I have an external hard drive (or two) that have old Time Machine backups. I’d like to wipe these drives to repurpose them for other uses. I have additional storage to be able to extract files from them before I erase them. I thought I would do this …
- Mount the drive
- Select the drive as the Time Machine volume to explore
- Open the most recent view into the Time Machine vaults on the drive
- Restore the most recent folders to an internal temporary volume
- Wipe the TM drive to repurpose it
- ZIP the extracted folders and store them on an external drive as representative archives
For example, I have a Time Machine drive labeled as being from my 15" MBP. I would mount the drive, open it in TM, go to the Documents folder at the last backup date, and drag sub-folders such as Documents/Anthologies, Documents/Code, Documents/GTD … to my temporary internal volume.
I’m purposely not going to bother hunting down folder versions before the most recent stored on the TM drive. Mantra – If it hadn’t been stored in some other way by the last backup, it wasn’t worth the effort to keep earlier versions. My only reason to extract the most recent versions of key folders is a self-assurance that, sometime in the not so distant future when I do a pruning across all my archives, I may not be lamenting the loss of a certain file that I knew existed in a certain folder in the period I was last using the computer. IOW, even as I am not hunting backwards in time beyond the most recent TM backup, I am not yet willing to simply wipe it all and (blissfully) move on.
Before I start, I’d wondered if anyone had any tips, tricks, or warnings to share about my plans.