Time Machine Only Restores Folders?

So. While venturing into Coldfusion Builder I managed to delete the entire contents of my htdoc directory.  11 gigs…gone…poof. My first thought was, “I can’t believe that just happened?” Then, “Damn, with that new 7200 rpm hard drive, they disappeared 50% faster.”  Not to worry, I’ve got a Time Machine backup at home. I’ll just restore it from last night and we’ll be all good.

It wasn’t that simple.

For some reason Time Machine would let me see last nights files, select them and click restore. Then it would prompt me with what I wanted to do with the restored files, “Keep Originals, Keep Both, or Copy over ”  Clicking anything results in Time Machine pretending to restore the files, Only to restore a bunch of empty directories. No errors, no nothing… FU Time Machine.

I have bootable backup from a couple weeks ago, but do I really want to try and piece together the last two weeks of work? Nah, I shouldn’t have to, isn’t Time Machine supposed to have saved me this trouble?

I found this discussion, which didn’t solve the problem but led me in the right direction.  I mounted my backup and tried to drag files to my HD without using Time Machine. I still could not drag files to my HD I got the same result, Time Machine only copied the directories and not the files. Dragging individual files like the message board suggested would really suck. So, here is the solution.

  1. Instead of launching Time Machine, manually mount your backup by plugging it into your computer, and CTRL-clicking time Machine, choose browse other time machine disks.
  2. When the drive mounts, open it up, and browse to the directory of the backup you were looking for.
  3. Command-Click and select the files you want to restore.
  4. Control-Click your selection and choose “Compress”
  5. Copy the compressed zip file to your HD
  6. Decompress the zip

It sure beats dragging files over one by one.