Time Machine cannot do a full restore

I've been using Time Machine in OS X 10.5 Leopard on my Mac Pro to do nifty backups. It has come in handy a couple of times now, when I've been chasing problems down a rat hole (like, "why does ImageMagick work from the command line but not from an exec() call in PHP?") and I just want to give up and revert back to a previous state. Very nice.

Yesterday I got a new drive (WD2500YS) that has a nice 16MB cache on it, and I thought I'd swap in that drive as my boot drive. Normally I'd use SuperDuper! for this but it's not yet fully Leopard-compatible. So I thought, now's the time to do a full restore using Time Machine and see how it goes.

I booted from the Leopard DVD and selected Restore from Time Machine Backup. I was a bit nervous because the "time of last backup" shown by Time Machine was two hours earlier than it should have been, but this turned out to be a time zone issue; all my files were restored, including the ones saved just before I shut the machine down.

It took a while (over an hour) and booted up fine. As I've learned from my attempted Tiger-to-Leopard upgrades (do a clean install!) things are not always running smoothly under the hood. Sure enough, the console greeted me with

11/21/07 8:36:41 AM com.apple.launchd[1] (org.postfix.master) Failed to count the number of files in "/var/spool/postfix/maildrop": No such file or directory

Upon further examination, /var/spool is...empty! Taking a look at my previous drive, there are over 100 entries (some noted here). Why is this? Devin Lane has a nice post listing the exclusions Time Machine makes. Wait, I thought, maybe they are created on demand?

bash-3.2# mail foo@example.com
Subject: Hi

This is a test.
bash-3.2# postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/229433.449: No such file or directory
postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/230063.449: No such file or directory
postdrop: warning: mail_queue_enter: create file maildrop/230821.449: No such file or directory


Conclusion: Time Machine is fine for protecting the mainstream data in your home directory, but is currently not capable of doing a full restore of a boot drive.



Hey, thanks a lot for sharing this. Had the exact same thing happening to me.

If you happen to have some pointers on how to get postfix working again I'd appreciate that a lot ; ).

I did a fresh install of Leopard.

Took me a little, but I finally came across this post.


Essentially running 'sudo /etc/postfix/post-install create-missing' and restarting the system made things work again : ).