TimeMachine and FileVault

Yesterday I had a moderately large shock at the annoying properties (read: missing features) of TimeMachine. I needed to reconstruct a two-week old log file. The problem? I don’t normally back up my Library folder, and I had my entire Home folder encrypted using FileVault.

First I thought it was going to be impossible to look at my old files at all, because I couldn’t immediately see how to do it – TimeMachine and FileFault don’t play well together in Leopard. Further, lots of pissed-off people who can manage to write comments on web pages think it’s impossible. However, it’s actually quite easy. Hee hee!

All you do is open the backup disk – e.g. by going into DiskUtility (in Utilities folder of Applications folder) – and then mount the sparse image. Be aware that mounting the backup disk can take quite a while over the wi-fi. But who cares? This method allows restoration of any file(s)!

P.S.: I confess, however much I would like to keep this a secret from my students, this time my source was …none other than … Wikipedia! Life sure has a fine sense of humour. :-p

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