SOLVED External HD Search

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I have a LaCie external HD to hold regular backups of my system. However, in the last six months, every time I back up it appears to have gone okay, except once I start to get reminders to back up again, it says something like, ‘the recent backup did not complete because your device was not connected to a power source’, even although I know it was.

Today, I tried to access my last backup in December so I could see an email I have since deleted. I open LaCie, select the previous backup and Macintosh HD. If I then go into Applications, the Mail app isn’t there. Where am I supposed to find emails?
 
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Hi Andrea,

There are 2 issues here.

First, in the newer versions of macOS your hard drive is split into mulltiple volumes, and when you do a normal backup with most software you are only backing up your data partition. The Mail app is part of the system partition.

2nd, If you did a cloned backup with all of the volumes, you wouldn't just be able to just launch the mail.app from the backup drive and see your old mail. You would need to boot from the backup, disconnect from your network and then launch the mail.app. Then if the email was on your Mac when it backed up then you would be able to read it.
 
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I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond but I didn't seem to see any notification of a reply.

Thanks for your explanation. I should have known it wasn't as simple as I'd hoped it would be! 😄
 
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I have a LaCie external HD to hold regular backups of my system. However, in the last six months, every time I back up it appears to have gone okay, except once I start to get reminders to back up again, it says something like, ‘the recent backup did not complete because your device was not connected to a power source’, even although I know it was.

Today, I tried to access my last backup in December so I could see an email I have since deleted. I open LaCie, select the previous backup and Macintosh HD. If I then go into Applications, the Mail app isn’t there. Where am I supposed to find emails?
It seems the issue might be separate data/system partitions in your Mac.
Here's what you can do:
For incomplete backups:
  • Try backup software like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper, designed for both types of partitions.
  • Double-check your LaCie drive power settings to avoid sleep/power down during backups.
  • Open the backup disk image and confirm all files are present, don't rely solely on notifications.
For accessing specific emails:
  • You might need to extract them with your backup software or use Time Machine's "Enter Time Machine" feature.
  • Booting from the backup drive is risky, so consider professional help if unsure.
Remember: Cloud backups offer convenient access and avoid booting risks.
 

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