Restoring from a disk image

This article is for an older version of CCC. You can find the latest version here.
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You can access the contents of a disk image the same way that you access other volumes and external hard drives on macOS. Double-click on the disk image file to mount its filesystem, then navigate the filesystem in the Finder to access individual files and folders. If you have the permission to access the files that you would like to restore, simply drag those items to the volume that you would like to restore them to.

Restoring individual items or an entire disk image to another hard drive using CCC

While you cannot boot macOS from a disk image directly, you can restore the disk image to a volume. When you use CCC to restore the disk image to a volume, the resulting restored volume will be bootable (assuming that you had initially backed up a bootable system). To restore files or an entire filesystem from a disk image:

  1. Launch CCC
  2. Select "Restore from disk image..." from the Source selector and locate your backup disk image. CCC will mount the disk image for you.
  3. Choose a volume from the Destination selector. You may choose the startup disk as a destination, but CCC will not permit you to restore system files to the currently-running OS.
  4. If you do not want to restore everything, choose "Selected files..." from the Clone menu (below the Source selector) and deselect any item that you do not wish to restore.
  5. Click the Clone button. The files will be restored to their original locations.

Restoring system files to your startup disk

If you want to restore system files to your startup disk, you must start up your Macintosh from an installation of macOS on another hard drive, such as a bootable backup created by CCC. Once you have booted your Mac from another volume, follow the steps from the previous section.

Restoring system files to your startup disk when you don't have a bootable backup

If you do not have an installation of macOS on another hard drive, you can boot your Mac from your macOS Recovery volume and use Disk Utility to restore the entire disk image:

El Capitan and later

  1. Hold down Command+R while you restart your computer
  2. Choose "Disk Utility" in the Utilities application
  3. Click on the volume you want to restore to in the sidebar
  4. Choose Restore... from the File menu
  5. Click on the Image... button and locate the disk image that you would like to restore
  6. Click the Restore button

Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite

  1. Hold down Command+R while you restart your computer
  2. Choose "Disk Utility" in the Utilities application
  3. From the File menu, choose "Open Disk Image..." and locate the disk image that you would like to restore
  4. In the list in the pane on the left, click on the mounted disk image's volume
  5. Click on the "Restore" tab on the right side of the window
  6. Drag the mounted disk image to the Source field. If the Source field does not accept the dragged volume, right-click on the disk image's mounted volume and choose "Set as source" from the contextual menu.
  7. Drag the hard drive that you would like to restore to into the "Destination" field
  8. Check the box to erase the destination (if present), then click on the Restore button.
  9. Restart your Mac from your newly restored volume, then use CCC to restore the Recovery HD volume from the archive on your startup disk.

Using Migration Assistant to migrate data from a disk image

If you have a clean installation of macOS and simply want to restore your user data from a full-system backup on a disk image, you can use Migration Assistant for this task. Simply mount the disk image, then open Migration Assistant and proceed as directed, using the mounted disk image as the source. Note that Migration Assistant will only accept a disk image that has a full system backup, it will not accept a disk image that has only user data.

Migration Assistant and Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan

On Mavericks through El Capitan, Migration Assistant will ask that you close all applications, and it will then log you out before presenting migration options. This poses a problem for migrating data from a disk image because the disk image will be unmounted when you are logged out, and Migration Assistant doesn't offer any interface to choose a disk image. To work around this problem, you can use our Mount disk image for Migration Assistant application. Simply drag the disk image containing your full system backup onto the application and it will guide you through a fairly simple procedure that will make the disk image available to Migration Assistant after a short delay.

Preliminary tests indicate that this workaround is not required on Sierra.