Experiences: Time Machine, Time Capsule, Backups

What describes your backup situation best?

  • I don’t do backups.
  • I backup my data once a week to an external harddisc, using SuperDuper! or the like.
  • I use TimeMachine to backup my data to a permanently plugged-in disc.
  • I use TimeMachine and a Time Capsule to backup my data and it works like a charm.
  • I use TimeMachine and a Time Capsule to backup my data, and it works more or less.
  • I use TimeMachine and a Time Capsule to backup my data, but I’m disappointed.
  • I used a Time Capsule, but I’m back on another solution.
  • I used TimeMachine, but I’m back on another solution.

0 voters

The “official best solution” for backing up one’s data is, as we all have heard, to use Leopard’s “Time Machine” together with a “Time Capsule”, that small huge data storage unit that is built to be set conveniently somewhere in your office (or your house?) and get your newest data nevertheless by some magic involving electromagnetical waves.

I am very much interested in learning about actual Scriverati experiences with this constellation.

Your options in your poll don’t fit my case at all, so I don’t know what to click.

I tried TimeMachine with a TimeCapsule not hard-wired but using Wi-Fi and it was hopeless … I could use it with ethernet when it would probably work, but that would mean re-arranging my study and I have more important things to do with my time and there would be disadvantages; i.e. I want to click the last two of your options …

Or should I click the second, I think it is, 'cos I use another solution? But that is that the MBP makes a bootable back-up of itself every night at 3 a.m., not once a week, and with Synchronize! Pro X.

Yours in Puzzledom!

Mark

I work off a laptop, but I have a larger monitor + keyboard etc. setup at home, which I use whenever I am using the laptop at home. My external hard drive is plugged into that permanently, so I chose the nearest option.

I also back up my important stuff off-site with DropBox as well, but as this is not automated, it is extremely haphazard (I know I should do it far more often than I do).

I use Time Machine/Time capsule. Saved my assets when my MacBook HD died – TC restored the whole thing with nothing lost. However, my TC stopped backing up after about 6 months – had to go to the Apple Store and have them reinitialize the TC, meaning all the backup stuff was erased. Of course, it was all still there on my MacBook HD, and now everything’s working fine, so I wound up losing no data. I also have daily backups via MobileMe, but have never tried restoring from them, and I backup my Scrivener projects to my iDisk whenever I close them (i.e. every few days), so I hope I’m covered! I should probably also go back to making CD backups of my docs every month, at least. Can’t have too many backups!

I use Time Machine/Time capsule, which wirelessly backs up my MacBook and my wife’s automatically every hour. Saved my assets when my MacBook HD died – TC restored the whole thing with nothing lost. However, my TC stopped backing up after about 6 months – had to go to the Apple Store and have them reinitialize the TC, meaning all the backup stuff was erased. Of course, it was all still there on my MacBook HD, and now everything’s working fine, so I wound up losing no data. I also have automatic daily backups via MobileMe, but have never tried restoring from them, and I backup my Scrivener projects to my iDisk whenever I close them (i.e. every few days), so I hope I’m covered! I should probably also go back to making CD backups of my docs every month, at least. Can’t have too many backups!

I use TM for my “documents” but use a set of rsync scripts for my over all system. I use a LaCie 500Gb mirror cut into a 400GB TM and 100GB rsync (it is actually sold as a 1TB array but I set it to mirror mode). I also do a sync to an additional server in my house but that is a snap shot of TM data but is probably redundant.

Mark, I believe this is yet another “belt and braces” example. Not quite as bad as Amber, but still…

I use a LaCie Porsche 250 GB disc for the hourly Time Machine backup. Works like a charm. Moreover, I make a daily backup of my most important documents with Mozy; I have a third, complete copy of all my documents on my laptop; and a fourth on another HD which I keep in the house of my parent (but this fourth copy is not always very recent).

For copying the documents from my desktop to my laptop I use Chronosync . Good application; worth the money.

For the time being, this should be enough.

Same situation. None of the above. I have three different computers running 10.3.9, 10.4.? and 10.5.?. (Yes… I do have my reasons.) I back up using my own system (no commercial software for the first two) and use time machine once a week stored on a portable drive via fire wire or usb for the 10.5 laptop. I do plug in. The airport just takes too freakin’ long!

No problems yet on time machine but I do remember to close everything and have packages (like scriv) buttoned up.

I also still make dvds every month or so of important projects, scientific data etc. I find too many versions of time machine (or any back up on a drive that must be searched) annoying as %$##. The low tech of writing on the sleeve of the dvd is actually faster.

And I do have a couple of usb drives and I love them. I feel naked without my data.

Fake Latin alert:: Teneo indicium ergo sum!

Apollo16

I use a hard drive, plugged into my iMac + TM. I also have a portable hard drive that I plug into my laptop (when I remember to do it) and use with TM. I have Mozy. And Dropbox. And iDisk. I also have a couple of thumb drives hanging on my key chain. I don’t use the thumb drives too often, but they are ever-ready.

Am I neurotic. Well … yeah … probably. But I’m also relatively new to the Mac world and still trying things to see what I like. I get my ideas from this forum. I’ve relied on you good people for advice ever since I came in from the dark.

I like tm. I think it’s great. It’s made for people like me who want to plug in a computer and use it. I know my iMac is white, and that is enough for me.

The reason I didn’t buy a Time Capsule is that I read Mark’s comments when he first got his. I get enough trouble for free. If I wanted to go out and buy some more, I’d be using Vista.

Rebecca

Careful. Comments like that will get you associated with people like me.

At least I am not vic-k.

Thank you for your comments so far. I understand that this time, I’ve touched a rather complicated subject.

I backup my data every sunday afternoon with SuperDuper!, a nice little application that gets the storing part of this task done in around 20 minutes. All I have to do is to go and get my external harddisc and plug it in. And I log out and in again, the shift-key pressed, to have everything closed and only the minimum of processes running.

What I am thinking about is to get rid of this little chore as well by using Time Machine together with a Time Capsule that would simply sit on my shelf. (As long there is no little R2D2 who does the fetching and plugging.)

Now I am not sure I should walk this way. Seems chances are I simply buy into more troubles instead less?

For time machine to really do this you would still want to reduce activity to virtually nothing.

One advantage to using TM for this is that you can restore from the boot DVD. Not sure that makes it any less trouble, but it is an advantage.

There are two recovery modes that make Time Machine splendid. The boot disk recovery is great if your machine crashes hard for whatever reason. After replacing the hard drive, you can be back up and running in half-an-hour with nearly zero data loss. It also makes migration much easier. When I upgraded laptops recently, I just plugged the TM disc from the old laptop into the new one and used the Migration Assistant to reconstruct my user account on the new machine. Again, about a half-hour later I was using the new computer with the same level of familiarity as the old one.

What I recommend is to, at the end of every day (at the very least), log out and then log back in with the shift key held down. Then run a manual TM backup without touching the computer. Later versions of Leopard make this easy to do. Then mark down the date and time in a notebook, or on another computer. This list will be your known “safe” copies where you know for sure nothing was opened and being worked on during the backup pass.

Ordinarily, this would just be the right time to use Retrospect or some other backup software, but given how nice the migration/recovery options are with Time Machine, I like to make sure I have at least one good frame every day. It’s still “Not a Backup” in the sense that one fire will damage both copies of your data, but good.

Re Time Capsule: I still cannot bring myself to consider the option of a wireless router + file server. I’m paranoid; I’ll admit it.

2 questions:

  1. By “log in with the shift held down” are talking about a safe boot?

  2. Is the concern the combo device or the concept? I home built my wireless/backup/media center/mail/CalDAV server and it is rock solid.

No need to reboot, but if you hold the shift key down while logging in (after a simple log out), it suppresses all user-level background applications from loading. So, with the exception of system level processes, daemons and so forth, the only running should be Finder.

The concept of a “complete” setup. In your case, you built it. Capsule is a black box (er, white box?) that one must wait for Apple to produce security patches for, and have little control over it. I wouldn’t mind creating my own Time Capsule if I could make sure PortSentry were installed and other safeguards. I’ve never played with one, is there something about it I’m assuming incorrectly on? I’ve always assumed that controlling it would be roughly similar to an Airport, but with an extra tab for drive control. No shell access, no ability to install your own tools or apply patches.

I must be doing something wrong. Log out, select my user, enter password, press (and hold) shift, hit enter. I get incorrect password. [size=75] Not that this matters, but I find these things helpful to know. You never know when something I built will go "wonky’. Yes that is a technical term.[/size]

I haven’t tried TM to my server (use rsync) but the build is pretty simple. P1.4, couple TB of disks, netgear wireless card, linux boot cd (I prefer debian). Install. Set SID and WPA/WEP keys. If you are really into integration you can create your own iDisk which is pretty nice.

Anywho… I am with you on the time capsule. Not enough access into the box for me.

Close: Enter user name, password, press enter, then hold down the shift key as quickly as possible, and then until fully logged in. It shouldn’t take long, with only Finder to start up, log in usually happens in about a second. This is also a good tip for troubleshooting background applications that might be messing up other applications. I recommend people try this first whenever Scrivener is acting excessively slow or weird. Half of the time, they were running some third-party spell checker, key logger, or something and eliminating that from the execution chain sped things up to where they should be.

So CalDAV, mysql, custom apache, and 3 virtual machines could all be ruled out? :slight_smile:

Seems like Apple would want to make this easier to do, not harder. I would submit a suggestion to them, but I figure they will ignore it seeing as the powers that be over there still don’t seem to grasp the concept of RTF.

That would depend on how you are executing those processes. If you made yourself some LaunchD plists and have them installed in the top-level /Library/LaunchDaemons folder then they are probably already running before you even log in. It should work just like an ordinary UNIX server at that point; no log-in required to host web pages and so forth. I’m not sure of the shift key inhibits user level LaunchD execution either. It might just impact the “Login Items” set up under Accounts. The VMs it will probably catch, though.

Apple has always been fond of these contortionist start-up routines with having to hold down buttons at precise times.

So I admit I am a computer dork. When I realized my MBP was supposed to have a firmware boot prom I was all “YIPEEE!”

Yet I can not get the darn thing to boot into firmware. I don’t know if I am not blessed by the deities with adequate coordination to get the command, control, O, F then power in the magic sequence or if I am just an idiot. I assume the latter as this means that most idiots would not be able to permanently destroy their firmware. Maybe this kind of phalangic craziness isn’t so bad after all.