I Messed Up Big Time Backing Up Some Photos, But Time Machine Saved Me!

Without going into a bunch of boring details, here’s essentially what happened; I imported a folder of images from my Rome workshop trip onto my laptop. At some point, a copied just my Picks over onto an external hard drive — but (and here was my big mistake), I used the same name for both folders. I named both ‘Rome Workshop.’ That wouldn’t usually be a problem, except one folder had all the photos from Rome, and one had just my Picks. You can already see what’s about to happen, but it’s worse than you think. Not only did I later overwrite all the Rome photos with the smaller set of just Picks, I then took that set, and replaced all my backups not realizing I was deleting about 1,000 images.

Last week, when looking for a particular photo from Rome, I noticed that I was missing a TON of photos, and I realized what I had done. I didn’t panic. I went to my backup copy. Same thing there. I went to my third backup. Same thing. Now I’m in a full panic. I went frantically searching through my memory cards, but no luck — My Rome workshop was in September, and so those cards were already. reformatted and overwritten. I was crushed. That 1,000+ shots from Rome, my RAW originals, are gone forever. That’s when I remembered something so wonderful. My laptop backs up every night wirelessly to an Apple Time Capsule (Apple doesn’t sell these anymore, so at some point, I’ll have to replace it, but for now, mine works like a champ). I know, you’re probably thinking, “But won’t that just have the same Rome Workshop folder of picks that would have backed up last night?” Yes, it would. However, here’s what I always felt made Apple’s Time Machine feature so wonderful (and here’s how it saved my butt):

Time Machine Rocks!
My wireless backup uses Apple’s wonderful Time Machine technology, where you can literally go back in time (in my case, all the way back to April 2018) and look at every backup copy it’s made of your computer or laptop, even if they were made months ago.


I simply entered Time Capsule (seen above); I scrolled back to a date in September of this year, soon after the workshop, and it displayed exactly how my laptop looked like back then, on that day in December, when it automatically backed up my laptop. Sure enough — there was the original folder with all my images from Rome. I just clicked on it; choose Restore, and in just a few minutes all my overwritten images were back. Whew! That was a close one. That’s the 2nd time that’s happened to me over the years, but that two times too many. Thankfully, both had a happy ending because both times Time Capsule saved the day.

Thank you, Apple
I know I’m sometimes complaining about Apple decisions, but giving me a wireless backup with the ability to jump back in time, is a wonderful thing, and I’m very grateful indeed.

Hope that inspires you to take good care of managing your backups, and if you’re a Mac user and you’re not using Apple’s Time Machine, maybe it’s a good time to give it look.

Have a great Holiday weekend, everybody. I’m going to be pretty much taking the holidays off to spend time with family, so here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas, and may your New Year be filled with joy, good health, and prosperity, surrounded by those you love.

Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes!


  1. I use both PC and MAC systems in the area that you explained, copying folders around, it the one area where the PC system smashes the MAC. The PC system gives you the option of simply adding the new content from the folder to the backup folder. I’m always clenching when copying folders around using a mac

  2. I had something similar happen to me recently. I needed to restore some photos that were accidentally deleted by something I did. However, I then discovered that Time Machine was NOT backing up my photos drive, and hadn’t been for months! Somehow the external photos had been put on the exclude list. Fortunately I also use Backblaze, and it did back up my photos drive, so I was able to restore from it. I corrected the Time Machine backup problem, and it is now backing up everything like it should.

    The moral of the story is check your backups every once in a while to make sure you’re backing up everything you want backed up.

  3. Had a MacBook hard drive physically fail once. The back up saved my bacon. When I replaced the drive the name on it was IBM. I shake it at my students urging them to backup as they hear the rattle in the drive.

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