Copying Single File From One Mac To Another Using Time Machine Drive


I have a problem with my desktop Mac, currently completely preventing its use.
Can I plug in my Time Machine external HD from that Mac into a MacBook Pro to manually copy a file or two to work on while the problem is hopefully fixed – without the MBP thinking the TM disk should be used for its own backups, and without having to use things like Migration Assistant?
I'm assuming yes, but don't want to do anything that might affect my valuable backups.

Since no one has replied, let me see if I can help. To begin with I do not use Time Machine since I use a different cloning program. That noted, as far as I know, all a TM drive is is a copy of "you."

You should be able to hook it up to another Mac as if it is what it is: an external hard drive.

So, for example, I can hook up my clone and copy over individual files and "stuff."

What you may wish to do--this may not be necessary--is shut off Time Machine on your MacBook Pro. Usually, when you hook up an Ex-HD your Mac will ask you if you want to make it a TM target. Obviously, click "no!" If your MacBook Pro is not set up to make TM backups, then your TM Ext-HD should just be another Ex-HD connected to your computer. So you should be able to copy the files you need.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for your reply. The situation is probably as I had suspected then.
Yes, I used to use Carbon Copy Cloner, which always seemed good. I believe I used it previously to clone an entire drive onto a new one successfully, at least, although I'm sure you can do that using TM and Migration Assistant.
Meanwhile I have high hopes my desktop Mac will be up and running again very soon.
Thanks again
Carbon Copy Cloner is well regarded. The thing is, years ago, Time Machine would not make a bootable clone for some reason. So if you had a MacBook of any type, and your Int-HD decided to die unceremoniously, you could not boot your computer off of Time Machine. Also, CCC and SuperDuper! at the time did a better job of copying everything.

This has, I believe, changed: you can boot off of a Time Machine clone. Sort of the point, when you think of it! I think, back then, when we had to walk uphill both ways and listen to cassette tapes, the idea was your volume was frelled, but your Int-HD was fine so you just needed to boot and connect to a TM and fix yourself.

Or, if your Int-HD had indeed "joined the Choir Invisible," you just needed to boot off your Installation Disk.

Remember them?

ANYWAYS, you should be able to access the data from a TM or CCC clone. In fact, as I bloviate, my "clone" is attached to my Macbook and I can "see" and use any file on it.

Yes, I do remember installation disks.

And some of my cassettes from the 80s onwards still sounded great when I played them recently! Perhaps I'll dust down the old Mac SE in the roof and see if that still boots on System 7 one of these days!

Thanks for your bloviations: useful.