Restoring an encrypted Time Machine backup from Synology

I recently replaced my Macbook Pro (early 2015) with a newer model. As I make use of Time Machine for making encrypted backups on my Synology NAS I thought it would be a great opportunity to actually test my backups as a non tested backup is no backup at all (Schrodinger’s backup).

During the initial setup of my new Macbook however, I ran into a problem. The migration assistant found my NAS, I was able to connect to it and see the backups but at the same time I got the following message: “No volumes found in backup”. My heart dropped a little but thought some one else must have had the same experience so I started to look for answers online.

Searching for just the message “No volumes found in backup” returned some results but none were actually solutions for the problem I was having. That changed when I added “Synology” as a search term as that search led me to the Synology community forum and more specifically to a post describing just what I was experiencing.

In short, to restore from an encrypted Time Machine backup with Synology:

  1. Set up the Macbook as a new Macbook when asked by the Migration Assistant (do not transfer any information at this time)
  2. After setting up the Macbook, connect to the Synology NAS and access the shared folder where your Time Machine backups reside
  3. Double click (mount) the Time Machine backup from which you want to restore, you will need to enter your key
  4. After the backup is mounted, start the Migration Assistant
  5. Instruct the Migration Assistant to use your mounted backup

The restore / migration took several hours but was successful in the end, I am now typing this blogpost on my new Macbook!

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