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I dropped one of the external drives on my Mac Pro and it started making noises... so I bought a replacement drive. No biggie, that's why I have Time Machine, right?

So now that I have the new drive up and initialized, how do I actually restore the drive from backup?

Time Machine is intuitive when it comes to restoring the system drive or restoring individual folders/files on the same literal device, but I'm a bit stuck in how to properly restore an entire drive that is not the boot drive.

I saw one suggestion to use the same volume name as the old drive and then go into Time Machine. Haven't tried that since the information is unconfirmed.

For now, I just went to the Time Machine volume, found the latest backup folder for that volume, and I'm copying the files via Finder. Of couse, I expect this to work just fine, but I feel like I'm missing something if that's the "proper" way to do this.

Edit 2014-06: woudldn't you know it, I had the same thing happen again, had the same question, and happened to run across my question here! lol... Just to confirm, I did have to give the volume on the new drive the same name as the volume being restored, otherwise Time Machine wouldn't show the history of the old drive.

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For more details, see this related question: – Ed Wagner Sep 18 '11 at 16:10
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you start the Time Machine viewer, go back in time one step, and select your computer name in the Finder, you should see all the computer's volumes you have backups for.

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I'm nearly finished copying the files, but I checked and did find the old drive in the list of volumes a few history steps back! Seems perfectly reasonable in retrospect, but wasn't expecting entire old disconnected volumes to show up in the history, only old folders and files. – richardtallent Feb 11 '11 at 6:47

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