Table of Contents       3. Catalog your data

3.12 Catalog disks with a Time Machine backup

Time Machine is Apples simple backup system, and cataloging disks containing that data with NeoFinder require two special settings to work properly.

In macOS 10.12 and later, Apple has created yet another new cage, and has massively reduced access to the content of your own Time Machine backup folder. Even you cannot see your own backup files anymore in the Finder!

This means that NeoFinder will not be able to catalog the content of your Time Machine backup folder at all, because if you cannot see it, NeoFinder cannot see the content either. If you think you should have at least read-access to your own Time Machine backup data, drop a note to Apple and ask them to fix this. Until then, consider another backup tool, like Carbon Copy Cloner for your backups.

If you use macOS 10.14, you must allow NeoFinder
Full Disk Access in the Security settings of the System Preferences, or the contents of your Time Machine folder cannot be accessed by NeoFinder.

full disk access

If you use Mac OS X 10.11 and earlier:

1. Apple uses a special folder, called a “bundle” or “package”, to hide the actual content of the backup from you. The name of the folder is

By default, NeoFinder ignores the content of such bundles, so if you wish to catalog a Time Machine backup, the first option to be considered is the
Ignore Package Contents option, in the Cataloging Preferences of NeoFinder.

2. Time Machine uses a huge number of hard links, or
Alias files inside every such backup folder. A really really large number of them. NeoFinder tries dutifully to catalog all of those, but that can take a very long time, increasing the size of your NeoFinder catalog a lot.

As these hard links or aliases are not very interesting, you can tell NeoFinder to simply ignore them, and catalog a Time Machine backup disk smoothly.

Also, the code that detects the strange “hard link alias” items that Apple uses in these Time Machine backups has been massively improved in NeoFinder 7.1, so if you use any older version, you definitely want to upgrade to NeoFinder 7.1.

Here is a how the
Ignore section of the Cataloging Preferences in NeoFinder should look like, in regards of Alias files and Package content. This way, you can safely and successfully catalog a disk that contains a Time Machine backup.