Airport Extreme w/ USB drive work for Time Machine?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by netslacker, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. netslacker macrumors 6502

    Jan 21, 2008
    I'm looking for a new wireless router and I'm considering the Airport Extreme however, I would like to be able to attach a 2TB usb drive and use it for time machine backups from two macbooks. Can the extreme do this or only Time Capsule? It's not clear on that this is supported though I see past versions did do it.

  2. jicon macrumors 6502

    Nov 29, 2004
    Victoria, BC
    I'm doing this with the first gen wireless N Airport Extreme, with a 2TB WD Home drive. HOWEVER, with the latest firmware released by Apple the other week, I'm running in to situations where the drive connection is lost, and even with a Macbook Pro (mid 2009) reboot, Lion can't see the drive. The only 'fix' seems to be to restart the AE every few days. Not sure why I've had this happen a few times since the firmware update, but I used to have this issue a long time ago until a firmware fix had addressed it before.

    I think it can work on the latest iteration, but as with trouble supporting different types of HDDs, I think it is simply one of those 'unsupported' things.
  3. dqpassat macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2009
    I have exactly this set up that you are asking about. Airport Extreme attached to a WD Elements 2TB HD. I haven't had any problems so far. Using this to TM a 2010 Macbook Pro.
  4. hafr macrumors 68030

    Sep 21, 2011
    Yes, it works. Sometimes I run in to something like "the database can't be found" after having closed the lid during a backup, but a reboot of the AEBS (through AirPort Utility) fixes that. It happens like once every two months, so it's not a problem for me.
  5. mdelvecchio macrumors 68040


    Sep 3, 2010
    its not officially supported, but this is what i do:

    use Finder's "Connect to server" and browse your network for the APE, then into the USB volume. next right-click the USB drive's name at the bottom of the window and select "Open enclosing folder" -- this shows you the drive as an icon, along w/ any other physical drives you drive. drag the drive on the left-hand dock, where it will register under "Devices".

    now when you visit the TM prefs it will show up as an available drive to use. I've tested it w/ restoring deleted files or over-written files, which is about all i expect it to work for, but have not tried a full restore.


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