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Time Machine not a true backup?

23009 Views 44 Replies Latest reply: Mar 17, 2014 11:17 AM by Neil Paisnel RSS
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (21,990 points)
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    Dec 9, 2012 9:00 AM (in response to John Potts)

    Having it 3x the size is the general recommendation; it has nothing to do with swaps, but with the fact of how far back you want/need your backups to go. The first time TM will create one entire backup; after that, incrementally just the new additions. It will keep doing that until the disk is almost full - it will then delete the oldest backup to make room for the newest update, and so on and so forth. If you don't care about older backups, 2 x the size is fine - but if you do, then 3x is recommended.

     

    I don't need anything but the latest backup, so I just use bootable clones.

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,870 points)
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    Dec 9, 2012 10:43 AM (in response to John Potts)

    As babowa suggested, it is just a rule of thumb. You can get away with less, but you are more likely to experience problems. For example, if you only have used 300 GB of a 1 TB drive, you could get away with a 1 TB Time Machine drive.

     

    Just remember that Time Machine works best the less you mess with it. People who report problems invariably have done some sort of customization to the process.

  • John Potts Level 4 Level 4 (3,100 points)
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    Dec 9, 2012 10:56 AM (in response to babowa)

    Thanks for the clarification. I have two external 2TB hard drives, one for TM backups and one for a SuperDuper bootable clone that I make every couple of weeks.

     

    But since I have about 750GB of data, I guess my next external drive will have to be bigger.

     

    Thanks again, and to etresoft.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,745 points)
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    Dec 9, 2012 11:38 AM (in response to John Potts)

    And remember TM is an incremental backup, not archival. Regardless of the size of the backup drive TM will be deleting older backups.

     

    From Mac Basics: Time Machine

    Time Machine keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups until your backup drive is full.

    So you will not have hour by hour backups except for the current day, and daily's will only go back a month no matter how big the drive you are backing up to.

     

    Weekly backups are the only thing affected by drive size.

  • ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
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    Dec 9, 2012 12:43 PM (in response to Kelly @ I Need More Sun)

    Sorry for your loss, but your anger/grief etc. should be directed firmly towards Cupertino HQ because it's their incompetence that has caused your loss.

     

    Apple makes it so easy to use TimeMachine, it's a frigging nagware that works every time a new drive is connected, so people do it and they mistakenly assume everything will remain on the TM drive, but it doesn't.

     

    That's not your fault, it's Apple's for not covering all the bases and alerting you that old data is about to be removed.

     

     

    Review your backup options and choose a combination of backups that don't include TimeMachine.

     

    Most commonly used backup methods

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,870 points)
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    Dec 9, 2012 3:50 PM (in response to ds store)

    That is patently ridiculous. Did you even read what the original poster said?

     

    Someone buys a new Mac in December, 2011 and backs up a 500 GB or 1 TB drive to a 150 GB drive. How is that even possible? Did the original poster have to go in and exclude a bunch of stuff to make the backup work? Still, Time Machine ran fine for several months while the original poster deleted files and left them deleted - for months. And somehow, you blame Apple?

  • CremeBrulee1 Calculating status...
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    Dec 10, 2012 1:42 PM (in response to Kelly @ I Need More Sun)

    So what is best way to make a "bootable" and an 'archive' version on an external hard drive? Also, i'm a bit confused. If photos are backed up to the Time Machine, could they in essence be overwritten a few months/years  later and hence not be backed up? (if the external drive runs out of space or whatever reason?) Or is it just overwriting versions of files , so earlier versions aren't retained but newer ones are?

     

    also, does it make sense to have all photos on a separate drive as well as the backup disk? (i use aperture and have a fair number of big raw files etc...)

     

    I have a 2008 macbook pro which i've boosted to 4 GB memory, and now am going to add 2 GB more to the max 6gb... i need to make sure i have a fully bootable backup in case something doesn't work. what do you suggest?

  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (23,870 points)
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    Dec 10, 2012 2:48 PM (in response to CremeBrulee1)

    CremeBrulee1 wrote:

     

    So what is best way to make a "bootable" and an 'archive' version on an external hard drive? Also, i'm a bit confused. If photos are backed up to the Time Machine, could they in essence be overwritten a few months/years  later and hence not be backed up? (if the external drive runs out of space or whatever reason?) Or is it just overwriting versions of files , so earlier versions aren't retained but newer ones are?

     

    It is more a question of how soon you want to recover from a hard drive failure. Usually all of the fight for and against Time Machine are just people with some silly personal agenda. Time Machine is, by far, a superior solution for regular backups. However, the more backups you have, the better. If you know you are going to need a backup beforehand, such as before a major operating system update, then that is an excellent time to use a cloning tool. Don't rely on any tool for archives. Just copy and organize them yourself.

     

    I have a 2008 macbook pro which i've boosted to 4 GB memory, and now am going to add 2 GB more to the max 6gb... i need to make sure i have a fully bootable backup in case something doesn't work. what do you suggest?

     

    There is very little risk with a memory upgrade. It won't damange the data on the disk. More backups are always good and this could be a good excuse to make a clone, but it really isn't required.

  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,500 points)
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    Dec 11, 2012 9:30 AM (in response to CremeBrulee1)

    CremeBrulee1 wrote:

     

    So what is best way to make a "bootable" and an 'archive' version on an external hard drive?

    You can make a bootable exact copy of your drive using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. These can also update only changed files, so that it only takes a few minutes if you only changed a few files since last time. Some here prefer Carbon Copy Cloner because it also copies the Recovery Partition.

     

    Like a lot of people, I use a cloner utility to have a fully bootable complete backup but also use Time Machine to retain multiple versions back for a reasonable amount of time, and in addition I keep three complete copies of my entire photo library (one working drive plus two exact backup drives, where one backup drive is always rotated off site in case something happens to my house).

    CremeBrulee1 wrote:

     

    Also, i'm a bit confused. If photos are backed up to the Time Machine, could they in essence be overwritten a few months/years  later and hence not be backed up? (if the external drive runs out of space or whatever reason?) Or is it just overwriting versions of files , so earlier versions aren't retained but newer ones are?

    Old versions are deleted to make room to back up the latest versions. The larger the Time Machine drive you have, the longer it takes to reach the point where the drive is full and old ones need to be kicked out.

    CremeBrulee1 wrote:

     

    also, does it make sense to have all photos on a separate drive as well as the backup disk? (i use aperture and have a fair number of big raw files etc...)

    This can be a performance advantage, because then Aperture and the system aren't waiting for each other to take turns retrieving files from the same disk. I am not an Aperture user but I understand that if you store your photos as "referenced" you can move them to any connected drive.

  • adnx Calculating status...
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    Dec 30, 2012 4:54 AM (in response to Network 23)

    Hi

    Just curious about How you make your two photo library back-up's,

    What photo management tool do you use and if you're using one, do you

    back-up from within that software?

     

     

    "Like a lot of people, I use a cloner utility to have a fully bootable complete backup but also use Time Machine to retain multiple versions back for a reasonable amount of time, and in addition I keep three complete copies of my entire photo library (one working drive plus two exact backup drives, where one backup drive is always rotated off site in case something happens to my house)."

  • Topher Kessler Level 6 Level 6 (9,295 points)
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    Dec 30, 2012 5:14 AM (in response to Kelly @ I Need More Sun)

    Time Machine can back up to multiple drives, so one option is to have two drives in the location of your computer so Time Machine will alternate between them, helping prevent any impact from a backup drive failure. Additionally, if your system is mobile then you can have one backup on the go with you or at your work, and another one at home so you will have them in multiple locations. You can encrypt these backups if needed, to prevent them from being useful to anyone who steals them.

  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,500 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 30, 2012 12:54 PM (in response to adnx)

    adnx wrote:

     

    Hi

    Just curious about How you make your two photo library back-up's,

    What photo management tool do you use and if you're using one, do you

    back-up from within that software?

    I use various photo software, so I don't rely on any one for backup. The main one I use is Lightroom, but its backup facility is only for the catalog (the edits) and not the photos themselves, so I simply make the photos part of the overall Mac backup plan.

     

    On my Mac Pro, the system, apps, and regular docs (but not photos) are on the main system drive. All photos and videos are stored on their own separate internal drive for maximum storage space.

     

    I use Time Machine for versioned backups of the system disk. I then use SuperDuper to make a bootable clone of the system disk, and also to make backup clones of all other disks in the Mac (the Mac Pro has four internal drive bays and I use them all).

     

    After I import new photos or videos, I connect my external backup drive and run SuperDuper to immediately add the new files to the backup. Like any good cloner, it will scan both drives and go "Hmmm, you added 296 new files and edited 17 files, I will update those on the clone." After a few minutes my backup matches the working drive.

     

    When I'm going by the bank I take my external drive and swap it with a second copy in the safe deposit box. When I get home I run SuperDuper and update that second copy. That gives me the two backup drives with one off site.

     

    Note that some in the forum are recommending Carbon Copy Cloner over SuperDuper because it apparently will also back up the recovery partition. While Carbon Copy Cloner is indeed excellent, I'm sticking with SuperDuper for now because I assume the recovery partition is easily reconstituted by Apple, and also because I don't want to spend another $40 right now.

  • adnx Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Dec 30, 2012 3:16 PM (in response to Network 23)

    Thanks for detailed info, this solved and sorted things out

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,745 points)
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    Dec 30, 2012 5:53 PM (in response to Network 23)

    Network 23 wrote:

    CremeBrulee1 wrote:

     

    Also, i'm a bit confused. If photos are backed up to the Time Machine, could they in essence be overwritten a few months/years  later and hence not be backed up? (if the external drive runs out of space or whatever reason?) Or is it just overwriting versions of files , so earlier versions aren't retained but newer ones are?

    Old versions are deleted to make room to back up the latest versions. The larger the Time Machine drive you have, the longer it takes to reach the point where the drive is full and old ones need to be kicked out.

     

    You are dangerously misreading how an incremental backup like Time Machine works. Please reread my post above and the Apple TM basics.

    So you will not have hour by hour backups except for the current day, and daily's will only go back a month no matter how big the drive you are backing up to.

     

    Weekly backups are the only thing affected by drive size.

    If a file is removed from the active disk drive an incremental backup system WILL remove that file from the backups at some point in time. As TM works when that file is dropped from the backup will depend a great deal on just when in the hourly, daily, weekly bakup cycle the file was deleted from the active drive.

     

    Worst case is if I create a file today and delete it some time later today that file won;t even make it into the daily backup for today.

     

    If you need archival backups (like for photos and such) you need to have more then TM in place.

     

    regards

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