Information Technology Reference
Depending on your needs, this arrangement—starting from the file in
question rather than a particular backup run—may be preferable. Time
Machine has an elegant hybrid approach, letting you zoom forward or
backward in time to see how any given folder appeared at the time of
Without either a snapshot or a file list, you'll need to locate each
version of the file manually—often in a series of dated folders. This
makes for a long and tedious restoration process.
Ease of Restoration
No matter how easy it is to back up your hard disk, if your software
makes it difficult to restore files, you're going to be unhappy with it.
After all, a backup that you can't restore is worthless. Backup programs
typically offer one of three main approaches to restoration:
Finder restoration: The backup program has no Restore
command; to restore files, you drag them manually from the backup
volume onto your hard disk. This is fine if you're restoring an entire
folder, but if you've done a versioned backup, you may have to sort
through dozens or hundreds of folders to locate the right versions of
each of your files.
Reverse backup: In this scheme, the backup program once again
lacks a Restore command; instead, it expects that you'll swap the
source and destination locations and perform your backup again—
in reverse. While this may reduce manual effort somewhat, it's
still a hassle when restoring files from a versioned backup (except,
perhaps, in the case of programs that use hard links), especially
when restoring from multiple locations.
A Restore command: The backup program (usually) tracks all
the files you backed up during each session, allowing you to copy
them back to their proper locations—or another destination of
your choice—with a few clicks. In most cases, before starting the
restoration, you can choose a subset of the files, or even pick out
one version of a single file if that's all you need. Restore commands
and snapshots tend to appear together.