Mac OS X 10.6: Recovering items using Time Machine and Spotlight
If you lose or accidentally delete a file or folder, and you’ve been using Time Machine to back up your computer, you can use Time Machine with Spotlight to recover your missing item.
To recover a file or folder:
Open a Finder window and type a search word or phrase in the search field in the upper-right corner.
Select a location to search in the location bar.
You can search your entire computer (This Mac) or the folder that was selected in the Finder when you started your search. New search results begin to appear after you select a location.
Refine the results by specifying search criteria.
Click the Time Machine icon in the Dock.
If the Time Machine icon isn’t in the Dock, look for Time Machine in the Applications folder.
Use the arrows and the timeline along the right edge of your screen to browse through the Time Machine backups. Your search is performed in every window.
When you find the item you want to restore, select it and then click Restore.
The restored item is returned to its original location. For example, if it is found in the Documents folder, it is returned to the Documents folder. Time Machine may ask if you want to re-create one or more folders in order to return a restored item to its original location.
There are many ways to narrow down and refine a Spotlight search. See the Spotlight topics for more information.