Information Technology Reference
If you know something about a missing file or folder, such as a word
in its title or its contents, you can use Spotlight to find it within your
Time Machine backups. Follow these steps:
1. Click the Time Machine icon in the Dock or choose Enter Time
Machine from the Time Machine
menu. The screen switches
to the Time Machine display.
2. Type something into the Spotlight search field in the toolbar of the
window, optionally specifying additional search criteria.
Note: Although Spotlight searches in the Finder normally include
items such as Mail messages and Address Book contacts, these do
not appear by default when doing a Spotlight search on the “time
3. Using the back and forward arrows or the controls on the right of
the screen, navigate to an earlier point in time. Each time you move
to another backup, the Spotlight window changes to reflect the
results of the search at the time that backup was performed.
4. When you find the desired file, select it and click Restore. Time
Machine copies it to its original location. To restore to a different
location, right-click (or Control-click) the item and choose Restore
“ File Name ” To from the contextual menu, navigate to the new
location, and click Choose.
Time Machine and Spotlight
Spotlight always maintains an index of your Time Machine disk so you
can search in your backups. You may be tempted to prevent Spotlight
from indexing that disk by adding it to the Privacy list in the Spotlight
preference pane, but don't bother. It doesn't work—Spotlight keeps
indexing your Time Machine disk even if it's on the list. But this is
nothing to worry about, because Spotlight searches don't normally
display matching items on your Time Machine disk except when
you're on the “time warp” screen.