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I have installed Snow Leopard in a separate partition in my machine. After verifying the installation was good, I went ahead to use Migration Assistant to restore my profiles and applications from the original 10.5.6 partition. It took me like 50 minutes and I was able to get back to my desktop after a reboot.

After the amazement of such a successful restore (comparing to the mediocre windows backup), I proceed to do a time machine backup. During that time I try to browse the previous versions of my files, but many of them are un-openable due to permission.

I am using the restored account right now but I still can't open those files. How can I take the ownership/set the permission of the previous versions of my files?

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Are you saying once you restore files from Time Machine you can't open them or that the files in your current User folder from the Migration can't be opened? – ridogi Nov 2 '09 at 21:19
I can see the current version of the restored files, but when I enter time machine, the previous versions of the files are inaccessible. – deddebme Nov 3 '09 at 3:45
It is always best to do the migration right at the end of a new installation (first boot). Doing it later means that certain things like the low-level UID (number assigned to each login) might not be able to match their original values. You might re-install your Snowy partition and re-migrate during the first boot of the new (re)install. Otherwise, if the problem is just permission, you could use chmod from Terminal. You might also need chown if the ownership is wrong (which might be due to a late migration). – Chris Johnsen Nov 3 '09 at 22:44

Highlight the folder in question, file --> Get Info --> Sharing & Permissions --> Unlock --> Set permissions to give you ownership --> Click on Gear, select Apply to Enclosed items.

Sorry, misread the question.... It's a permissions issue, but what your really asking is how to merge two different Time Machine Backup stores.

You really can't merge them... Time Machine considers each install to be a different machine, which is why your running into an issue. For example, your first install isn't snow leopard... So why would you want your Snow Leopard OS files to be equated with your non-Snow Leopard files...? At least that's part of the reason that Apple has designed it this way...

I think I know what has happened, but I'm not sure the best way to resolve it.

You originally had a single partition, which contained leopard, and your user account? You then shrunk the Leopard partition, and made a second partition for Snow Leopard? Installed Snow leopard, and then restored from backup with the target being Snow Leopard's partition?

Did you do a User Migration with restore? Or a Snow Leopard install with Time Machine restore? I suspect a SL Install w/restore...

I suspect that the user account in Leopard is a different user ID than your SL user account (eg 501 vs 503). Can you check? System Preferences --> Accounts -> Right Click on Account --> Advanced -> What is the User ID on Snow Leopard? And on Leopard?

That would explain your permissions issue. If you haven't done much in Snow Leopard, I would suggest creating a temporary Admin account, deleting your current user, and then using the User Migration tool to bring your old user account over from the Leopard partition... Seamless, and should do exactly what you want...

I know you can do it manually, but since your user account already exists, I don't know what impact it would have in manually correcting the user id, etc, in Snow Leopard...

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This is only taking ownership of the files from present to future, the problem I have is taking ownership of the files from the past (i.e. from the time machine backups) – deddebme Nov 3 '09 at 6:35
UID conflicts are one of the reasons to always do migrations during the first boot of fresh installs instead of manually invoking the Migration Assistant. – Chris Johnsen Nov 3 '09 at 22:46
@Benjamin Yes I did a migration after install SL. @Chris So I should have do the restore during the first bootup after install SL, right? – deddebme Nov 4 '09 at 5:01
@deddebme: Right, the migration offered during the first bootup of an installation is the most effective option for migration. It will ask you if you want to migrate your stuff from another Mac. Say yes, and just point it to your Leopard volume. – Chris Johnsen Nov 5 '09 at 4:19
@Chris Well, days have passed and I have many new files in my SL user profiles already, I think I will live with what I have right now. In case I need the previous version of the files from Leopard, I may restore that partition (I imaged the Leopard partition) and browse the time machine from it. Thanks for your help anyway :-) – deddebme Nov 7 '09 at 4:36

I did as Lena suggested but found that it was enough to only drag the relevant folder(s) out of TM and onto my new computer's desktop. Once there, it had all the data (files, folders, etc) originally inside it and all of them without permission restrictions. I.e., I didn't have to then place the folder from the desktop into the Trash and then back out.

To recap, I lost the ability (permission) to use my TM backup because Migration Assistant locked it up. My new Mac's (Admin) User profile is named different from the User profile I had in the old Mac (and hence the one in TM).

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I just had this problem when I transferred my files to a new computer via Time Machine. I came across a solution quite by accident. I moved the folder that was unopenable onto my desktop. Then I put it in the trash. Then I took it out of the trash and it opened just fine. It may be worth a try. I realize this is a few years too late, but if I had this problem then others will too, and this worked for me.

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Benjamin is on the right track in that Time Machine recognizes that you have a new computer, but user IDs do not enter into this.

Time Machine is tied to a particular computer, so Apple intends for you to wipe the backup and start with a fresh backup. You can get around this and link your old backup with the new computer by following the directions at this link:

You can also try manually browsing the Time Machine folder and copying out the files you need that way. I'm not sure if that will work or not without the modifications from the above link. but copying them from the command line with sudo should certainly work.

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I think the link you mentioned is about time machine problem after a change of MAC address. – deddebme Nov 4 '09 at 5:03
If you read down in that link people have used it not just for logic board changes, but for moving to a new computer. After all, buying a new computer gets you a new mac address! Be aware that while this lets you browse old time machine backup files it will do a new backup of all of your files into the same backup directory so depending on the size of your backup drive some old files may be discarded. – ridogi Nov 4 '09 at 5:31
The macosxhint article was about changing the MAC of a time machine backup db. I have followed the steps to make sure I have the same MAC address as in the time machine backup. – deddebme Nov 4 '09 at 16:45
So, did that solve the permission problem for you? – ridogi Nov 5 '09 at 18:02
No, it didn't help. I kind of gave up solving this problem right now. If in case I need to read the previous versions of some files from Leopard, I may restore the whole Leopard partition. But I don't think I will need to do so as of this moment, since I have already migrated my profile from Leopard to SL already. – deddebme Nov 7 '09 at 4:34

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