Is it possible to restore a Snow Leopard Time Machine backup to Mountain Lion?

Nate Clark January 7, 2013

I have an old (4+ years) MacBook that’s on its last legs. I’m going to purchase a new one within the next year, but before I do so, I have some concerns. Obviously the new MacBook Pros are all running Mountain Lion, but my MacBook is still on Snow Leopard. If I choose to transfer my user account and all associated data using Migration Assistant, will anything be lost/incompatible?

Mine is the only account on my laptop, and I back up to an external drive with Time Machine regularly.

  1. Anish Parameshwaran
    January 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Yes, it should be fine - Migration Assistant should be useful in this process.

    January 17, 2013 at 7:12 am

    no it wont affect check the apple support site for more info

  3. Jan Fritsch
    January 8, 2013 at 7:04 am

    During the initial setup (Setup Assistant) you can select to restore your user account form the Time Machine backup or you can do the same after setting up Mountain Lion using the Migration Utility.

    What you should not do is restore the entire Time Machine backup including all your software. This will restore the older Snow Leopard to the device which will result in it no longer starting up duo to missing hardware support.

    Macs usually don't run with OS X versions prior to the one that shipped with it.

  4. Nate Clark
    January 8, 2013 at 2:58 am

    I've used Migration Assistant before, it works like a charm, but that was always from one Snow Leopard Mac to another. I'm more concerned that something will be mysteriously incompatible.

  5. ha14
    January 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Setting-up a new Mac from an old one, its Backups, or a PC
    You can easily set up a new Mac from:
    •Another Mac
    •Time Machine backups of another Mac
    •A "clone" of another Mac (such as those made by CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper).
    •A PC (on Lion only)

    perhaps when you turn on your new Macbook for the first time, you will be asked if you want to transfer data from another Mac (Setup Assistant).

  6. Justin Pot
    January 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    I'm not sure how restoring would work, though I suspect it would be fine.

    If you're nervous you can manually grab files from your backup drive. Just head to /Volumes/NAMEOFYOURBACKUPHERE/Backups.backupdb/ in Finder and you'll find all of your files there.

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