Time Machine - Troubleshooting

E8.  After a full restore, Mac won't start up, or kernel panics.

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If you're running Snow Leopard, see the pink box below first.

In most cases, just installing a fresh copy of OSX will fix the problem (and won't disturb anything else).  See  Installing the "combo" update and/or Reinstalling OSX for details and instructions.

However, if you're restoring because you had a serious problem with your Mac, especially the internal HD, that problem may have corrupted things on your internal HD and those problems may have been backed-up, so brought back when you did the restore.  That can include not only parts of OSX but also your user data.

In that case, try the restore again, but select an earlier backup, from before the problems started.  See Time Machine FAQ #14.

If all else fails, your best option is to erase your internal HD and install a fresh copy of OSX.  See the yellow box in Format, Erase, or Reformat a Drive if you're not sure how to erase it.  Once it's erased, just quit Disk Utility and install OSX, per Installing the "combo" update and/or Reinstalling OSX.

When your Mac restarts, use Setup Assistant to transfer your settings, apps, users and data from your backups.  See Using Setup Assistant on Lion or Mountain Lion or Using Setup Assistant on Snow Leopard or Leopard for details. 

Especially if you're on Leopard or Snow Leopard, you may not be on the same version of OSX as the backups.  If not, do not use any Apple apps yet, as they'll be older versions and may conflict with newer data.  Download and install the OSX "combo" update first.  See Installing the "combo" update and/or Reinstalling OSX for details and instructions.

If you're running Snow Leopard (10.6.x):

A common cause of this is using a Leopard Install disc to restore a Snow Leopard backup.  The installer on the Leopard disc will copy everything, but your Mac won't start up properly. 

If that's not what you did, just install a fresh copy of OSX as above.

If that is what you did:

  1. If the restore didn't take over 90 minutes or so, your best bet is to just do it over, using your Snow Leopard Install disc, per Time Machine FAQ #14.

  2. If the restore took much longer, it may be better to install a fresh copy of OSX (that won't disturb anything else) from your Install disk.  When your Mac restarts, if you're not on the same version of OSX as the restored system, do not use any Apple apps yet, as they'll be older versions and may conflict with newer data.  Download and install the OSX "combo" update first.  See Installing the "combo" update and/or Reinstalling OSX for details and instructions.