My macbook pro died this week. Turns out my logic board went caput, so they had to put in a new one. In the interim, I had a spare I could use, but first I had to do a full system restore from my backup on our Time Capsule.

We have our time capsule setup for secure shared disks with accounts so that each user has their own password protected private share so that no other user can snoop on their backup.

Unfortunately, the Full System Restore available when booting the Leopard DVD failed to see my backup even though I used my private time capsule account credentials when connecting to it. All I could see were other backups that were available on the public share, leading me to believe that my credentials were working to mount the image, but the restore app wasn't smart enough to mount my private mount point instead of (or in addition to) the public one. I tried calling apple support, and after escalating the issue, all they could suggest was to copy my backup from the private share to the public one. Needless to say, it takes a really long time to a couple of hundred GB even when connected directly to the time capsule using an ethernet cable.

Fortunately, when booting from the Leopard DVD, one also has access to a Terminal. By manually mounting the private share from Terminal, the full system restore UI was then able to see my private share and the restore was able to take place.

To Summarize, Boot from the Leopard DVD, select Utilities->Terminal, then use the mount command to mount your private time capsule share. In my case, my username and share are named the same - mconway - I think this is just the way time capsule works, so the pattern should be the same for you. Also, I had to add the .local to the end of the time capsule's name for the mount to work.

# Create directory to mount to
mkdir -p /Volumes/mconway
# Do the mount
mount -t afp 'afp://mconway:mypassword@my-time-capsule-name.local/mconway' /Volumes/mconway

Once mounted, you can verify with a "ls /Volumes/mconway" and you should see the sparseimage for your backup. Quit Terminal, go to Utilities->Full System Restore, and your backup should be visible, though you might have to lead the UI through the hoops by connecting to your time capsule and typing in your credentials again.

Hopefully this will save someone else the hours of grief I was faced with.