Moving Time Machine backups to a bigger drive

I have a drive with 3 partitions (The Big One, Rachel Time Machine, James Time Machine). I had quite an ordeal trying to moving each TM backup to a new/bigger drive. Initially I tried doing a straight copy from the File Manager…i.e. just dragging the Backups.backupdb directory to the new drive. It worked for Rachel Time Machine (took probably 3 or 4 hours). (I also found out that doing a straight file copy essentially is not efficient because doesn’t preserve the links (logical pointers to files) but essentially duplicates the file that the links are pointing to (see patrix’s comments in the link above). After copying the files over, I pointed Rachel’s laptop to use the her new Time Machine drive and I can see all of the older backups. Great!

Migrating James Time Machine to a new drive was not so smooth. Doing a straight file copy took forever (something like 5 to 6 hours)…I basically let it run over night. In the morning I woke up to find that it didn’t work. Here’s the ordeal described for a Stack Exchange post. As you can see from the post, trying to copy using OSX’s Disk Utility didn’t really work the way I wanted to. It basically cloned my drive so that my NEW drive was just as small as my original (I think it basically created a small partition…but the weird thing is that if you look at the disk in Disk Utility, there is only one partition and it should be 1TB, the size of the new drive…hmmm). Carbon Clone Copy didn’t work either. Finally SuperDuper! did the trick!!!

I have to thank this Neil’s Apple Blog post for mitigating some of the frustration along the way…it was comforting to see someone else with the same issue and that a solution was possible!

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