Apparently I tend to make my life more complicated than it should. I have been backing up my Mac to a Time Machine on a Thunderbolt Drobo. No problem, right? Well, I guess I spoke to soon.
Doing a complete restore of a Mac from a Time Machine is pretty straight forward using OS X’ Migration Assistant, but in real life, the result is not usually perfect, and can be quirky. Of course, I have to add an additional confusion to the mix, by using a Drobo. I love Drobo, but they can initiate a heart attack when they do not behave as expected.
The scenario is, I wanted to transfer the content of my Mac to another. There are many ways to do this, but OS X’ Migration assistant is usually pretty foolproof and fairly easy, especially since it has the option to do it from a Time Machine backup so you don’t have to have the original machine. So I reformatted the target Mac with 10.9, connected my Thunderbolt Drobo, and Migration Assistant could not seem to find it. Uh oh. So I set up the target Mac as a fresh Mavericks install, and although System Information detects the Thunderbolt Drobo, it’s not shown in Finder. A knowledge base from Drobo said that I have to have Drobo Dashboard installed.
I downloaded and installed Drobo Dashboard, and the Drobo is mounted. Great. So I started Migration Assistant again. No go. Seems like Migration Assistant kinda did a “reboot” to run. Well, based on the knowledge base from Drobo, since it needs Drobo Dashboard to mount the Thunderbolt Drobo, that means Migration Assistant will never be able to recognize the Thunderbolt Drobo as it started before Drobo Dashboard is loaded. Double uh oh!
So I dug up the drobo box to get its USB cable. Meanwhile, I let the target system to update itself to 10.9.2. After 10.9.2 was installed, I tried Migration Assistant again, saving the USB route as last resort. Luckily, the Time Machine partition was shown. Hallelujah!
Moral of the story:
- Although restoring form Time Machine works, sometimes it is easier to just do a direct migration from the old Mac. So if you buy a new Mac, don’t sell or reformat the old one yet until you get everything transferred
- Update the target Mac to the latest OS X version and its patches. 10.9’s Migration Assistant did not recognize the Thunderbolt Drobo, but apparently 10.9.2 did (with Drobo Dashboard installed)
- Thunderbolt is great and fancy, but don’t dismiss USB just yet
Well, just another doki-doki adventure with Drobo.