Restoring a Time Capsule

Post date: Jun 24, 2010 5:47:38 AM

I've used an Apple Time Capsule to back up mine and Jude's MacBooks for a couple years.  It worked very well — accepting a Time Machine incremental backup every hour from the two laptops — until May, when it shut itself off and wouldn't stay on when plugged in. 

Fortunately, I had a backup of the Time Capsule.  I had read an article on TidBITS in March that described a pattern of failures in TCs, and that compelled me to buy a disk at Fry's and make an archive of the TC. 

I finally spent some time last weekend to try and diagnose the problem.  I read on the Time Capsule Memorial Register that Apple has been replacing Time Capsules at no charge, even when they are out of warranty like mine.  So I called Apple's support line, walked through some steps with the conscientious support person, and they decided to ship me a replacement. 

I wanted to restore the new Time Capsule from the archive I had made of the old one.  I was surprised that Apple didn't put any UI in Airport Utility to do so — you can easily archive a TC to a USB disk, but not restore from one.  Though the process isn't clearly documented anywhere, I followed a tip on an Apple Support Discussion and worked it out.

Now my new Time Machine is doing its regular backups, and my Macs have easy access to their two years of archives.