13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 27, 2008 9:19 AM by blackpaw
zzz123fatcat Level 1 (0 points)
I was wondering if anyone knows how I can use a network drive as the backup drive for Time Machine. It is not showing up in the drive list and I was wondering if it is even possible.
Thanks a lot,

Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.1), LaCie Network Drive, Time Machine
  • catboy1265 Level 1 (0 points)
    Type this in the terminal

    defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

    I am not responsible if something bad happens to your disks at all though.
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 (7,890 points)
    Too true.

    This tells TM to use UNSUPPORTED devices. Do you really want to do this for the safekeeping of your data I ask ? Don't do it. Wait for Apple to formally support additional ext HDs.
  • chinmankam Level 1 (0 points)
    I understand the above hack enables time machine to use unsupported drives, but has anyone had any bad experience or good experience using this hack.
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 (7,890 points)
    My understanding is the protocol handshaking between the backup device and TM is very shaky and can cause data to be dropped on its way to the backup device.

    I've tested using AirDisk and found it to be unreliable.
  • badtz Level 2 (250 points)
    in the case that it's unreliable, can this actually cause any data loss on the machine sending the backup?

    or, what can possible happen on the receiving end? (in my case, i'm thinking about testing this on a remote NFS/webdav volume)
  • BarryXSharp Level 5 (7,890 points)
    It's been said that data gets dropped from making it to the backup HD. This problem isn't consistent so a simple test may not cause the problem to show its colors.

    If Apple and beta testers have indicated its not reliable I would suggest you believe them.

    Your choice ultimately.
  • PeterBatty Level 1 (0 points)
    You can use a network drive attached to another Leopard machine, though setting it up seemed a little random for me. I have an iMac and a MacBook, both running Leopard, and am now backing up the MacBook wirelessly to an external drive attached to the iMac, using Time Machine. Setting it up seemed a little random. I first did a backup to the external drive directly from the MacBook, then attached the external drive to the iMac. When I first brought up Time Machine preferences on the MacBook after that, it said it couldn't find the drive. If I picked the option to select a new drive it gave me nothing to choose from. Then I went and browsed the external disk in Finder, and suddenly noticed that the MacBook had now found the disk and was doing a backup (without me having selected anything new). There may be an easier way of setting it up, but the MacBook has been doing hourly backups across the network (which have generally been taking about ten minutes).
  • blackpaw Level 1 (10 points)
    you could try the following:

    - mount your network share
    - copy TimeMachine.app from your Applications folder to the network drive where you want to back up to.
    - launch TimeMachine from there (from the network drive)
    - go to options and find your network drive available for backup

    worked for me on Leopard 10.5.1 with a LaCie Ethernet Disk mini (AFP share)

  • Mike Hitt Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Peter,
    This concept worked to allow me to start to BU my MacBook Pro to my Seagate 500 Free Agent via my Airport Network with the Free Agent drive connected to my G4 Cube USB port and therefore networking the MacBook Pro to the Cube. It's going to take a week, or more to complete the initial backup if I end up proceeding. I backed up 5G of 120G in 7 hours over a normally functioning Airport Extreme Ethernet Gigabit network, filtering through the G4 Cube. I'll wait for a very long winter's night if I ever decide to complete this BU. For now, I'll just perform a quick SuperDuper BU. Thanks for the tip, it gives me new insight in to work arounds for this problem.
  • greenwrangler Level 1 (50 points)
    For long running initial backups, I have found it helpful to turn off Spotlight indexing for the duration of the first backup only. You can turn it off for the internal as well as the backup HD by adding them under System Preferences->Spotlight->Privacy. Be sure to remove at least the internal HD once your initial TM backup is done. Others have suggested turning off any AV software you might have as well. Should speed it up considerably.
  • Dvorak Level 1 (0 points)
    Trying Andreas' psoposed solution:

    I've copied TimeMachine.app to my network drive (in the Share folder). Launched Time Machine from that location (network drive). Get the message "A storage location for Time Machine backups isn't set up." Click the "Set Up Time Machine" button; this opens the Time Machine windows, showing Time Machine set to Off. If I set the switch to On or click on the "Choose Backup Disk" button, the Time Machine program opens a drop-down window for selecting a disk, but no disk is listed. I don't see "Options" anywhere. What did I miss in this process?

    Thanks in advance for help!

  • Dvorak Level 1 (0 points)
    Addendum: My LaCie network drive is connected via Ethernet cable to my router; it is not directly connected to any computer.

  • blackpaw Level 1 (10 points)
    well, it looks like this is not the fastest of all backups.. in fact, if you access it through wireless it is painfully slow and I stopped using it.
    I will get myself a nice firewire backup drive for time machine (or a 802.11n router... don't know yet)

    Nevertheless: to get it working:
    (Note: I will take no responsibility if it breaks your system...)

    Open terminal and issue the following command:
    "defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1"

    then do as I described above. (copy timemachine.app to the share and execute it from there, then "choose backup drive" and select your NAS.)

    Anyone have one of these new 802.11n routers and can test how fast it works that way? For me it took 12-16 hours to back up my 60 gig drive