Another Time Machine Question

Discussion in 'macOS' started by HMayes, Mar 3, 2008.

  1. HMayes macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Alright, I have a MBP and several windows boxes. I don't own an external, but have several large internal drives kicking around. I know that Time Machine requires HFS. My question is this: is there any way for me to use one of these drives for Time Machine? I can plug the drive into a windows box, but obviously Time Machine can't use it (I get a "failed to create backup volume" error). Is there some way I can format the drive to HFS while it's plugged into a windows machine, and enable it for use by Time Machine? I could buy Time Capsule, but I'd like to use one of the internals I already have instead of spending money if possible. Any help would be appreciated.
  2. mmcxiiad macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2002
    When tine machine was first announced, apple implied it could back up to networked drive. Specifically they said that if you plugged a drive into an airport extreme base station yu could do wired/wireless backups. Later they changed that to a drive directly attached to a computer.

    There is a terminal command that you can run that allows you to back up to network shares. Many people have said it works well, others have said it causes problems with the drive filling up.

    So the catch is you may be able to do it to a network share or even a windows machine, but do you want a hacked solution for your backups? You would be better off to get an external enclosure, put the hard drive in it and plug it in at night to your laptop.

    To me, you want the device that the backups ae going to be reliable. Otherwise what is the point of trusting that device with your backups?
  3. HMayes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Well, right now I have no backup except for what I copy manually to DVDs. I'd like to set time machine up to the internal network HDD for now until I can afford time capsule (a hard-wired external drive has no appeal to me, I'm not the type to remember to plug it in all the time). Any help would be appreciated!
  4. mmcxiiad macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2002
    Well, that is the thing - It won't work to a drive attached to windows. I am assuming that you have XP.

    You are going to run into four problems why time machine may not work for what you describe.

    1. The native file format on XP is NTFS. While a mac can read/write to an ntfs when it connects to a shared drive on windows it is messy.

    Time Machine relies on the HFS file format to help know what files have changed and need to be backed up, as well as when to drop old files. This is why you drive will fill up pretty quick. If you format the drive to HFS, Windows can't read/write to it with out a third party app, and even then it is not a smart idea to use as anything more then for light use.

    2. You have to set your mac to automount the windows drive. This isn't too bad with a mac network drive but sometimes it doesn't work well with a windows share. If the share isn't mounted, then there is no where for the backups to go.

    3. You have to enter a terminal command to enable time machine to network shares. This feature looks like it was something that was shut off becouse it has problems. People have had very mixed results when using it.

    4. Finally, and this is the big one. other then restoring files that accidentally got deleted, there is no way to get back to the remote time machine backup if you have a system fail. I am not talking about booting to it. I am saying if your drive crashes, and you reinstall the os and then pick restore from time machine backup. it won't work. Because you put it someplace that wasn't supported. for this reason alone i would think twice about this idea.

    I realize that you are on a budget, and that dictates a lot of what you can do. On the other hand you may have to jump through a lot of hoops and ladders to get TM to work only to find out if there is a problem you have been lulled into a false security.
  5. HMayes thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2008
    Hmmm, alright. I think you've convinced me out of this. I guess I'll just save my pennies :) Thanks for all the input everyone.

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