Time Machine uses a unique ID (UUID), which is specific to a volume (i.e. a partition of a disk), to associate the volume with its backup. In OS X releases before 10.7 Lion, when people exchanged their disk or migrated to a different Mac, this feature has made it difficult to get Time Machine to continue adding to the backup history of the previously used disk.

In OS X Lion and now also OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, there is a nifty new Terminal command called tmutil, which makes this whole drama a breeze.

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If you clone a volume that you backup with Time Machine, its UUID will change and Time Machine will no longer be able to make backups of it. However, it won’t tell you directly what the problem is. Rather, you will find entries like the following in /var/log/system.log:

	backupd Backup failed with error: 12
	backupd Error (12): Link of previous volume failed for macosx.

If you want to continue to backup to the same volume in your Time Machine backup database, the following script allows you to change the UUID of the existing backups, leading Time Machine to backup as if the volume’s UUID had never changed.

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Simon Heimlicher

In math we trust—everyone else, bring data.

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