Cannot enter Time Machine after upgrading from Snow Leopard

10-11  Source: Network gathering  Views:0 

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Hi all,
I've had Lion installed for a few days now and am enjoying the changes to OSX.
Last night I wanted to delete a few redundant files out of my TimeMachine backup and found I could not open the application at all.
I can still backup to Time Machine successfully (so it indicates with preparing, backing up progress (xGB of yGB), finishing, etc).  So for the last few days everything appeared to be functioning as expected until last night, when I tried to enter Time Machine.
My specs:
iMac (Oct 2010), 4GB, 1TB, 3.6GHz, backing up to a WD My Passport Essential (1TB) via USB 2.0 (25% full)
I can see the destination drive (and its contents) on my desktop, via Finder and can select it via TimeMachine System Preferences (Select drive).  There are no issues 'seeing' or accessing the drive in normal use.
Trying to open the Time Machine application, I have tried via the TimeMachine icon in the TitleBar (ie 'Enter Time Machine'), via Mission Control (double-clicking on Time Machine),  typing 'Time Machine' into Spotlight and selecting it from the resulting list, but  in all scenarios, nothing happens.  Nothing at all.  And yet I can  backup to Time Machine without a hitch.
I have seen a number of online conversations about the AFP spec having been changed by Apple and third party periphial manufacturers being slow to comply, but using USB, I'm not sure this applies to my case?  I have used Macs at home for 8 years and have never heard of AFP until now... So I don't really know if I am impacted by this or not (don't think so).
There have been some troubleshooting solutions involving identifying and deleting the com.apple.timemachine.plist from the Library/Preferences folder (going from memory here) which I did (had to use PathFinder to find the file).
Unfortunately that did not help and Time Machine still refuses to open.  There are no errors appearing as a result of trying to open TimeMachine.  I have checked the Console, but nothing obvious appears there.  I have read others are prompted with an error about AFP, but I get no such error.  I can copy files to the drive okay so I can't see how it is the drive.  Just Time Machine not wanting to play...
Can anyone suggest anything?
I do have Snow Leopard SuperDupered to another 320GB WD drive if I need to go back, but I don't really want to if I can help it...
Thanks,
Alex Makin
Well finally, after 2 days of trying to work out what was the issue, I have resolved the problem.
Its very strange given that I can successfully back up but not restore, as described in my original post.
One thing I neglected to mention was the fact I had set up my Time Machine backup to use 'sparsebundles'.  This allows me to have the external drive plugged into my Airport Extreme and use much like Time Capsule.
It didn't seem relevant at the time since I could backup successfully (and still now, I can't understand why Time Machine knows where to back up to, but doesn't know where to restore from).
I didn't have the Time Machine icon sitting in my dock (never needed to since if I need to restore, I access TM from the TitleBar icon).  So in putting the TM app in the dock I played a little around with it by clicking it (as you would normally for any other app in the dock) and eventually held down the mouse key to bring up the menu.  Tried 'Enter Time Machine' a couple of times without luck, before trying a menu item along the lines of "Try another backup destination' and voila!! Time Machine opens, animated stars, vertical time line, etc.
Well hang on now... Why the heck can't TM have worked this out already?? Why do I need to look somewhere else for my Time Machine backup, when I've already told TM (in System Preferences) where the backup is?
Pretty darn odd, but there you have it.  It was there the whole time, but according to TM, it wasn't...
I still have to select the menu item 'Try another backup destination' each time I want to enter TM, but at least I know where to find it...
I'm assumming its the sparsebundles setting (which I'm sticking with), but at least I know its not my iMac, its not the hard drive, its not Lion (well, it sort of is as Snow Leopard knew where to find it...)
Alex Makin
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