OK, we got a Time Machine on ZFS on FreeBSD. So what. Can we restore from it?

I have written recently about creating a ZFS-based Time Machine on FreeBSD. Yesterday, I did my first restore from this instance.

Surprise. It worked.

Please move along. Nothing to see here. Just photos.

The motivation: I’m replacing one MacBook with another. Some details here on Twitter.

Edit – 2024-02-22

After I messed up when renaming a user account, I restored from backup. Since my Time Machine is only available via my VPN, I had to connect the laptop via ethernet cable. The problem: Migration assistant kept turning on WIFI (which uses different DNS servers) and I was unable to connect. In hindsight (as I type this), I could have specified the source for restoring as an IP address. After several failed attempts, I removed all the WIFI passwords (for my home WIFI networks) from Keychain so the laptop could not connect to wifi. Even then, I could not get the source to pop up in the window as expected. Then Air01 appeared (which ws the laptop I was restoring. Or so I thought. I checked the tm jail, and I could see a samba connection (try ) between the jail and the laptop. I clicked Continue in Migration Assistant. Profit…. Sometimes the UI is not helpful enough. The restore is proceeding. I now return you to your post.

How you get Migration Assistant running on your Mac may be outside scope. I got it running and opted to restore from a Time Machine. I was directly connected to the network via a network cable. I clicked on Other Server and entered the name of the host as shown:

Backup is in use

I got messages that my backup was in use. My solution: restart my Time Machine jail.

Copying over everything

Here I am, ready to go.

Getting ready

It’s getting ready to copy…

1 million things

Well, not quite, but close.

25 hours!


5 hours

The time soon dropped to 13, then 5 and finally, 3 hours. I think in all, it took about 5 hours to copy over about 500 GB on a 1Gb connection.


It works. I can’t see any differences between the two laptops.

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