has it right. In general you need to know approximately WHERE and WHEN the file existed

Unfortunately, that's exactly the problem. I don't know precisely where it would have been located, or when the file was created. Though, I'm beginning to suspect that it's much older than I first thought, and probably was done on a very old computer that was never backed up with TM, and if the file still exists, it's probably on a CD backup somewhere. Yuck!

Regarding the warning not to directly search the TM backup drive, why would this be a problem as long as I only do this to locate the file, but not change anything?


MacBook Pro 15" (2015)
Sierra 10.12.6

Moderated by  alternaut, dkmarsh, joemikeb 

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