One of the best features Apple incorporated into Mac OS X Leopard is their built-in Time Machine backup system. For small studios, or individual designers, Time Machine is one of the best automated backups available.

You can click on the small backup-clock icon in your menu bar to access many Time Machine features: Check the date of your last backup, force an immediate backup, or jump back to search through the recent backups of your computer.

But what if you want to look through the files from another computer? By default, Time Machine’s restore interface only shows you files from your computer. But hold down the Option key and a menu option named “Browse Other Time Machine Disks” will appear in that menu.

Tip: You can also access the “Browse Other Time Machine disks…” option by clicking and holding on the Time Machine icon in your dock. No Option key is needed when using the Dock icon.


TimeMachineChooseDisk.pngFrom there, a dialog box allows you to pick which set of backups you wish to recover files from. Pick the disk you want and click “Use Selected Disk.”

The rest of the restore uses the traditional Time Machine process. You’ll be able to browse back in history using Apple’s psychedelic “Dr. Who” interface to select and restore files.

Tip: If Time Machine backs up to a Time Capsule or a network volume, those backups are saved in special sparse images. You’ll need to double-click to mount the backup image of the computer you want to restore from before you use the “Browse Other” option in Time Machine.

Source: This week our technical blog, Make Mac Work, features a short troubleshooting guide to help when Time Machine won’t write to your server. There is also an excellent article in the archives showing how to access the Network Time Machine options in Mac OS X Server.