TimeMachine - Restoring Hidden Files

How do you find hidden files to restore in TimeMachine? Easy - see this blog.

Quick and easy one today - how do you restore hidden files using TimeMachine?

I tried to restore a file today in my Library folder, and of course this is by default marked as hidden on OSX Lion/Mountain Lion. You can get to it of course using the ‘Go To Folder’ from the ‘Go’ menu on Finder - path is ~/Library.

Problem is of course is that the path does not show up when you go in to TimeMachine - so how do you restore stuff that’s in there?

After a couple of minutes brain freezing, I realised the issue wasn’t as complex as I imagined. You can simply configure Finder to show hidden files - TimeMachine uses Finder, so do this and your hidden files show up in TimeMachine. Job done.

The simplest way to do this is from Terminal. Start terminal, and enter these commands:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

...then go into TimeMachine and restore what you need.

To return to the previous state of play, where Finder does not show hidden files, enter the following in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
killall Finder

Something small & simple for today, and it’s about all my coded-out brain can cope with.

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