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General Time Capsule questions

925 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Oct 30, 2013 7:47 PM by mewe RSS
mewe Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 30, 2013 11:26 AM

Hello I have a few questions about the newest time capsule and what it can and can't be used for.  A little background, I have a 2011 Mac Book that is running all the newest up to date software.  My girlfriend has decided to buy the new macbook air and is interested in the time capsule for a back up utitilty.  I have a few questions I was hoping someone who has used it can clear up.  I understand that the time capsule acts as a router, so I would have to plug it in to the modem that my ISP provided me and it would increase the signal strength correct?  That is my understanding anyway. 

 

Also I see that the backups are automated and we really wouldn't have to do anything which is great, is the time capsule able to handle two different mac's connecting and save sets of both back ups separately, as in we would both to able to access our individual machines and they would be markedly different when viewing them in the time capsule?  Which leads to the next major question I have.  I see that you can grab a file you had previously deleted from your time capsule back ups which is great, but are you able to grab a file from someone else's back up and bring it to your machine?  Can it work like a file server of sorts? An example would be that I have quite a bit of music on my mac not purchased from Itunes, would my girlfriend be able to grab music off from the time capsule over our wifi and drop it onto her machine?  This would save a lot of her stealing my external hard drive so pull songs off from and be super convenient.  Say drop a picture in the time capsule and she can just grab it when she wanted to?  As in if I wasn't home and had my computer with me she could just take

 

Also is the it really worth it?  To those who have used it would you actually recommend buying one?  What do you use it for?  Being able to back everything up is awesome but it would be great to have wireless sharing,

MacBook Pro (13-inch Late 2011), iOS 7.0.3
  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,620 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2013 1:33 PM (in response to mewe)

    so I would have to plug it in to the modem that my ISP provided me and it would increase the signal strength correct?  That is my understanding anyway.

     

     

    Correct .. it is plugged into the modem.. if the modem is also a router you can either bridge the modem or bridge the TC.. one or the other should be the router .. but not both.

     

    The wireless signal will maybe be better and maybe not.. it is never easy to say with certainty..

     

    You can run both devices so you will not be worse off.. and if you are close to the TC and using an AC model Air it will be much faster. But range on 5ghz is limited.

     

     

     

    Also I see that the backups are automated and we really wouldn't have to do anything which is great, is the time capsule able to handle two different mac's connecting and save sets of both back ups separately, as in we would both to able to access our individual machines and they would be markedly different when viewing them in the time capsule? 

    The smarts of the system is Time Machine in the computer.. the TC is a dumb hard disk in a router.

     

    TM has no problems working with a network of multiple computers sharing the TC.. and it will keep each computers backup separate. It uses a virtual disk system.. so each computer creates a virtual disk on the TC.. these are able to grow as the backup grows.. for home use this is exactly what it is designed for.

     

     

    Which leads to the next major question I have.  I see that you can grab a file you had previously deleted from your time capsule back ups which is great, but are you able to grab a file from someone else's back up and bring it to your machine?  Can it work like a file server of sorts? An example would be that I have quite a bit of music on my mac not purchased from Itunes, would my girlfriend be able to grab music off from the time capsule over our wifi and drop it onto her machine?  This would save a lot of her stealing my external hard drive so pull songs off from and be super convenient.  Say drop a picture in the time capsule and she can just grab it when she wanted to?  As in if I wasn't home and had my computer with me she could just take

     

    Also is the it really worth it?  To those who have used it would you actually recommend buying one?  What do you use it for?  Being able to back everything up is awesome but it would be great to have wireless sharing,

    Access to each other's backup is possible if you do not encrypt but not recommended.

     

    The TC is not a file server. It is a backup target for TM.. if you place files to share on the network .. be aware that some issues can arise.. but the key one is the lack of backup. TC cannot back itself up, nor can TM backup network locations.

     

    On a network there is no need anyway. If you have the files on an external drive plugged into you computer, then share it with the network. The GF can pick up your files as a standard part of the network .. as long as you share it and give her access.

     

    If you really want to do this, it is better to plug a USB drive into the TC and use that.

     

    But read the instructions from our TM guru.. pondini..

     

    Q3 here.

     

    http://pondini.org/TM/Time_Capsule.html

     

    TC is the cheapest network storage for TM available that is guaranteed to work. That is partly because Apple hold these things pretty close.. I am not sure the latest TC is the bug free wonder it should be..yet! I have no doubt Apple will fix the bugs. A Gen4 second hand would be a better buy for now, IMHO.. but if you want AC wireless then it can work for you. Be aware it is not bug free.

     

    A small NAS can be a much better file store.. but it doesn't necessarily do TM very well.. even if they say TM compatible.. the reliability is not as good.

     

    TM is not the only backup software available and there are other options though.

     

    For general Apple environment then TC is good. I would hate to recommend the latest one and have you disappointed though.

  • LaPastenague Level 7 Level 7 (32,620 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 30, 2013 7:11 PM (in response to mewe)

    So when you say bridge the modem or the TC and that I should only use one would that mean that when I am setting up the TC I will be given the option to use just the TC and not the modem/router?  I have a modem/router that my ISP (century link) issued when I transferred my service to our new place.  I would hate to have some technical failure or not use the product to it's highest ability because I wasn't setting it up properly.  Also what would the benefit of encrypting your back ups really be besides a security risk?  Could not encrypting it and having her go into my back up corrupt the files?

     

    The TC by design now will try to become the main router.. but you can get in and change it via the manual setup. It is not hard.. but it is up to you.. since the airport utility only controls the TC and not the modem router.. you must sort it out yourself.

     

    In practice it often doesn't matter which is which.. I run either setup.. as I test a lot of networking equipment and it makes almost no difference to me if the TC is main router or the modem supplied by the ISP carries that role.. as long as one only does the job. Not both!!

     

    The last bit about encrypting the backup I am not sure I understand the point of it.

     

    By default the backup is not encrypted but you and the GF cannot readily view each others backups.. TM backups are not file stores.. they do not operate that way.. The sparsebundle functions in such a way that all files are mashed together.. to get a file out of the backup you recover it.. you cannot copy a file.. as you would a file server.

     

    Do not use backups in that way.. It is not safe and it is not designed for that. Yes, files can be corrupted or the whole backup corrupted. TM backups use different permissions.. don't mess with it.

     

     

     

    Also if I understand you correctly it is possible to place files on the disc that is in the TC independently from the back ups that are created hourly, the problem being that the TC only backs up the computers, it doesn't back itself up.  Would that mean that files would "disappear" after an hour (I'm assuming not), I am thinking that you are saying the main problem would be that the files that are just independently on the time machine risk being lost if something goes wrong since they themselves aren't individually backed up. 

     

    Files placed on the TC will not disappear.. but they can make the TM backup misbehave. Read carefully the pondini reference if you haven't already. The basic point is.. it is bad procedure that might work fine.. until the day you actually need a backup and then discover it has done nasty things. Integrity of backups is the key here.. and if you mess .. then expect issues can arise.. I do btw put files on my TC.. but I have several backups in different places.. I never rely on one.

     

    Files on the TC are not backed up.. The TC cannot back itself up.. nor can Time Machine backup network drives.. so any files on the TC corrupted or lost or when the TC fails.. which they do.. are gone forever.. that is fine as long as you make your own backups manually.. but the whole idea of all this is to avoid manual backups since they tend not to happen.

     

     

     

    I'm a little new to this mac thing so bear with me, when you say just creating a network that we are both on and transferring files that way what exactly do you mean?  Currenlty she has an old and dying laptop, yes we are both on the same wifi network but how would one create a network for her to just use what's on my mac once she gets one.  She basically uses an ipad for everything now so I haven't really had a chance to play with network creation at all.  Is it quite complex?  Thank you so much for all of your insight!

    Ok, I have 3 macs on the network.. when I open finder.. there are 3 macs..

     

    Each can share files with the other.

     

    Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.00.51 PM.png

    So I am on 2011 mini now.. I can see the share in the MacPro I also have running.. (laptop is off but if I turn that on, i can also see that).

     

    When I go to the share.. I can see any files I put in the public directory. This is on a computer on the network.

     

    Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 1.04.20 PM.png

     

    You can do that now from whatever computers you use.. even windows.. as long as you turn on sharing.

     

    I think you need to read up sharing.. and network resources with Mac or PC.. as both can do the same thing.. albeit the setup is different.

     

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1549?viewlocale=en_US

     

    An iPad is not designed to see files.. it is designed to be simple.. but you can download and install a file app, eg file browser.

     

    Again just do some googling and play.. you need to learn by playing.

     

    http://www.knowyourmobile.com/apple/8513/how-share-files-between-ipad-and-comput er

     

    Note.. I grabbed the first likely search result.. please read a bit more.. but this is standard basic mac networking.

     

    Look around there are probably youtube video with nice tutorials.. there will be tons of resources..

     

    The basics are simple. As long as the two devices are connected to the same router, they can share files. That is the whole reason for networks.

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