fixed : “No Volumes Found in backup”-error

Question :

I was trying to get Migration Assistant-app to put all my data on my new Mac, but when I select the sparsebundle backup-file from Time Machine in Migration Assistant, I get an error : “No Volumes Found in backup”.

How can that be ? I’ve made a new TimeMachine-backup just minutes before, and I didn’t get any errors there… what is wrong ?

What can I do to fix this ?

Answer :

Time Machine is great. But there seems to be a bug in the backup-software that causes this “No Volumes Found in backup”-error you’ve encountered. Normally, this error-message should only be displayed when a sparsebundle backup-file is corrupt (for some reason), but it turns out that it is now also displayed when a sparsebundle backup-file is incomplete…

This is probably due to a disconnection from the backup-disk during the TimeMachine-backup process (for instance because of shutting down the Mac, or switching from WiFi- to Ethernet-connection or vice-versa, during backup).

If the original files are still available on your Mac, the solution is rather simple : just go back to your Mac and use Time Machine to make a new backup. If you want extra insurance to prevent this error, either make a new Time Machine backup to a new/fresh harddrive (preferable an external USB- or FireWire-harddisk), or follow the backup-routine outlined in this post.

If the original files are no longer available on your Mac (e.g. your Mac is stolen, sold or you’ve just done a clean install on it, wiping off all of it’s data), you are in trouble…

…in that case, you could try using Disk Utility to repair the sparsebundle-file. If that works, you are in extreme luck… if that doesn’t help, you have very few options other than using the Terminal-app or a specialized expensive retrieving app like DiskWarrior (the cheaper knock-offs turn out not to work in most cases… too bad…).

I will be posting instructions on how to use the Terminal-app for this shortly (in a new post).

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fixed : FREE application for cloning a Mac HD

Question :

I need to make an exact (bootable) copy of my secondary Mac’s startup-HD. Someone suggested me to use an application called Carbon Copy Cloner, but since I am running OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion on my primary Mac, I would need to use Carbon Copy Cloner version 3.5 or newer, but that’s not free software any longer…

As I only need to do this once, I’m not willing to pay more than €5 to be able to do so. What’s the best alternative ?

Answer :

The best alternative for making a bootable clone version of a Mac startup-HD is what you already have : Disk Utility …and best of all : it’s completely FREE.

Here’s how to do so :

– connect both HDs to your Mac (using USB or FireWire for example)

– on your Mac, open the Disk Utilities application (which can be found inside the folder called Utilities which is in the Applications folder)

– you will now see both HDs appear on the left side of the Disk Utility window (they will be listed as the disk size followed by the manufacturer name and some additional info, directly below them the name of the partitions on it are listed – on Macs there’s normally only one partition per HD)

– on the rest of the page (middle & right), you will see 5 chapter buttons : “First Aid”, “Erase”, “Partition”, “RAID” and “Restore”

– click on the “Restore”-chapter button

– now put the cursor in the white area behind “Source:” and then click on the partition you want to copy in the menu on the left

– then put the cursor in the white area behind “Destination:” and in the menu on the left, click on the HD (or on the partition) you want to copy to (or drag & drop it from there onto the

– if for some reason your chosen Source or Destination now lists something else than what you would like, just try again

– then click on the “Restore” button that’s bottom right

– …now all you have to do is wait (using USB 2.0, about 10GB of used disk space will be cloned in about 10 minutes)

– when the cloning is finished, both HD’s will have the same name, and therefore might not properly mount at the same time, so only one will be visible on your Desktop

– use the ‘drag disk to Trash’ procedure (or the eject-icon next to the HD’s listing), and unmount both HDs

– then plug just one HD back in to make it visible on your Desktop, and check if the cloning went okay (by browsing though it in the Finder)

– then eject the first HD, and check the second HD the same way

– that’s it !

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Note :

You can quickly check if the HD you’ve cloned is bootable, by connecting it to your Mac using a USB cable and then restarting your Mac with the ALT-key pressed

…that will enable you to choose any connected HD as the startup drive

if the cloned HD turns out not to be bootable, plug it into your Mac again, and use Disk Utility to check if the Partition Map Scheme is ‘GUID’ (it should not be ‘Apple’ !), if it’s not, re-partition the HD and do the cloning process again