My Snow Leopard disaster continues

It’s the third day since I lost the use of my only computer, a Macbook pro, and I’m about to head off to the Bay St. Apple Store in Emeryville, CA for the third time to try to get it working again.

Please see my post yesterday explaining how a failed update to the much-heralded Snow Leopard OS X left me macless.

Last night, after the Apple Store wiped my brand-new hard drive, I went home and followed their instructions for installing SL again and restoring from my Time Machine backup. The SL install worked; the TM restore failed because the Snow Leopard installer does not allow you to specify WHICH TM backup you want to restore from!

That’s right: SL automatically grabs the most recent backup — which in this case was a backup of the lobotomized virgin system captured after my first SL install.

Tom worked hard for several hours last night via iChat screen share to try to manually restore the correct TM backup. Below are his notes

Right now I’m en route to the Apple Store. I plan to be there when they open and stay there until they fix this. I’ll be updating on this blog and via Twitter” throughout the day.

…BTW, I’m having to run all these errands at a time when my orthopedist has cautioned me to walk as little as possible. I had knee surgery Aug. 13 to repair a torn ACL. I have a leg brace for getting around during recovery, but walking too much now impairs my recovery. So managing this Apple ordeal is putting my physical well being at risk. No exaggeration.

Anyway, here’s Tom’s account of what happened with my mac last night and what I’m trying to achieve today….

This has been an unmitigated disaster.

First problem: HD failure during install of Snow Leopard.

Apple installed a new hard drive and Snow Leopard.

Amy went home, and tried to restore her data and apps from Time Machine. That restore failed. However, instead of choosing “restore from time machine,” when Snow Leopard launched for the first time, she chose “do not transfer my information at this time.” She then ran Time Machine restore from within Snow Leopard.

Second problem: Time Machine did not restore everything to ‘/’, it restored to a directory “/Macintosh HD”

Amy returned to Apple store. They did a clean wipe, and upon returning home she chose “restore from time machine.”

This worked except for one problem: Time machine had been running during the previous install and restore. As a result, the last backup it had on hand was the “virgin” install from the previous day. None of her applications or data and different user account name.

Since the username Amy chose for the new account on the laptop is not the same as the username in the Time Machine backups, Time Machine did not allow her access to the old backups. It only allowed access two the two snapshots that were created previously.

We created a second user account of the same name as the one on the Time Machine backup to see if it would allow access. It did not.

At this point, the only option is to manually restore everything using sudo and command line copying from the Time Machine backup to the laptop.

The only problem is that I have restored applications that are not going to run with Snow Leopard (i.e. we can not now get iChat to work so I can continue screen sharing). Since iChat disconnected my screen sharing session last night, I was unable to finish resetting file permissions for her documents (chown -R amygahran:staff ~/)

What we want:

1 Forget Snow Leopard. Install virgin Mac OS X from original install CDs.

2. Do a restore from Time Machine. However, you’re going to have a problem here. Upon booting, and choosing “restore from Time Machine,” Time Machine will not give you access to anything older than the more recent backup. That backup was performed under Snow Leopard of the virgin system. It is not of the applications and documents we need.

We want the machine back the way it was before this nightmare began.

8 thoughts on My Snow Leopard disaster continues

  1. Pingback:   My Mac Snow Leopard installation disaster so far —

  2. I am so sorry to hear you are having these problems, and have nothing positive to offer…except to say that I have upgraded TWO of my three machines to Snow Leopard with NO problems.
    I have yet to do my new MacBook Pro tho, so you have me a bit worried.
    I hope this is resolved for you soon. It really sucks when good technology fails.

  3. Seems like you should be able to crack open the Backup image (via some other machine, preferably), and then change the symlinks/Alias for “Latest” to point at the previous (non-SL backup), and nuke the SL folder (it should be pretty obvious which one it is, since it’s the most recent – you might have to nuke a couple of them).

    I’m still trying to get Snow Leopard to find my time machine volume (the one that isn’t hanging off of a time capsule) ๐Ÿ™


  4. I have yet to do my new MacBook Pro tho, so you have me a bit worried.
    I hope this is resolved for you soon. It really sucks when good technology fails.

  5. This not is (hopefully by this time) too late to be of any use to Amy and Tom but for anyone else looking to this thread for answers รขโ‚ฌโ€œ Norby’s suggestion above should do the trick. Open up the directory within the Backups.backupdb directory that corresponds to the name of the Leopard machine. Within it there is a symbolic link for the Latest backup that points to the most recent, incorrect, backup. Recreate this link (ln -s in Terminal) to point to the correct backup image. Then trash the bad backup directory to recover the disk space.

    The fact that Apple doesn’t provide for selection of the date you want to restore from is an incredible lame oversight.

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