Blog Post

Time Machine isn’t perfect

One of the most highly touted features new to Leopard is Time Machine, the “always on” backup system that takes the effort and guesswork out of backing up important data. But, to the chagrin of many (or at least myself), Time Machine does not backup to AirDisks. I have not personally tried it, but when I was installing Leopard yesterday, I had the option to migrate data from a Time Machine backup stored on an AirDisk. So if Time Machine supports restore from AirDisk, why is backup to AirDisk unsupported?

15 Responses to “Time Machine isn’t perfect”

  1. I have a small network of several computers, some are PC’s one them being my mac w/leopard. I want to backup the external shared network hard drive, which is mounted on my mac desktop, with Time Machine. But it will not do it. How can I command Time Machine to backup the external network drive or files in it? As it is, Time Machine only sees the mac HD. Help. Time Machine looks like a great way to backup our small business shared hard drive!

  2. it worked in the beta (did it myself), but for some reason they have blocked it in the retail version. You can hack past it though, just google and you will find a solution.

  3. Reply to Paul (#6)

    Yes: just migrated our mini to Leopard (flawlessly). The mini was functioning before as a backup server with several external HD’s attached to it, to which the portables backed up in the pre-Leopard days (still need to find the time to migrate the portables though).

    Now: in the Time Machine control panel, you can indicate which folders not to include. By default, any external drive is included there – but you can remove such a drive.
    So in my case: the internal mini drive, and a firewire IOMega drive constantly attached will now be Time Machined to another (bigger) drive.

    Very convenient: I used the external IOMega drive already to keep a copy of the photo masters my wife (photographer) makes – which means that I’ll now have an automatic Time Machined backup of these as well…

    Further comment to the AirDisk (absent) feature: maybe the initial full backup doesn’t run on an AirDisk (makes sense, massive data here), but I read in another thread on some Mac site (cannot remember where) that the further, incremental backups run fine to an AirDisk (as long as the volume is reasonable)
    If, like me, you regularly have to add several 4Gb cards worth of images to the drive, than an AirDisk backup is maybe not what you’re looking for.
    For the odd Pages/Numbers/Keynote and like work, I’ld guess the hourly backup should run fine over an AirDisk – but indeed, an AEBS firmware upgrade would be appreciated for some more stability…

  4. This is what’s going on:

    A lot of us who upgraded to AEBS 7.2.1 firmware had major issues with Airdisks disconnecting and needing to be power cycled. I switched bak to 7.1 firmware, but from reading the rest of the thread, it sounds like the Gigabit base stations came with the buggy firmware…

    Until this issue is worked out, I doubt you’ll see Time Machine/Airport integration. After it’s solved, I expect to see it immediately. Then I will be happy

  5. Well… Time Machine works over your network (I am doing it at home).

    Why it doesn’t work using your Airport I don’t know, probably to do with the firmware of the Airport, as it said on the Apple site (in the features thing) that it was supported until a few days before the launch, when it was suddenly removed… So it has to be removed from Leopard last-minute and they probably forgot the installer…

  6. Considering that Apple DOES support Time Machine over the network to a drive connected to another computer running Leopard, I don’t think this has anything to do with backup speed over the network or with network protocols not supporting hard links. There’s something else going on here, but I don’t know what.

  7. Jonathan

    The problem I have with Time Machine is that it only half supports FileVault. FileVault home directories are only backed up as a sparse bundle, so you cannot restore individual files within a FileVault home directory. This is not toatally useless as at least my home directory is being backed up regularly now, but its is disappointing nonetheless.

  8. My guess is: timemachine probably uses hard-links to help with incremental backups when they write them to disk. Most existing network protocols like nfs/cifs doesn’t support hard-links, however reading from something that uses hard-links over a network protocol shouldn’t be a problem.

  9. I’ve been having trouble with duplicate/deleted applications appearing in the “Open With” right click menu for every time they were backed up with Time Machine. I end up getting at least two or three copies of one app in the pull down.

  10. The Time Machine does not work well with portable mac too. There is NO support page in all Apple help document or online reference pages for mention about how Time Machine works on a portable mac when the external hard disk disconnect the mac.

  11. if i were to guess, i would say trying to backup to an airdisk “in the background” constantly might slow things down a bit, whereas selecting to migrate data from an airdisk is kind of a do and it’s done action.