Restoring Time Machine data after backup/reset

I recently reset my Drobo diskpack to take advantage of the new performance and capacity updates in Firmware 3.5.6.

In preparation for this, I copied the contents of all of my shares to a large drive I bought from Amazon and connected to Windows. This worked great for my Public directory, backups of DroboApp data, etc.

One thing I’m having trouble with is restoring Time Machine. It would appear that Time Machine actually creates its own virtual disk inside of the Drobo share; that virtual disk is configured for 512MB. When I reconfigured my shares, I gave it 1 TB. I simply want to resume using it, retaining my history.

What’s the best/easiest way of restoring my TM data, while taking advantage of the upgraded capacity? Simply copying the contents back to the TM share did not work; My Mac can mount it, but doesn’t seem to like the format. It won’t even allow me to (re-)enable journaling on the virtual disk for whatever ridiculous reason.

Can I directly copy the data contained in the .sparsebundle to the new partition?

Anyone ever go through this?

Copying TimeMachine sparsebundles is no fun. Even copying / deleting them could be a real pain (moving the hole folder around on the same partition works best).

My guess: the sparsebundle did not survive the copying to the windows system. Restoring this might be useless. This is very fragile and I would not recommend moving these TM sparsebundles to other FS than ext3/4 or hfs+.

Can you attach the drive to a Mac and test if the TM backup is still okay?

I mean… I can definitely see the contents of the .sparsebundle, and copy the data from within.
Would simply copying the dated folders into a new, empty .sparsebundle created by TimeMachine work…?

Seriously? This is supposed to save your ass in case you lost some data.
The sparsebundle is a simple directory with stuff in it. You stated “Simply copying the contents back to the TM share did not work; My Mac can mount it, but doesn’t seem to like the format”. So the stuff in the folder seems non functional. And your question is if you should mess around with your new backup and put some non working stuff inside?

My advice: Make a new TM Backup and put your old backup in a safe place. Remember: every copying / fiddling around makes it less likely you will ever be able to access it’s contents.

Perhaps some other forum users have had success with messing around with their TM Backups and can tell you what to do. From my experience I can tell you: It is broken once you copy this kind of stuff to a windows PC.

TM itself tends to create a new fresh backup if it is in doubt about the integrity of the current backup. You should do the same.

Encountered this issue just this past week - attempted Time Machine recovery - not successful.

Had to wipe my MacBook Pro - Big Sur 11.2.3 - as the OS via an update was frought with issues and did a complete thumb drive OS install, safe in the knowledge I had everything backed up - with both Time Machine on a Drobo 5N and manual copies of a lot of projects on the go. Was not going to lose anything.

Went through the process to wipe and restore. Wipe went well - even faster with Big Sur - under 30 minutes.

Then to restore.

Would not find the Drobo.

OK, I figure since the drive isn’t mounted, I figured, I would manually input the IP - luckily have a desktop iMac so just noted the Drobo’s IP and away I go I thought…


Read elsewhere I could “easily” bash/hack/script my way to recovery in Turmoil. Hell no. The whole reason I bought a Mac 33 years ago was to avoid exactly this scenario.

Figured I would create an admin account and just transfer from the Drobo after the install - still no.

I rebuilt my MacBook on Sunday with the goal of being operational first thing Monday morning.

Now seeking further advice on this I come across posts on Drobo here about USB connection to the Drobo - ok good news if I am to consider Drobo for further backups.

But not seeing favourable responses to this. Can anyone confirm USB works? Only 2.0 not 3.0? What specific cable should I purchase?

The post I read previous to this was four years old - hoping there is some sort of update to this.


Backup/Restore of TM backups as backups rather than restoring back to a drive by any means other than a block level clone is pretty much a lost cause (same for UrBackup under Windows/Linux) not even rsync or robocopy respectively can really handle all the hard links & symlinks involved correctly.

As for use of Drobos & Big Sur I can only refer you to this:
Frequently Asked Questions: macOS 11 Big Sur (drobo.com)
In the case where M1 silocon is involved in addition, this may be useful:
New Mac M1 (drobo.com)