Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How To: Mount a Time Capsule from Terminal/Command Line

For the second or third time, I've had to save my macbook Air from destruction with the aid of my time capsule.

Here's the situation:
  1. MacBook Air is DEAD. (Mine specifically couldn't get past the spinning white loading screen...)
  2. MacBook Air only has one USB slot and no CD drive, so we need to boot up from the Install disk with the external drive, taking up our USB slot. (Note: Using a USB hub doesn't allow me to boot from the disk externally... maybe people have had other successes)
  3. We want to save our HD data before reinstalling, but we can't plug in an external HD while the disk is plugged in, so
  4. WHAT TO DO?
  5. Time Capsule!!
Before you start, realize that copying any portion of your harddrive over WiFi to the TimeCapsule is absurdly slow. Also, a little experience with Terminal doesn't hurt. Here we go!

How To Open Terminal:
  1. Boot from the disk - hold down the alt key while starting up with the install disk.
  2. Choose the MacOSX Install Disk to boot up.
  3. At the Install screen, go up to Utilities in the toolbar, and open Terminal.
How To Mount TimeCapsule:
  1. Make a place to mount the TimeCapsule with: mkdir /Volumes/TimeCapsule
  2. Mount the TimeCapsule with: mount_afp -i afp:/// /Volumes/TimeCapsule
  • ip is the IP of the TimeCapsule (mine was
  • folder is the root folder of the TimeCapsule (the 'SharePoint')
  • -i means Interactive Mode, so it will prompt you for your Username and Password.
  • The User will be the user of your computer (not the lowercase version), so mine was Nicolas Williamson, and Password is the password for the TimeCapsule when you originally set it up.
How To Copy Files:
  1. Make a directory on the TimeCapsule for your backup files with: mkdir /Volumes/TimeCapsule/Backup_Date
  2. Go to your harddrive with: cd /Volumes//Users/
  3. Copy any files you need from Documents or Desktop (or anywhere else) with the cp command. Note: If you are copying a folder use the -r option, and use the -v (verbose) option to see what files are copying (otherwise it can feel like it's not doing anything!). Ex: cp -r -v Documents /Volume/TimeCapsule/Backup/

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