Pulling Data From an Old .Mac Backup 3 backup.sparseimage File

Posted by: on Jul 22, 2008 in Mac Specific, Technology | 2 Comments

Looking to recover data from an old .Mac “Backup 3” archive? I had to do that earlier today and, after having canceled my .Mac service over 2 years ago, I didn’t have the old “Backup 3″ app. Not that it would have worked – it requires an active .Mac account to validate against before running.

The new MobileMe service doesn’t include Backup 3. Time Machine doesn’t read/open individual files. Google searches resulted in various complex ways to retrieve data from the backup.sparseimage files that Backup 3 produced. I called Apple support to get help figuring this out. After being put on hold a number of times and having to re-explain the situation again and again, my support rep put me on speaker phone with his supervisor. That supervisor suggested the simplest of simple solutions. Double click the backup.sparseimage file that Backup 3 had created.

Derr. Way too simple. Of course, the backup.sparseimage file just opened up like a DMG file would – as a separate volume (like a drive). I could browse all the folders and files that had been backed up in 2006, drag & drop to my desktop and another external drive as needed. Simple solution.

So, if you have an old .Mac Backup 3 archive that you want to grab data from, and if you are using OS X 10.5 Leopard, just open the old Backup 3 folders until you see “backup.sparseimage” and give it a quick double click. C’est tout. That’s it.

Granted, if your backup.sparseimage is corrupt, double clicking won’t help a whole lot. But for those ex-.Mac users who have stable backups, this is a nice revelation.