Tuesday, 20 March 2012

UPDATE: Howto Restore from a Time Machine backup on a Drobo-FS

This is what I did. Not everything here may be important, but...

My Starting point:

  • A PowerBook G4.
  • A probably damaged file system (ie. I could not shrink a partition).
  • A recent Time Machine backup to a Time Machine enabled share on a Drobo-FS. This was 'updated' several times as I was cleaning out my file system. This also meant it is huge.
  • I removed all partitions on my hard drive - I wanted a clean start.

Note: my Drobo-FS share is accessible by 'Everyone'. My other shares require an account. This may be important as I am not sure if you will later be able to connect to this share by using a username and password. So, I would connect to your Drobo-FS and add 'Everyone' with Read/Write access.

What I wanted to do was install a tiny OSX partition, restore some of my old accounts, and install linux as well. My aim was to make Linux the main OS.

Howto Restore from a Time Machine backup on a Drobo-FS

  • Boot of install DVD. Mine was OSX Leopard 10.5
  • After first screen to select your language, turn on AirPort (icon in top right hand corner) and joined your home wireless network.
  • From the menu, select Utilities - we need to somehow find and mount your Drobo-FS share containing your Time Machine backup bundle.
  • Select Disk utility.
  • Select File - Open Disk Image. This will not actually work, but it will allow you to mount a Drobo-FS share. You should now see your Drobo-FS under SHARED in a Finder window.
  • Click on your Drobo-FS. Your shares should be listed.
  • Double-click on your Time Machine backup share. Your Drobo-FS backup share should now be mounted and accessibly for restoration.
  • Cancel back to Disk Utility.
  • Here, I created a Partition and gave it the identical name that it had before. In my case it was 'Macintiosh HD'. This may or may not be important.
  • Exit Disk Utility.
  • Select Utilities - Restore... (not sure exactly what is is called)
  • From here you should be able to select your Time machine backup share and your hard drive for the restore to proceed.

Note: I had trouble using the wired Ethernet port and enabling AirPort seemed to help - On previous attempts to migrate accounts, I found that Apple's installer could not  use my wired Ethernet port!?!
Note: This is not what I want, but I hope to be able to shrink this later to add other partitions for Linux.

Currently mine is up to 96%.

UPDATE: It did finish and all was well and Linux (Mint PPC) runs great!


Dear Drobo,

You market these 'simple-to-use' devices and promote Time Machine compatibility - to a degree.

I should not have to go to some third party blog that suggests I run a terminal and type in a command that only geeks would know what it does or means. 

Should I?

This is your support page. - well, that is what I found. Is that the best you can do?

UPDATE: Drobo have contacted me and suggest looking at this page.


It looks very complicated and they indicate that it only works for Lion or later. 

I think my 'discovered' method is simpler. Drobo's instructions require terminal commands and details that would be hard to get if you are not familiar with low-level Unix commands and IP networking.

You now need to publish simple-to-use instructions on how to use Drobo's (especially networked ones) in situations where we, your customer's need instructions.

Why? Because your products don't 'just work'!!!

In the case your Drobo-FS product - the one I paid handsomely for on the basis of 'simple-to-use'... you need to publish at least these instructions:

  • Restore a machine from a Time Machine backup on a Drobo-FS share.
  • Migrate accounts at any time or after a fresh install of OS-X.

You need to test these instructions, try them of all supported OSs, you do do this already don't you? So document it so people can do it for themselves.

How can I recommend a Drobo-FS to someone when I had so much trouble restoring!?!

But, if I am the dummy here, please tell me where I went wrong. I have to do this a few more times!