Airport Exteme+Time Machine+USB Drive=I want to cut myself

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by kaitak98, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. kaitak98 macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2006
    OK, I bought an Airport Extreme Base Station primarily for wireless Time Machine backups. I'm trying to connect a 300GB Maxtor drive in a Vantech NexStar enclosure to the router and after hours, I still can't get it to work.

    After reading of many problem with formating USB drives under Leopard, I finally booted up my Tiger install disks, opened Disk Utility and erased the disk. This finally got the drive working with TM when directly connected to my Macbook via USB. (The USB disk format issues with Leopard are unacceptable BTW)

    So, I did a full TM backup while the disk was connected to the laptop to speed things up. I then connected the drive to the Airport Extreme and tried to mount it. No luck. The Airport Utility could see the drive but TM said there wasn't enough space for a backup. I tried to erase the disk remotely and start over but that didn't work. The Airport Disk Utility has never seen any of the storage I have connected to the base station.

    I guess the next step is to get the Tiger disks out (AGAIN) and reformat the USB drive one more time.

    Will I have any luck doing an initial TM backup wirelessly? I know it will take a long time but at this point I willing to do it if that's what it takes.

    I truly disappointed about all the problems I'm having. It's almost like being back in Windows land. "It just works" does not apply here.
  2. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    I think (dont hold me to it) you need to run Software Update to get Leopard 10.5.2 and the Airport updates so it will work. If you are already running everything right up to date and still having problems then I can't really help you. :eek:
  3. kaitak98 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2006
    I'm running 10.5.2 and updated Airport firmware.

    This is really driving me crazy.

    Thx though-
  4. rmb7984 macrumors regular


    Apr 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    Try this

    I know this problem sucks. It took me a few times to get it right too.

    Reformat the disk the same way you did before and connect it to airport. This time perform the initial backup to your airdisk using ethernet via airport. After that backup is complete, physically disconnect the computer from the airport and reconnect wirelessly. Your machine should have no problem adding the existing backup in the future.

    From what I can tell, time machine makes different use of the external disk depending on how you connect. For direct usb connection, it writes the files directly to the disk; for airdisk, it makes some sort of sparsebundle disk image. Apparently this is why it attempts to make a new backup when trying to make backups using the two different methods.
  5. Manzana macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2004
    Orange County, CA

    so does anyone know how this will work when we try to restore from it? and would it restore the same wirelessly or USB?

    i'm finding this problem out the hard way. i have a firewire time machine disk which i connected to aebs, then did a full back up wirelessly (68 gigs). now when i open time machine it doesn't work.
  6. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    You cannot move a Time Machine volume from a Mac (direct connection) to the Airport (or Time Capsule) and expect it to work - the Airport/Time Capsule stores backups in a disk image virtual drive (sparseimage) to keep multiple machines separated. If you want a faster initial backup, use ethernet, but you cannot speed it up by doing it by connecting it to the Mac via USB/Firewire then moving it to the Airport. Its got to stay on the Airport from the beginning.

    The first backup is slow - first, its going over ethernet (or wifi) and not a direct physical connection, and second, writing to a sparseimage is slower than directly to a hard drive's file system. Once the first backup is completed (may take hours), the subsequent backups are fast.
  7. nyquist11 macrumors member

    Apr 2, 2008

    Ok, I am about to buy an airport extream and connect my external HD. I currently have it partitioned so i have extra space for non- TM stuff. Will I be able to keep it like that. Also is it possible to reformat one partition:apple:
  8. rmb7984 macrumors regular


    Apr 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    I have done exactly that with mine. I have one partition (200GB) for time machine and the remainder of the drive partitioned for movies and such.
  9. nyquist11 macrumors member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Thank you very much. I think that i will go and buy it because now I know how to set it up. :apple:
  10. kaitak98 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2006
    I love this... Saved for future use.

    I get as far as mounting the Airdisk in Finder but Time Machine still does not offer the drive for backups. Airport Disk Utility doesn't see it either. Is there a problem with the way I formated it? I just used Mac OSX Extended Journaled. I didn't partition the drive because I get an I/O error even in the 10.4 Disk Utility. This is the same problem I am having in Leopard but at least 10.4 will let me erase and format.

    Getting so frustrated!

    Thanks for all the help so far.
  11. NIPRING macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2008
    Waukesha WI
    HaHa, thats classic!
  12. kaitak98 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2006
    Finally got it to work. Having seen others have success, I decided change the only variable and try a different enclosure and that did the trick. So if you are having this problem, it could be a hardware compatibility issuse.

    I've put away the razor blades....for now.;)
  13. gadgetdad macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2007
    On my iPhone
    what do you mean a different enclosure? I am having the same issue, and I hate apple right now. :(
  14. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    ^^^ The enclosure means he has an internal drive and bought a USB enclosure to put the drive in and use it as an external drive.

    I just got the Airport Extreme and Time Machine works great with it wirelessly!

    I have 1TB Hitachi USB Easy Hard Drive and a MBP at 10.5.2

    My first backup I did via ethernet (though that seemed slower than I expected for gigabit...) but now do everything wirelessly. I love it! Just wish I could combine the backups I made directly to the drive before instead of starting from scratch for airdisk.

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