How to set up effortless wireless backup hard drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by RandomHavoc, Nov 26, 2015.

  1. RandomHavoc macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #1
    FYI, I know very little about external hard drives.

    Short version: I'd like to have both of my MacBooks automatically back up (via Time Machine I presume is easiest) when they're on my home Wifi network. What's some of the easiest ways to do that? With which hard drives? Is it possible with a WD My Book Essential?

    Long version (explanation): I have a 2TB WD My Book Essential. I've tried setting up to back up my 2 MacBooks wirelessly by plugging it into my router. However it only ever works for a day or two before it stops and I have to turn it off/back on and then redo it all. I want an effortless way so I can just set it up and leave it.
    Complication(?): I have the WD hard drive partitioned so that I use part of it for the back up, and then other part for various storage.

    Can I do this with my current hard drive, or do I need another one? Thanks
     
  2. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #2
    The most effortless would be to replace your router with an Apple Time Capsule. It's a router and a TM destination in one.

    Now, I'm not normally one to suggest getting a device like that but you asked for the simplest. The issue may be something as simple as a setting on your current router, or possibly a need for a firmware update to fix what could be a known issue.
     
  3. Celerondon macrumors 6502a

    Celerondon

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2013
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    #3
    Yes that entire Airport family of routers is totally solid. :apple: The Time Capsule is as simple and reliable as can be. Today there are two in the Apple refurbished site for $90 less than the Best Buy sale prices. If you snooze...


    TC-refurbs.png
     
  4. RandomHavoc thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #4
    Thank you both.

    I just bought a brand new router a few months ago so I'd rather not go with the Time Capsule solution. Plus, I'd rather have my router and external hard drive separate for the sake of if one breaks down/glitches I'm not losing both at the same time.

    I guess, forget the "simple" part.

    Is there a way to either fix my current set up with my WD My Book Essential? Is there a different WD external drive that is designed for wirelessly accessing it?
    Thanks again.
     
  5. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #5
    You can get a device called a NAS - Network Attached Storage. You'd have to find one that supports Time Machine backups, plus you'd have to add the drives. It starts getting expensive to do it right. Your alternative, for a known Apple solution, would be to get a Mini (a used 2011 or 2012 would suffice for just a TM endpoint), add the OS X server software (needed to make it a TM destination) and use your existing WD drive as an external on that Mini and point OS X server to that for the TM backups.

    What router do you have? What firmware version is on it? Have you checked online forums to see if there was a bug with the way it's currently set up that would cause this? I have a Netgear N600, I once applied a firmware version that ended up causing network issues with all my Apple hardware. I rolled back to an older version of the firmware and everything worked right again.
     
  6. Weaselboy, Nov 28, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2015

    Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    That is just a standard USB drive and should not be the issue. The issue is more likely the router. For Time Machine to work like this over the network the router needs to support Apple's Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) networking service. Usually the router manufacturer will advertise "supports Time Machine" is AFP is present. What model router do you have?
     
  7. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    #7
    The latest Airport Express supports Time Machine backups to an external USB drive connected directly to it. To it make more sense to buy an AE and an external drive than a TC because you have more options if either the AE or the drive get damaged.
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #8
    The new Airport Extreme works with TM, but the Express does not. (I think you meant to say Extreme)
     
  9. JohnDS macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2015
    #9
    My bad. I had meant to type Airport Extreme.
     
  10. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Location:
    USA (Virginia)
    #10
    I totally get not wanting to pay for router functionality that you don't need/want, but I did want to mention that if you got a Time Capsule for the wireless backups, you don't need to use its routing features at all. You can just connect it to your existing router or switch with an ethernet cable, put it in bridge mode, and use it as a nice reliable, automatic Time Machine backup destination for all of your Macs. You can turn on it's WiFi if you want (perhaps covering an additional area of your household) or just leave it off.

    In that case, it would be a $180 backup system (ignoring its other features). Compare that cost to other wireless, automatic solutions...

    [as mentioned above, a practically identical solution is an Airport Extreme (current model) with an external USB HDD plugged into it -- could be good for you if you want to use your existing WD drive. more power cables and more clutter, but cheaper still.]

    [love my 1st-gen TC, and just bought the refurb TC mentioned above and put a 5TB HDD in it!]
     
  11. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    MacWorld
    #11
    Whoever recommend NAS did not read OP's message. I had a NAS and it was difficult to set up. Time Capsule would be much easier but I ended up with Airport Extreme with 3 HDD.

    It's the easiest set up for Time Machine. Not failed once in 4 years.
     
  12. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #12
    If you want to use Time Machine then stick with a Time Capsule, Airport Extreme, etc.

    You need to sort out your priorities. You had simple, effortless, stick with the WD MyBook and stick with your current router. Your current arrangement obviously doesn't work for you. Where are you willing to compromise?

    If reliability is among your top priorities (and I would hope that it would be for backups) then you'll need to replace hardware at some point with an Apple solution. 3rd party Time Machine support tends to be a problem.
     
  13. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Location:
    NH
    #13
    Assuming your router/usb drive disconnect is time machine related and not network or drive related, you can simply purchase Carbon Copy Cloner and use your existing setup. Although not exactly the same features as time machine you can set it to backup hourly, daily, weekly.

    Buying and installing software vs buying an extreme and plugging it in, 6 one way, half dozen the other. You can use CCC on as many personal machines as you want with a single license.

    Now some routers with usb drives attached are problematic, with sleep issues and all. Dunno about yours. Only the AP extreme solution discussed will help in that case.

    So if you want to be sure, buy an extreme, shut off its router function, and attach your existing WD hard drive to the extreme. I've been running a system like that to backup three macs for three years now without one hiccup. Good luck.
     
  14. RandomHavoc thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    #14
    Thanks for the advice everyone. You've given me a few options to consider. Much appreciated.
     
  15. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #15
    I am not sure what NAS you had, but my Synology is ridiculously easy to set up for Time Machine and other stuff. The web interface could not be simpler and the guides take you through this stuff step by step if you're really lost.
     
  16. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    MacWorld
    #16
    Yup, used Synology. You may find it easy but it's definitely not a average Joe's job.
     

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