Setting up Arq for 2 Macs--restoring files from one Mac to the other
December 28, 2016 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I have two Mac laptops. I like Arq, which I have just started using with Google Drive. I want to set up Arq so that I can restore the files on my first Mac to the drive on my second Mac, or vice versa. This is proving a little complicated for a couple of reasons:

a) I don't know how to access the Google Drive backups except through the Arq agent on my machine. When I log in to the Arq agent, it just displays the backups for the machine I'm on at the moment, not for both machines. I might have set this up wrong--I have a separate Arq account on each machine at the moment. Should I uninstall Arq on one of the machines, and then reinstall it and somehow make sure that the account info is the same on both machines? Will that solve my problem?

b) This is a dumb question, but: the home folder on both machines has the same name because my user name is the same on both machines. I'm afraid that even if somehow I manage to access both folders at the same time I won't be able to tell them apart, and I don't think I can rename my user folder.

I'm beginning the process of getting organized and backing up a lot of data, and I'd like to set this up in a pretty clean and sensible way, but I'm not off to a very good start. I'm not tech literate but I'm competent and willing to take my time, look things up, do things the right way, etc.--I just don't know where to start. Advice appreciated!
posted by lotf629 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hmm. My wife and I have Arq, and they back up to my AWS account as separate vaults. I can see both our computers under "Restore Files," and could easily restore a file from her machine's vault to my computer, if I had her encryption password.

I think Arq uses the same approach when backing up to gDrive, so as long you've set up both computers under the same account, or have added separate accounts under the "Destinations" preferences pane, you should be able to see both vaults.
posted by adamrice at 3:43 PM on December 28, 2016

I can answer some (but not all) of your question. Not sure if renaming your User (aka Home) folder helps with the larger issue, but if it's something you need to do, it's touchy, but possible. I would take this approach:

- Verify you have good current backups
- Create a (temporary) administrator account in System Preferences > Users & Groups and log into it
- Use sudo to rename the home directory of your normal user account
- Go to System Preference > Users & Groups again, and right-click on your normal user account, and choose Advanced Options
- Look for the Home Directory: setting and point it at the newly-renamed directory. Be wary of changing other items on this sheet!
- Log out and back into your normal user account, verify things work. If something's gone awry, restore from backup. If not, delete the temporary administrator account.

Good luck!
posted by churl at 7:40 PM on December 28, 2016

Like adamrice all my Arq backups show up under "restore files", and they also are listed under which machine they belong to so it doesn't matter that my user name is the same on each machine.

I'm not sure what you mean by "a separate Arq account". That may be the problem. I'm not sure there is an "Arq account" and I don't know how deleting Arq would help. I don't know how Google Drive works, but you may want to be on the same account there.
posted by bongo_x at 12:18 AM on December 30, 2016

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