Time Machine – Complete Restore of Mac High Sierra.

So I had a SSD fail in one of the Mac’s here at the house (first failure so far. 5 years and 2 months old – older SSDs are still running fine). Trying to reinstall from a Time Machine backup was proving to be a bit of a pain. Since there was no boot partition, and there are no OS boot disks anymore, I did the network install of a boot partition. I guess for my machine the default install partition is an older version, because it installed an older version of the OS on the emergency boot partition.

Not sure if it was related to the older version not being able to figure out how to restore, but the install would always hang looking “searching for an install disk” (which it would never find). So I had to go to another mac, pull my archived version of the High Sierra install esd file and create a bootable USB. After booting from the USB, using disk utility to reformat the disk, I started a time machine recovery. Right off the bat the machine finds the new disk and installed right away.

There are many other possibilities as to why this happened, but I thought I would post my steps in the case they help someone out. Of course this all requires you to archive a copy of your ESD file prior to each software upgrade. Instructions on how to archive this are all over the web (MacWorld link) however the jist is always to download the update, then prior to the install process starting, copy the “High Sierra installer.app” (or whatever version you have) from the applications folder where the installer downloaded it, to drive space somewhere. Then you can either use the terminal or InstallDiskCreator to build the USB. I’ve used DiskmakerX in the past, but it has become so buggy, I don’t bother anymore… Both utilities are free, so no worries there. I think the MacWorld link above has a link on it to download the file directly without going through the app store.


Just as a side note the drive that failed was a Samsung 840 Pro 256gig. Warranty was 5 years, drive failed at 5 years and 2 months. The machine it failed in was a low use machine that always had trim enabled…

I have many more cheaper/older crucial drives that are still working perfectly. I even have a couple of 60gb SSD drives that are super old that are running a couple of automation systems that have no issues. I’d bet they are nearly 8 years old now…



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