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Time Machine with AirPort Extreme?

55506 Views 51 Replies Latest reply: Jul 6, 2013 9:16 AM by Pondini RSS
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OlivierMyre Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Jan 28, 2011 10:28 AM
I have an external 1TB HDD plugged into my Extreme, but I can't figure out how to set the whole thing up.
I partitioned it 500/500 with the first 500 for Time Machine, and I made the first backup manually (plugged in my MBP).

Now I want to start backups again but it won't save, it begins, with the good disk, etc. but stops at beginning saying that the disk is not good, or whatever and asks me to choose another...

And the Apple papers specify that I CAN configure my AP Extreme but I never found how?? And I've tried a lot of ways to get it to work... unsuccessful.
2010 MacBook Pro 13", Mac OS X (10.6.5), 2.4GHz; 4GB; 128GB(SSD)
  • DaddyPaycheck Level 6 Level 6 (16,035 points)
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    Jan 28, 2011 12:55 PM (in response to OlivierMyre)
    Time Machine backups are not supported on drives that are connected to Airport extremes. Some folks have made it work but it is iffy at best.
    A collection of clinking, clanking, clattering caliginous junk., Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, PDP11
  • William Boyd, Jr. Level 6 Level 6 (10,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 28, 2011 12:57 PM (in response to OlivierMyre)
    OlivierMyre wrote:
    I partitioned {the external HDD} 500/500 with the first 500 for Time Machine, and I made the first backup manually (plugged in my MBP).

    Now I want to start backups again but it won't save, it begins, with the good disk, etc. but stops at beginning saying that the disk is not good, or whatever and asks me to choose another...


    You're fighting at least two issues:

    1) Using Time Machine with a disk drive connected to an AirPort Extreme isn't officially supported. See item #2 of this post:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1964018

    and this page:

    http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/Airport.html

    2) If you first used Time Machine to back up to that disk while it was directly connected to your Mac and now want to use Time Machine to back up to the same disk while it's connected to your AirPort Extreme, you're facing another problem. Time Machine manages backups on a local disk differently than on a network disk. See the paragraph in red in this page:

    http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/TCQ2.html

    If you did the first backup locally to make it run faster, see "Speeding up the first full backup" on this page

    http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/AEQ2.html

    or connect your Mac with an Ethernet to the AirPort Extreme until the first backup is complete.

    the Apple papers specify that I CAN configure my AP Extreme but I never found how??


    If I understand what you're asking, that's done with AirPort Utility.
    MacBook 5,2 2.0 GHz, 4GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.5)
  • dr average Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 17, 2011 7:53 PM (in response to DaddyPaycheck)
    At an Apple Store in my neighborhood, the sales people and the tech people all suggested that instead of buying Time Capsule, in which one problem knocks out two devices, I buy APExtreme and a separate (WD) hard disk for backing up. So I did so. I have not been able to get it to work with Time Machine, and now I know why. Is it possible to make it work responsibly without Time Machine but a different backup utility, or is that "dangerous," "iffy," etc too? If it is possible, do you have a recommendation?
    TIA
    SBC
    MBP, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Feb 17, 2011 8:56 PM (in response to dr average)
    dr average wrote:
    At an Apple Store in my neighborhood, the sales people and the tech people all suggested that instead of buying Time Capsule, in which one problem knocks out two devices, I buy APExtreme and a separate (WD) hard disk for backing up.


    PLEASE refer the manager to the following Apple articles, so perhaps they'll quit misinforming folks:

    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.6/en/15139.html (that's an extract from Mac Help).

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2421?viewlocale=en_US (not as clearly worded; for Time Capsule, it includes the phrase "with support for Time Machine backups;" for Airport Extreme, it does not.)

    So I did so.


    Demand your money back (unless you want the wireless router function).

    I have not been able to get it to work with Time Machine, and now I know why. Is it possible to make it work responsibly without Time Machine but a different backup utility, or is that "dangerous," "iffy," etc too? If it is possible, do you have a recommendation?


    If you have a desktop Mac, you can back up to a shared drive on it via your network. See #22 in [Time Machine - Frequently Asked Questions|http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/FAQ.html] (or use the link in *User Tips* at the top of this forum), for setup instructions.

    If not, many backup apps won't work well via a network (or don't recommend it).

    Chronosync ($40) may be an alternative.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Feb 17, 2011 9:24 PM (in response to dr average)
    Oh, I forgot one. See the Note under "Changing your backup disk" here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427 where it says "Time Machine can’t back up to an external disk that's connected to an AirPort Extreme . . ."
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • dr average Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 17, 2011 10:00 PM (in response to Pondini)
    Thank you. The piece about Time Machine and APExtreme was one of the things I had seen, along with your own postings, that made me realize the Apple sales folks had misled me. BTW, that was the second time they misled me. The first time, a salesperson sold me APExpress with a self-powered USB hard disk. When I failed to set it up I went back, and the next salesperson exchanged it for an APExtreme and a plug-powered hard disk.

    Follow-up question, then. We have a bunch of Mac laptops, no desktops. So the choice is exchange both for a Time Capsule, with the potential that a problem in one component takes down the other, or keep Extreme and the hard disk, connect the hd to a laptop, and backup all the computers that way?
    MBP Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • dr average Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2011 5:13 AM (in response to Pondini)
    Sorry, another question: what about using an ethernet network hard disk with Airport Extreme? Does this work, or does it have the same problems as USB?
    MBP Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2011 8:12 AM (in response to dr average)
    dr average wrote:
    Thank you. The piece about Time Machine and APExtreme was one of the things I had seen, along with your own postings, that made me realize the Apple sales folks had misled me. BTW, that was the second time they misled me. The first time, a salesperson sold me APExpress with a self-powered USB hard disk. When I failed to set it up I went back, and the next salesperson exchanged it for an APExtreme and a plug-powered hard disk.


    Wow. You really should take this up with the manager, and perhaps a letter (not email) to Apple at Cupertino. Everybody makes mistakes, but that's ridiculous.

    Follow-up question, then. We have a bunch of Mac laptops, no desktops. So the choice is exchange both for a Time Capsule, with the potential that a problem in one component takes down the other, or keep Extreme and the hard disk, connect the hd to a laptop, and backup all the computers that way?


    Nothing's perfect of course, but yes, both of those are supported, and work well, if you mean keeping a laptop mostly stationary and connected to the HD most of the time, or at least regularly, so backups can be done frequently.

    Depending on how many Macs you're talking about, or, rather, the total amount of data on them, a TC may not be large enough to back them all up. See #1 in [Time Machine - Frequently Asked Questions|http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/FAQ.html] (or use the link in *User Tips* at the top of this forum). If not, you can connect a USB drive to the Time Capsule and back up some of the Macs to that (why it works on a TC but not an Airport is one of Time Machine's mysteries).

    And you might want to periodically "archive" the TC's HD to a USB drive, per [Time Capsule: Using AirPort Utility 5.3.1 or later to make a copy of the Time Capsule disk|http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1281], or, probably better, periodically make separate "secondary" backups. See #27 in the FAQ for some suggestions.

    Sorry, another question: what about using an ethernet network hard disk with Airport Extreme? Does this work, or does it have the same problems as USB?


    Some of them seem to work reasonably well with Time Machine, but many have different problems. See the pink box in #2 of the FAQ. And search this forum for NAS.
    24" iMac 9,1 2.66 GHz; 4gb; 640 gb, Mac OS X (10.6.6), dual-band AEBS
  • dr average Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 18, 2011 8:28 AM (in response to Pondini)
    Podnini,
    I see from the description that an ethernet hard drive is not right for me. Either I will pony up for the Time Capsule or stick the hard drive on one of the computers.
    From what I can tell, 1 TB seems enough for our family's backup needs.
    Thank you for all your super-clear, informative help.
    MBP Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • William Boyd, Jr. Level 6 Level 6 (10,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 18, 2011 8:32 AM (in response to dr average)
    dr average wrote:
    a salesperson sold me APExpress with a self-powered USB hard disk.


    That sales person should have known that an Express doesn't support a USB-connected disk. The issue of a self-powered USB disk on an Extreme or Time Capsule is a little more subtle. If by "self-powered" you mean that that disk obtained its power over its USB cable, that can work. I've had good luck with laptop disk drives in cheap external enclosures connected to a Time Capsule. It helps that laptop drives are low-powered to begin with. It depends on how much power that drive/enclosure combination needs compared to how much power a Time Capsule's USB port provides.
    MacBook 5,2 2.0 GHz, 4GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Aceydozz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 21, 2011 11:04 AM (in response to OlivierMyre)

    Hello. I've just started successfully running Time Machine wireless backups (via the latest Airport Extreme) from two MacBook Pros to my 2 TB LaCie external hard drive (with separate partitions for each computer and have a third partition for shared files). Actually, since I’m running the LaCie in RAID, I’ve got 1 TB available, but have the data on two disks within the unit (I also have a spare disk should one fail).

     

    Since I store a large iTunes and an Aperture library on my MacBook Pro, I used an Ethernet connection to save time on the first backup. Additionally, to plan for bad events, I'm going to backup the LaCie monthly to a portable 1 TB hard drive (that I have on order) and then take it to another location (I don’t want to use “cloud-based” backups because they take too long).

     

    I think this represents a good approach that balances convenience (wireless backups will happen when the computers are not running on batteries, as opposed to not happening if I have to manually plug-in each one to the external drive) and security (even the shared files that are not being backed-up by Time Machine are backed-up to a degree on RAID and fully on the portable drive). Since I can’t attest to the robustness of Time Machine/Airport Extreme backups, as I’ve only started doing it, the portable drive is my backup - to the backup! What do you think?

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Apr 21, 2011 4:46 PM (in response to Aceydozz)

    Aceydozz wrote:

     

    Hello. I've just started successfully running Time Machine wireless backups (via the latest Airport Extreme

    You're playing with fire.  It's not supported by Apple for a reason: it's unreliable.   There are many, many posts here saying that worked for some number of days, weeks, or months, but then suddenly the backups were corrupted.   Having two copies via a RAID will not help.

     

    I'm going to backup the LaCie monthly to a portable 1 TB hard drive

    That's not a particularly good idea.   See #27 in Time Machine - Frequently Asked Questions for an explanation and some suggestions.

  • Aceydozz Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Apr 22, 2011 7:36 AM (in response to Pondini)

    Thanks for posting a reply, Pondini. I changed the wireless backups to wired (via Firewire). Presumably, this will ensure reliability of the backups going forward, but I wonder how much of a pain it will be when a) the disk doesn't mount when the MacBook Pros are plugged-in to the power but not to the external hard drive, and b) to maintain a manually wired backup schedule. Better than having corrupted backups I guess!

     

    Also, I hadn't planned on using Time Machine to do the backups to the portable external drive (despite using the word "backup"). I was thinking I'd make a monthly copy using Disk Utility. A lot could change on a monthly basis, so I was thinking I'd just copy the LaCie to the portable (maybe overnight using wired connections!). If I ever need the data from the portable or to restore the MacBook Pros, I could lose up to a month's-worth of data, but could probably live with that.

  • Pondini Level 8 Level 8 (38,710 points)
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    Apr 22, 2011 7:44 AM (in response to Aceydozz)
    I wonder how much of a pain it will be when a) the disk doesn't mount when the MacBook Pros are plugged-in to the power but not to the external hard drive

    Shouldn't be a problem.  Time Machine will just do a backup when the disk is available.  It will send a reminder message after 10 days without a backup.

     

    I was thinking I'd make a monthly copy using Disk Utility.

    CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper will be much faster; they can just copy what's changed, instead of the whole thing.  Because of the way they work, that's much slower than a Time Machine "incremental" backup, but much faster than a full copy with Disk Utility.

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