Time Machine - Troubleshooting

E7.  TM won't restore some files: names / capitalization

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You may get this rather cryptic message when attempting to restore selected items, via the "Star Wars" display, per Time Machine FAQ #15

and there's a case-sensitivity conflict:

  1. the backups are on a case-sensitive volume: Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled)

  2. and the destination volume is case-ignorant: Mac OS Extended (Journaled)


This means there's already at least one file of the same name, in the same folder, as the one(s) you're trying to restore, but with different capitalization.

For example, you're trying to restore an earlier version of a file named MYFILE, but the earlier version was named MyFile.


Since the backup
volume is case-sensitive, those names are treated as different files, not different versions of the same file, so Time Machine doesn't allow the usual Keep Original, Keep Both, or Replace options like this:



But, because the destination volume is case-ignorant, both files can't exist in the same folder.

Worse, the message doesn't tell you how many of these problems there are, much less provide any names, as the one about different versions does.  Your only options are to stop the restore entirely, or let it continue to restore only the files that aren't a problem.

If you're not sure what's going on, and the folder isn't too large, one alternative might be to Stop the restore and do it over, but restore to an alternate location (per Time Machine FAQ #16), such as your Desktop, so you can compare the contents and figure out what to do.