Best Backup Solution - Advice please!

Discussion in 'macOS' started by psamyiad, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. psamyiad macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    Good morning all.

    I'm after some advice on the best backup solution for our home computers. We mainly have work and personal documents, images, video etc - the usual stuff - we'd like to keep safe.

    We have 2 MacBooks, and 1 PC laptop as it stands - Plus 2x iPhones and iPad, and will be adding a MacBook Air to the portfolio shortly (hopefully to dispose of the PC! BootCamp for her work stuff!)

    I would like to know whether Time Machine would be the best option or if there is better hardware out there that would fulfill the same purpose.

    At present we don't have a broadband connection into the house - we rely on sharing a friends network - but will be adding broadband connection in due course.

    The Time Machine could then act as our wireless router - and connect printer etc.

    Does Time Machine require an internet connection in order to work locally? Would the Windoze laptop recognise it? Or would an alternative suit better anyway?

    Thanks in advance,

    Kind Regards,

    Graham. :confused:
  2. Damo01 macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2010
    You can use Time Machine to backup and there is Carbon Copy Cloner as alternative backup that you can download for free...

    You mean the time Capsule or the Airport Extreme?

    Time Machine is just a backup. Not a router. You can use time Machine to back up onto the time Capsule and use time Capsule as a modem or router or a bridge if decide buy another modem.

    No. If you using a time Capsule you can locally wirelessly use Time Machine to back up over your home local network.. Or you can back an external hard drive use that to backup using Time Machine...
  3. psamyiad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    Thanks Damo...

    When I said Time Machine, what I 'obviously'! :eek: meant was Time Capsule!

    Time Machine, being the software would then use the Time Capsule as storage... and a wireless router.

    Sorry for the confusion; who knows what planet I was on!

    Kind Regards,

  4. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    For backing up three portable Macs, here are some choices I see. Note that a lot of this is just my opinion, and I don't claim to be an expert -- just trying to point out things to think about.

    1.) Using Time Machine (TM) with a Time Capsule (TC) (wireless backup, moderate cost, solid reliable router for the future, easy to set up and maintain).

    2.) Using TM with a TM-compatible NAS (wireless, expensive but faster and more features, requires more research, moderately easy to set up and maintain as long as there's good vendor support). Just as an example, this thread talks about the Synology DS411j.

    3.) Use TM to backup each Mac to an external hard drive (not wireless, cheap, easy to set up).

    4.) Use Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper (both have often been recommended by others) to make "clones" of each Mac's hard drive, and you therefore have immediately bootable backups. I don't know but I assume this could be done wirelessly if you had a TC or a NAS. (maybe wireless?, cheap, takes more setup and tinkering, I think).

    If you move your Macs around at all, I don't recommend solution 3 or 4 using regular external drives. This is because people being as they are, they are likely to get lazy (or forget entirely) about plugging/unplugging the external drive, and so the backups will probably not get done often enough for safety.

    A wireless solution solves that problem (at least with TM) by backing up the portable computers just about whenever they're turned on within range of your wireless network.

    Personally, I would recommend solution 1 (perhaps not coincidentally, that's how I'm operating). You do not need an internet connection -- the TC can establish your own wired & wireless local network. The Windows computer will work fine on the network, but will not be backed up as there is no TM software to run on windows. The Windows machine can see and write to the TC internal drive and (more usefully) any external drives plugged into the TC, so there's an opportunity to backup there, but you'll have to come up with the software yourself (I'm in that situation, too.)

    There seems to be a big group that is really happy with CCC or SuperDuper, but I haven't actually used them. Maybe someone else can explain their advantages.

    Yikes--sorry to get so wordy! Regards,
  5. psamyiad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    Brian33, thank you so much!

    Superb reply, covering a great deal of exactly what I wanted to know!

    I'm sold on the TC, certainly now knowing that it can function without an internet connection.

    The PC will have to be backed up (its going into work for some upgrades and we have been advised to backup - hence actually getting around to it!) So I'm thinking the TC with some windows software and plug in to clone the HDD. The Macs can then back up with TM either over the local network or plugged in.

    Slightly off topic, but could the TC act as wireless data storage to either a mini or an old powerbook running as a media server?

    If so, I think its with the debit card details handy!

    Thanks in advance,

  6. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    The answer is a qualified Yes. You can definitely store data on it and access that data from any computer on your local network (even the Windows machine). However, I've heard the TC described as slow, so I don't know for sure if it would be fast enough for a media server. My guess is that it would work, though.

    One last issue: You can put whatever files you want onto the TC internal disk, e.g. using Finder or Terminal. TM will not delete any of these files, but TM will eventually fill the disk with backups. Once that happens, it will be inconvenient to place any more files "manually" onto the disk.

    There are a number of possible work-arounds (see Can I use my Time Capsule for backups AND other data?), but in my opinion the best bet is to buy an external USB drive and plug that into the back of the TC. All the backups can stay on the internal drive, and you can put whatever you see fit onto the external drive (or vice versa). There you've got some simple network storage! You can use a USB hub if you want to plug your printer in too, or have several USB hard drives. I have a printer and a 16 GB flash drive (as a sort of "common" network spot) plugged into my 1st-gen TC.

    Oh also, always remember that whatever data you put on a TC drive (internal or external) will not be backed up by any TM backup. You've got to keep a copy of it somewhere else.

    Hope it works out as well for you as it has for me!

  7. psamyiad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011
    Thank you Brian33!

    1 Time Machine 2TB Ordered from for delivery October 12th - 2 days before my new 64GB White iPhone 4s!

    Exciting weekend all round!!! :D

    Thanks again for your help; much appreciated!

    Kind Regards,

  8. waynep macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2009
    I believe that a 2 copies of your data are not enough. A lot of people have one copy on their computer and a backup copy on a USB hard drive. The USB drive and the computer are usually close together. Theft, fire, other things can render all data gone in that scenario.

    As I got more experienced and collected more data I got more serious with my backups. I also have data that is worth money. I have purchased 100's and 100's of songs from iTunes store and Replacing it would be very expensive. I know iCloud and some recent changes would help, but it would not make up for all of my music or other data. I also have 1000's of digital photos, having started digital photography in 2003 or 2004.

    There is a photographer that decided that a 3-2-1 strategy would work nicely. 3 copies of your data, 2 different kinds of media, 1 off site.

    To that end, I do the following:

    - Carbon Copy Cloner to a USB drive. I do this mainly to have a bootable image. I don't really depend on it for data backup as I only update it once a month or so. It's just another way to boot my MBP if something happens to my internal drive.

    - Time Machine to a Time Capsule.
    - Mozy online backup (might switch to CrashPlan)

    So I have 3 copies, 2 different media and 1 is off site.

    For you picky people, Mozy or Crashplan in the scenario counts as some other type of media even though they may keep my data on disks, it's network based.
  9. psamyiad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2011

    Thanks for the reply.

    I'm with you on the off site backup - this is something I can address once the immediate issue; get my macbook backed up and the other half's work PC.

    I've ordered the 2TB Time Capsule so will use this to resolve the immediate issues and look at the offsite solutions you have recommended to implement as soon as the TM is set up.

    Thanks for your help guys,

    Any further info / assistance on setting up the TM to back up Mac and PC would be great; I've got some guidelines from other sites - I'm going to need some software for the PC - so any personal recommendations would be greatly received!

    Basically for the PC I want to clone the HD onto the TM, so I could (worst case scenario) copy it back onto a new, formatted HD and have it boot as it once was. I also want to just back the documents up so should she want a clean install and just copy documents across, we'd also be able to do that. I'm thinking that using the TM / attached USB HD this would be pretty straightforward!

    Thanks again folks!

  10. thomapa1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2010

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