Imagine me showing up at my friend's doorstep with a laptop in several charred pieces, an intact external drive with (phew) Time Machine backups, and a deadline in a few hours. "Quick," I say, "give me your laptop!" I plug the external drive in and have it acting like my own laptop (rest its soul) in a matter of minutes.
Is that possible? Without wiping my friend's laptop, of course. And ideally without a second external drive.
As you know, if you don't do restores you're not really doing backups. So I'd like to try this out to make sure it would play out as in the scene above.
The question is, how, exactly?
PS: Here's a related but more pie-in-sky question:
More robust mac backups: full, distributed backup without sending gigabytes of traffic over the internet