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Question: Time Machine questions

I am new to Time Machine. I have hooked up a 320 GB external drive to act as my time machine back up. I have the following questions:


1. Does it back up everything? I am led to believe it does, as well as conduct incremental backups. If that is so, why would anyone purchase third party image software?


2. My NAS has a portion that's entitled Time Machine. I guess it is meant for Time Machine backups. Can I use both the NAS and the 320BG external drive to do backups? If so, do they just take turns and how do i tell my iMac to do this?


3. I understand that time Machine does Backups very frequently (every hour?). Is this not excessive? How can i tell it to do a backup once per week rather than so often?


Thank-you for your time and expertise!

null-OTHER, OS X El Capitan (10.11.6), null

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3. Every hour really isn't excessive. But, if you want to control when a back up is run, turn off Back up Automatically from the Time Machine Preferences. Then left click the Time Machine icon in the Menu Bar and click Back Up Now whenever you want to back up. There is no way in Time Machine to set how often to back up.

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Apr 22, 2018 6:53 AM in response to Music Fusion In response to Music Fusion

3. Every hour really isn't excessive. But, if you want to control when a back up is run, turn off Back up Automatically from the Time Machine Preferences. Then left click the Time Machine icon in the Menu Bar and click Back Up Now whenever you want to back up. There is no way in Time Machine to set how often to back up.

Apr 22, 2018 6:53 AM

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Apr 22, 2018 8:05 AM in response to Music Fusion In response to Music Fusion

Music Fusion wrote:


I am new to Time Machine. I have hooked up a 320 GB external drive to act as my time machine back up.

Hello Music Fusion,

Unless you have a tiny 128 GB startup drive, your backup drive is probably too small. You will likely have problems with it. I suggest a backup drive at least 3 times as large as all the drives you are backing up. You can get away with a backup drive twice as large too.


1. Does it back up everything? I am led to believe it does, as well as conduct incremental backups. If that is so, why would anyone purchase third party image software?

Yes it does. I have no idea why people purchase third party backup software. I remember the world before Time Machine. I can't imagine why people would want to willingly go back to that. I'm afraid that the most likely explanation is people spreading and believing misinformation. Some of that may be caused by people who have had problems with Time Machine due to misconfiguration issues. They often refuse to believe that they were the architects of their own misery and instead blame Time Machine. Speaking of which...


2. My NAS has a portion that's entitled Time Machine. I guess it is meant for Time Machine backups. Can I use both the NAS and the 320BG external drive to do backups? If so, do they just take turns and how do i tell my iMac to do this?

I don't recommend using Time Machine with a 3rd party NAS device. In theory, it is possible. Apple even publishes the specifications on how to do that. However, those specification are for people who make NAS devices. Those specs are also only about 18 months old. Yet people have been selling NAS devices claiming Time Machine support for many years. There is no way to tell if they follow that specification. I remember one time a few years ago when Apple made a change to the login security for its older AFP networks. This was a change Apple had published to developers 9 years before. It broke every NAS device in the world. They had not read any Apple documentation in over 9 years. Good luck with the NAS.


You can use multiple backup destinations with Time Machine. Time Machine will just cycle through them.


3. I understand that time Machine does Backups very frequently (every hour?). Is this not excessive? How can i tell it to do a backup once per week rather than so often?

Yes. That is how it works. It is not excessive. Time Machine only backs up files that have changed. You shouldn't even notice Time Machine running. If you do ever notice it and it appears to be running slowly or having trouble, then you probably have some kind of misconfiguration like I described above.


You can hack up Time Machine so that it backs up less frequently. That makes Time Machine run slower and less efficiently. There is even third party software that will do that for you. However, I don't recommend doing that. Time Machine works best the less you screw around with it. The weakest point in any backup system is always the human. There is no change to Time Machine that a human can make that will do anything other than reduce its reliability.


You can find many examples of people complaining about Time Machine. In virtually every case, those people have:

1) used a backup drive that is too small;

2) used a third party NAS device; or

3) hacked up their backup in some way. Sometimes they modify the backup schedule. Other times they exclude too many directories so they can fit onto a backup drive that is too small.

Apr 22, 2018 8:05 AM

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Question: Time Machine questions