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Summary:

Back In October ’09 I wrote an article about a disturbing failure-rate in Apple’s Time Capsules that was starting to gain some attention in the press. An apparent design flaw in the device was causing some units to die after about 12-18 months in operation. Reports […]

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Back In October ’09 I wrote an article about a disturbing failure-rate in Apple’s Time Capsules that was starting to gain some attention in the press. An apparent design flaw in the device was causing some units to die after about 12-18 months in operation. Reports on the Apple discussion forum at that time suggested the same flaw also affected Apple’s Airport Extreme, a device that shares an almost identical form factor.

In what would prove disastrously precognitive, I wrote:

Imagine, then, the pain when a well-used Time Capsule croaks, taking up to 18 months’ worth of incremental backups with it. I don’t mind admitting that the thought of it strikes fear into my heart. I use two Time Capsules every hour of every day.

I can’t help thinking that I don’t own two Time Capsules; I own two ticking Time bombs.

Fast forward to early last week when my Mac Pro’s 1TB Time Capsule breathed its last and died a sudden — if not entirely unexpected — death.

I called Apple Support and the guy on the other end of the phone asked me for the TC’s serial number. A moment later he confirmed Apple was aware of “a fault” with that model and offered to replace it for free. So far so good.

The process was explained to me; I would receive the replacement TC in a few days, whereupon I had to return the dead TC to Apple. Immediately alarm bells rang in my brain.

“But what about my stuff?” I asked. There was a year’s worth of data stuck on that thing. Finances, contacts, personal and shared calendars, photographs, email… I didn’t relish the thought of sending all of that data to someone I didn’t know. Not even if it was an Apple technician.

“Don’t worry, we will wipe the drive thoroughly for you,” offered the support guy, “It’s safe with us.”

No it isn’t, I worried. “Can’t I just remove the drive and wipe the data? I’ll put it back if necessary, only, I’m concerned about–”

“No. You must not open the unit. If you do, you will void the warranty.”

“It’s already out of warranty,” I replied as politely as possible, not wanting to sound like a jerk. “You’re replacing it because of a design flaw, right?”

The Apple Support guy wouldn’t budge. “If you open the case we will charge you the full price of a new Time Capsule.”

The bottom line; Apple forbade me from retrieving my data from their Time Capsule. Doing so would somehow make me responsible for its death, even though they admitted the product was already faulty.

Now, I understand Apple wanting to retrieve faulty gear for study. Doing so helps them improve their products. But this isn’t a broken mouse or keyboard. This is a device that stores a lot of valuable personal information. In this instance, shouldn’t Apple exercise a higher degree of flexibility and sensitivity to customers?

I know what you’re thinking; maybe they’d wipe it right before my eyes at the Apple Store? So I asked. He replied, “No. They’ll give you a replacement but they will send the faulty device back to us for wiping.”

So, either way, I get a replacement Time Capsule… but I have to surrender my personal data to Apple.

Trust

Apple sells a Time Capsule as part of a complete backup solution. Time Machine + Time Capsule = Backup. Right? The Time Capsule website even proclaims, “…you never have to worry about losing your important files.” I guess the small print needs to add “…except when you’re handing all your data to us.”

Apple's bold promise on their Time Capsule website

What’s more, in the days it took for the replacement to arrive, I had no satisfactory backup solution. Of course, it’s not Apple’s responsibility to ensure I always have a complete and reliable backup strategy in place, but it sure felt like Apple had let me down. (Yes, now I’m just ranting.)

Thankfully, Apple is doing the right thing by replacing (most) affected units, even if they’re out of warranty and not covered by AppleCare. Yet I can’t help feel that there’s more they could have done; starting with permitting me to take responsibility for my own data, rather than threatening me with a hefty charge to my credit card if I did so.

Apple normally pays close attention to the little details other companies miss, but here it feels like they failed to appreciate the single biggest issue – the proper handling of customer’s valuable personal data. If they had paid closer, more careful attention to that detail, I might not feel so indignant today… and I might still be recommending the Time Capsule to my friends. As it stands, the Time Machine + Time Capsule solution is great when it works. But if it breaks, customers may have to face zero backup functionality and a worrying lack of perspective from Apple when it comes to allowing them to take steps to secure their personal data.

Am I overreacting? Should I simply trust Apple with all my personal files, no questions asked? Leave a comment below to tell me I’m a shameless drama queen and how, like you, I should be using an offsite RAID array if I’m serious about backup.

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  1. Great post, Liam. Any chance you could do us a favor and post the model number of your old TC, or give us some other way to compare ours against yours and see if we’re headed for the same headache? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Skeptic:

      I did a scan of the “Time Capsule Memorial Register” with includes serial numbers, purchase and death dates, and it appears that the range for the 12-18 month lifespan from manufacturing defect are serial numbers 6F807xxxxxx through 6F852xxxxxx. There are failures for higher, more recent numbers, but they are far rarer, and fail far more quickly, in the ballpark of a 2-4 weeks, which suggests a different set of problems and during which you’d be under warranty or Applecare. You’re probably OK if you’re out of the above range. Hope that helps.

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  2. If you open it up and fiddle, it would make finding the problem difficult, and the results ubreliable. You could also just feel like a brand new TC, so just open yours up and fiddle, then shout that it had died of it’s own accord.

    Just because they have you’re info doesn’t mean a sneaky man WILL steal your data. It’s just a small possibility. At the end of the day it’s just about making sure the failure testing is accurate and reliable

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  3. I have a TC and am just waiting for that day to come. I have had the same sort of issues with commercial backup and SAN solutions. Our fix has been to eat the cost if the data or regulations prohibit sending off the data. I would say the same personally. If your data is that important and you don’t trust Apple (which I understand not trusting anyone with your data), then the only real solution is to just buy a new TC. That stinks, but you know you have your data. I guess from Apple’s perspective, they can’t determine that you opening the case didn’t case an issue.

    In any event, I understand your side. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I had the exact same thing happen. Mine happened to be under Applecare, so no worries. I did worry, however, about my data. I ended up surrendering it just like you will but it still bothered me.

    I registered my 1 TB Time Capsule at http://timecapsuledead.org/

    Not sure if it’s still around but it showed a definite pattern of about 17 months being a failure point.

    Mikey

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  5. You have the same problem with a computer. If the computer breaks, the hard drive contains all this personal information. I have always had great misgivings about giving all the information to unknown persons – trusted or not. And in fixing the computer, it may not be determined ahead of time what is needed to do the fix…hard drive?….motherboard? – all with unclear disposition of your personal data.

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  6. You could always irradiate it with a powerful magnet to kill the data. And that doesn’t require opening the TC up…

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    1. Jakob Kiel-Locey Wednesday, February 24, 2010

      Awesome idea.

      Share
  7. Hi Skeptic, thanks for commenting.

    My Time Capsule serial number was 6F8111BDYZR.

    I’m not sure how helpful that will be, since the replacement from Apple also begins with the same digits!

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  8. I would just open it anyway, ideally with an independent witness or capture the whole process on video so you can prove that you did nothing wrong, just in case they try to blame you or charge for the replacement.

    As I don’t own a TimeCapsule I have no idea if there is any tamper proof seal in or on it…

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    1. That is very bad advice. Opening the device clearly voids the warranty from a legal perspective. Having a video of you doing proves you violated the warranty and give apple sure proof they don’t need to refund your money. The strong magnet idea is much better.

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  9. I have a time machine PLUS an excellent $5/mth backblaze.com complete automatic off-site backup. Cheaper than 1 HDD/yr. w00t!

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    1. Well, now, that’s just essentially asking folks to go through your personal files. And you’re paying them to do so…

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  10. My time capsule also died after 18 months. Managed to take off the rubber bottom by using a hair dryer to warm the glue (as posted on other sites). Copied the data to another HDD and then wiped it the TC.

    When I took it into Apple, they looked at the serial and then quickly offered me a replacement. My serial # started with “6F” just like all the other dead ones on http://timecapsuledead.org/.

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    1. Andrew – how did you copy your data? I keep getting an alias no found kind of error – I got a docking station, it shows I have data on there, in the right amount of gb used that I recall, but can’t seem to be able to access it. can you help? I’m getting a free one tomorrow – FedEx says so – :)

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      1. Got it all copied – copy and paste. All is good, new one arrived, I put the old one back together and it is on the way back to Apple. Thanks for this blog! Helped a lot.

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  11. No.to.Apple.Time.Capsule Monday, January 25, 2010

    you should just buy a new Apple Time Capsule if your data is really that important to you and if having an Apple Time Capsule is what you want.
    or you should have bought a regular external harddrive and just use time machine, or Carbon Copy, or Super Duper. at least if it’s a non-Apple drive, then i can open it up myself to try to get at my data myself without worrying about some damn Apple warranty. and i could at least replace the drive myself and that’s easy to do. the Apple Time Capsule is too expensive as a ripoff both in terms of money and data.

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  12. While it is a small chance that anything would happen to your data your concern is certainly warranted. It’s the kind of thing you think is not a big deal until you actually get your identity stolen and who wants to know that they could have prevented that from happening and chose not to.

    I remember when I was looking for a backup solution I considered a Time Capsule but all the reviews were really iffy. I opted for a Netgear ReadyNAS Duo and am glad I did. I can store my media on my local network to be shared between devices (laptop, desktop, Xbox), have configured my computer to use Time Machine to make backups to it (not hard at all), and I even have backups of my backups in case the drive fails(due to the NAS’s RAID setup). Best thing is you can buy and install your own hard drives so you can find more reliable and faster drives than those in the Time Capsule. Oh yeah and it comes with its own BitTorrent client so you don’t have to bog down your computer’s processor with downloading. Great device and no regrets at all.

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  13. Big magnet – put a guitar speaker magnet on it for a wile, that’ll fry any disc inside reducing all the data to chaos.

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  14. Mine blew its filesystem a couple of weeks ago, aged ~6 months. Since mine was a courtesy box after having 7 (count ‘em!) MacBook Pro drives fail in approx. 6 months, I didn’t care too much about the warranty.

    Popped it open, plugged the drive into an external case, and tried to fix it with Disk Utility and Drive Genius 2. Nope, the data partition was completely ruined somehow.

    Reformatted the data partition and put it back in the Time Capsule. All appears to be well, but I’m definitely not keeping anything on there that isn’t backed up somewhere else.

    It’s pretty wrong that I need to go out and buy an extra external drive to back up my “server-class” backup solution.

    - chrish

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  15. So you received new TC even with warranty expired? mine is still working, but its on month 13, so in few months could be dead. don’t have applecare on it :(

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    1. Although I do have AppleCare it wasn’t necessary, since Apple admitted they are aware of a fault with some of the TC’s. As soon as they found that my unit was one of the “affected”, they offered a free replacement.

      From what I gather the problem is not with the HDD itself but rather with the power capacitors int he device overheating and burning-out. This means my data is all there and plugging the drive directly into, say, a spare HDD bay on my Mac Pro would have been easy.

      But Apple had other plans for me… ;-)

      Share
  16. In some international retail stores, repairs are done in-store, and Apple store employees have the tools to do so. Perhaps you could check if an Apple store nearby is willing to wipe the drive under your supervision? And perhaps that won’t void your warranty?

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  17. If you want wireless backups, having an Airport Extreme and your **OWN** external USB drives would seem to be the best solutions. All of our data would remain under your control. If a drive, or an enclosure failed, you could easily replace either one.

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  18. When my 1TB Time Capsule died (failed to power on, seems like the most common problem) I took it to the Genius Bar and they told me that if I could somehow access the drive inside to wipe the data and put everything back together without them knowing I’d taken it apart they’d give me a replacement (covered under the Apple Care on my MacBook). Thanks to Google and a heat gun I was able to pull out the 1TB drive, get my stuff off, wipe the drive and reassemble. I have the replacement Time Capsule, but I still feel like I’m living on borrowed time. If this one dies I’m going to take the drive out and hook it up to an Airport Extreme.

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  19. Same experience for me. My TC croaked after 14 months. Called Apple and they said they’d replace it for free by sending a replacement and requiring I send the old one back. I too worried about my data, as it had 2 machines backed up on it, including financial/tax data. Got the new one the next day, and backed up both machines. After 3 days, it too died and I went through the whole process again. Feeling REALLY vulnerable here as they now have all my data on 2 TC’s. I’m sure this too will die in 12-18 months.

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  20. I think the TC should have a ‘safe erase’ option like iPhone, controlled by the customer. But may be little more sophisticated.

    Assuming its only an hardware issue, they should be able to figure it out in the QC, after product gets back.

    If its a combo of software + (stored) file related + hardware, this safe erase option could anonymize the data and in turn erase a major portion of it and then the end-customer feels comfortable to hand over the hardware, even though they still loose data.

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  21. Philip Bergen Monday, January 25, 2010

    My 1TB TC died after 19 months. Just like every other device on the Time Capsule Memorial.
    I went to my dealer and they sent it away for repairs (in Denmark we have 24 months of repairs warranty if the unit fails because of a flaw that was in it at purchase). The clowns at http://www.elektronikcentret.dk/ took 14 days and then offered to repair it for me at the cost of 3424 DKK (~$650). This is roughly $5 MORE than a brand new dual antenna 2TB top of the line!
    I refused their generous offer. Once returned I took it apart. The error was a simple leaking capacitor in the power supply. Clearly should have been covered by the warranty. Also should clearly not cost $650!! They could have charged me $25 for a new power supply and I would have taken that deal. It would take them less than 15 minutes to swap power supply and we would all be happy.
    I love Apple’s products, but their post-purchase support is the worst in the world. The amount of crap they make us eat is unbelievable. Makes me crave for a proper hackintosh.
    Every single unit I have purchased from Apple the last three years have failed before 24 months (4 laptops, 1 iMac, 1 TC), some of it Apple repaired as they should. But not all. It used to be different, I think they press their suppliers too hard.

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  22. I use the Time machine backup in manual mode daily by turning automatic backups off, but backing up when not otherwise using my machines.
    I also keep all confidential data in encrypted sparse bundle disk images with a strong password. The data will get backed up incrementally but will not be readable to anyone without the password.
    This is the same concern for the internal drives in a Mac mini or which can be a bit of a pain to get at, so if it has to go back under Apple care, no worries, because confidential data is encrypted.

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    1. Joe Chiarelli Monday, January 25, 2010

      I follow your same method. Safe and secure.

      I used an app called Knox to manage the sparse images..

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    2. “I also keep all confidential data in encrypted sparse bundle disk images with a strong password.”

      This sounds like a fantastic idea. Can you point me in the direction of how to do this?

      Share
  23. I had a similar problem now in December. I purchased a MacBook Pro in September and on Dec 22 my HD just went bust, bailed out on me during the finals of my Masters. Since it was still under warranty, I took it to Apple’s Authorized Service, where they told me the HD had to be replaced and assured me (twice!), after I asked, that the defective one would be returned to me, so I could try to recover my data. To my surprise, when I came back now in January to pick up my MacBook, my old HD didn’t come along. When I asked where it was, I got the disdainful response that Apple replaced it and kept it, that it couldn’t give it back to me, and that they never told me they would do so. On top of that, they said that if I wanted to recover my data, I had to have asked them for their services, which cost (!!!) over 1,000 Euros. I’m kinda just accepting the fact that I lost everything, because filing suit against them would really be a pain in the *ss…

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    1. Aw, that’s sad to hear: I’m sorry for your loss.

      At least this’ll make you keep backups from now on
      =)

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  24. I just wanted to say that the phrase “tell me I’m a shameless drama queen” made me actually laugh out loud. And thanks for the link about the dead Time Capsule registry, it was interesting.

    Perhaps a blend of two different backup options would be good – one external hard drive as a Time Machine volume, and for critital data, offsite backups with CrashPlan or a service like Backblaze. (I cannot recommend Mozy at all after having nothing but problems with them before)

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  25. Your concern is the same as those who send their laptop in for AppleCare. The solution is very simple either trust them or don’t ever exercise the warranty.

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  26. Joe Chiarelli Monday, January 25, 2010

    As sad as this sounds, all critical ( security wise) data should be stored in encrypted sparse images IMHO.

    I had a similar issue when my drive had issues on my iMac. They gladly fixed the issue, but wanted to keep the drive automatically.

    I told them i had confidential corporate files on the drive and requested to purchase the drive or be given it to be borrowed for a week to securely wipe the data.

    Luckly i got the second choice and was told i could keep the old drive.

    Now all my stuff that i dont want people to read are stored in encryted sparse images.

    I treat everything like its on a laptop. If someone steals it, the hardware is replacible but the data isnt.

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  27. yikes. I just got mine and have never heard of them dying so fast. is there a place on apple.com to check to see if mine is in the list of bad TCs?

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  28. Having read all the TC problems reported over the past year, why on Earth would you not buy something reliable like a OWC Ministack V3 with Superduper to do backups. It’s beautifully reliable and about 40% less !

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  29. I think the main reason Apple asks for you to not mess with it is because of accounting purposes.

    If you open it up and they still give you a new free one, they can’t write it off as a loss, because they can’t confirm whether you broke it or they made it poorly.

    When it comes back unopened, they can write off that freebie as a loss because they can show that they made the manufacturing error that led to the loss.

    Either way it sucks to send in your data, but I did it too and am once again enjoying my Time Capsule.

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  30. Same here. Only I threw a big stink (politely) about how they stuck me, because they made no USB port to access the data directly. I couldn’t open the TC without breaking my warranty and I needed my data. I had a VERY sympathetic AC rep. After a week of going back and forth she sent me out a new TC without expecting my old one. I was then able to send off the old TC and recover my data. It cost me more than a new TC but it wasn’t recovery plus a TC.

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  31. My TC died last month after 16 months. Apple replaced free (even though it was out of warranty and I had no applecare for it), but wouldn’t try to recover the data. They didn’t seem surprised; I bet they’ve seen this before.
    Earlier, about 6 months after I got it, the TC stopped backing up, for some reason, and the genius had to wipe the hard drive to get it working againg. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but in both cases, the problems occurred within a day or after the TC did full restore, the first time after my MacBook hard drive died, the second after my MacBook was stolen and I used TC to restore the data on to my new one. I wonder if all the cranking required to do a full restore (which took several hours) fatally overheated it?
    I’d heard about the overheating problems so I’ve kept the TC on one of those grill-like kitchen trivets that allows air to get under it and keeps it cooler, but I guess that didn’t help.
    Anyway, I’m grateful TC saved my data twice, but the bottom line is, don’t count on it to store irreplaceable data. Keep a second backup. I have Dropbox now and that’s enough for my documents, at least. I guess in about June of next year, I should get ready for the same procedure.

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  32. why not take the thing to an apple store and ask to have a tech guy there wipe the hd while you are present?

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  33. Another great post on TAB. This is nothing new with Apple. I’m not surprised at all. This is why so many “hackers” use PCs. I’ve had so many techie server admins go bananas and want to play with my macbook when I’d go to client sites to do server work. They went gaga over it but most couldn’t deal with Apple’s control.

    Example, the macbook air, mac mini and some early Powerbook / macbook models had hard drives that you couldn’t get to. Removing them would void the warranty. Yes it’s BS but that’s what you pay for. An experience and apple wants to hold your hand through all of it. You do understand that so little Mac users have those kind of skills. (TAB readers excluded)

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  34. The same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. However, the solution to your problem is very simply. I made an appointment at my local apple store after I received the new TC. I took both in and the Apple Genius took the old dead TC and removed the hard drive. He then gave me my 500GB hard drive made the notes to the file and I mailed the old TC without 500 GB hard drive back to Apple. I was not charged anything. Not only did I get a new TC I got an extra 500 GB hard drive. Apple treated me very well and that is a big part of why I continue to do business with them.

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  35. As much as I like the Time Capsule form factor, I keep router and drives separate for this reason. In my case it’s Airport Extreme and a separate dual-bay enclosure with an over-engineered heat sink to keep drives running cool.

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  36. So glad I didn’t bother with the TC and just stuck with an AEBS connected to an external HD via USB – the Time Machine experience is exactly the same as if I had a TC and I control my data!

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  37. Jeffrey Potter Monday, January 25, 2010

    TimeMachine & Drobo looks like the sweet spot to me.
    http://www.drobo.com/

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  38. I am so sick of people expecting “server grade” to mean it doesn’t fail, and if it does, I get to keep the hardware and get a replacement under warrantee. I worked for a DoD contractor for a while as a UNIX admin, and when our actual server grade hardware died, we still had to pay a premium on top of normal warrantee and support costs to hold onto any dead hardware that had sensitive data on it.

    The Time Capsule is a great idea, but if you’re going to be backing up data that you don’t trust anyone else with, you have to buy whole new one should it die, even if it’s still under warrantee. That’s just the nature of warrantee replacements. This is exactly why I use an external drive, hooked up to an old G4 Mac mini as my Time Machine drive. That way, if some piece dies, I just replace it. And if that piece happens to be the drive itself, I can just destroy it, and eat the cost of a new one.

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  39. I thought I’d share my experience. Pretty much bang on 18 months my Time Capsule died. Usual symptoms, no power at all. Completely dead.

    I rang support and they agreed to replace it out of warranty. I asked the first line guy whether I could take the disk out, and he said yes. Asked the second line guy and they said no. But I arranged to take it into the local store (Bristol, UK). I asked the genius there and he said it was fine to take the disk out. What’s more, he gave me advice on how to do it and even said that he’d done it for customers in the past who had the same problem. So I took the disk out, copied the data to a FireWire drive, got a new TC for free, copied the old TC sparseimage file onto the new TC and my Mac carried on backing up as if nothing had happened.

    Apart from the initial contradiction, they couldn’t have dealt with it any better. The genius in the store even said that they expect people to do this because of the nature of the device.

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  40. [...] Apple to Time Capsule Customers: All Your Files Are Belong to Us Back In October ‘09 I wrote an article about a disturbing failure-rate in Apple’s Time Capsules that was [...] [...]

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  41. So not exactly a TC, but my iMac had a hard drive failure. Was replaced at a an Apple store. And they indeed did give me back the old drive which I still have after I explained my concern. Sometimes it just depends on the customer service rep.

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  42. Are you kidding me. They are most likely refurbishing them and then sending them out as replacements for failed ones. They just don’t want end users to damage a dead one so they can recycle it to owners of other dead ones.

    I own two three Airport Extremes and one Express. They have given me great service. However the original Graphite had to be replaced by Apple. Of course there was no data to worry about.

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  43. Would using FileVault solve this problem for the most part? TC croaks, but your home folder is encrypted anyway, so no worries?

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  44. If you use filevault, your local home drive is encrypted, and the timemachine backups are encrypted copies of that encrypted file system. To restore or get the data back you need the user encryption key or password.
    If you have anything really senstive, this is the safest way to sotre it. I myself use trucrypt, but that is only because I open that archive from multiple machines and OS’s, the only downside is that backups of that file are the whole archive, every time. For that reason it is excluded from my timemachine, and just copied with an rsync script at 11:00pm at night. I also backup my linux server that way to my timemachine disk. But due to the cost of a casule, and the fact I already had a full l wifi network setup before I got my mac, I just couldn’t justify the cost. I just use a firewire connected 1TB drive instead.

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  45. I use a Drobo hooked up to a Mac Mini Server. Time Machine works well in that configuration (unlike with a Droboshare) and any HDD failures are looked after by Drobo.

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  46. I think the answer is pretty clear. Chances are, if you buy a TC, it’s going to die sometime before a year and a half and you’re unlikely to get your data back (I know there are exceptions, but that seems to be pretty much the rule).

    So:
    i). If that’s a problem, then get a local external drive, stick it on your router if your router has a USB port (some do and support external drives), or on an old machine running quietly out of the way somewhere but available on the network or just take the hit and plug it in every night or something. Use Time Machine cos it’s easy, or do a bit of research. CCC, SuperDuper, Chronosync are all good options. Oh, and back it up online too – Diino, Dropbox, Crashplan are all options.

    ii). If it’s not a problem, get a TC, job done.

    As we all know (or should do), for god’s sake, back up, back up, back up cos losing all your company’s financial history or the picture of your daughter the day she was born is really not funny.

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  47. Exactly the same thing happened to us, and we got more or less the same answers as well. I’ve switched to crashplan now. I will not trust the Time Capsule ever again.

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  48. Is there a problem with using one of the many software scrubbers to clean the HD? It’s what I’ve done when selling, giving away or trading in an old computer.

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    1. If the drive is functional, a good drive scrubber should be fine. Heck, if I remember right, DoD standard is only 7 random overwrites. The problem comes in when the drive fails, and short of a clean room environment, you can’t get at the data anymore.

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  49. I had been hearing about the fatal 18-month killswitch since purchasing my time capsule and I too knew the day would come. I didn’t expect the day to be New Years. At 3am the entire time capsule just shut down and in essence became a paper weight. After doing some research online, I came across a post on apples support pages saying if you have an AppleCare on your laptop it will cover your time capsule. I thought to myself, there was no way in hell that’s possilbe. So I called the local apple store and asked one of the employees. Turns out it does cover the time capsule. So I just took my first gen to the applestore, gave them my serial number of my laptop and they pulled up the applecare and within 15mins I had successfully switch from a first gen time capsule, to a brand new 2nd gen time capsule without having to pay anything. I also was told to call applecare and give them the new serial number and it would still be covered. I was shocked, but left super happy.

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  50. do you recommend tc

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  51. This happened to me too after owning one for 18 months….everything gone and I was told I had to send it back to Apple and they’ll give me a new one. Doesn’t do me any good – whats the point in “backing up” when
    you know it will die again.

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    1. Everything actually isn’t gone. It’s the power supply that is dead but your info is still intact. This happened to me last week, I dissected it and got the hard drive out to get my info out then put it back together again and erased the drive before sending it to Apple in exchange for the new free replacement they sent out. If you can’t extract the info yourself, you can find a geek to do it for you. I used this link to get it opened and identify what I had to do. Forget the downgrade part, but you can see what you have to do and how to do it.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/24254876@N03/sets/72157604011791554/

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  52. I found this thread after my TC died. I bounced over to the site mentioned: http://www.timecapsuledead.org – average life span is 19 months 20 days, the EXACT time mine lasted!

    I have to say that despite losing my data, I was impressed to hear that Apple would replace it for free (although now I’ve found this site I can kinda see why). The data on my TC is password protected I think – I guess that won’t stop someone snooping around though if they wanted to, however, when prompted, the guy on the phone told me my Time Capsule would be “destroyed” when returned.

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