Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Howto: replace Time Capsule HD and retain the old backup

My Time Capsule is now pretty old at 3 years, and the 500GB just isn't cutting it. Got myself a shiny 2TB which I figure should be enough for a while.

You can find instructions for the physical swap lots of places on the Internet, most assume you want to start afresh with your backups. For some of my machines I do, some I do not.

If I want to keep and retain the old backups to be able to restore from them, then I need to copy over the data.

  1. Go to each machine that uses the Time Capsule, and turn Time Machine off

  2. Swap the hard drive in the Time Capsule and re-assemble

  3. After turning the Time Capsule on, use Airport Utility to format the new HD

  4. Take the old HD and use a SATA to USB adapter to connect to a Mac laptop

  5. Make sure this machine is connected by wired ethernet to the Time Capsule, gigabit is best: there's a heap of data to copy!

  6. Mount the (new) Time Capsule drive in finder

    We need to copy the data into the folder called 'Airport Disk'

  7. On the old HD look for the volume called 'Data' and in there 'ShareRoot' and in there you'll find the disk images with all the old backups. Copy what you need from here into the 'Airport Disk' mentioned above

  8. It'll take a while, so be patient

  9. On the machine whose backup image you just copied, restart Time Machine, you may need to reselect the Time Capsule, and the first backup may take slightly longer than usual.

  10. For bonus points, remember that all your data is on that old disk totally unencrypted. If you think you might need it, and you have Mac OSX Lion, then use FileVault 2 to encrypt it on the fly ie not loss of data.


Kary Mills said...

cool! This is just awesome. I was just looking for this information for a while and found it here. It was really helpful for me. Thanks for your very details step by step guide to make it done.

Kary@ copy machines

Joe said...

I was really hoping this would work! But, unfortunately it gave up about 5% through with this message "Mac OS X can't repair the disk 'Backups.' You can still open or copy files on the disk, but you can't save changes to files on the disk. Back up the disk and reformat it as soon as you can."

When I looked at the contents, huge chunks of files were missing. Backup sparseimages that were once 300-400 GB in size were only 50-100 GB, even though the size of the disk was showing correctly. I tried to copy the files again, but they immediately failed on every re-attempt.

So I'm backing up all machines again from scratch, which is a shame :( thanks for the tip, anyway!

Steve Mansfield said...

Sounds like the copy process when you copied you old backup images over didn't work - did you use wired gigabit ethernet?