Is it possible to use Airport extreme with a USB hard drive to backup your mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by specops, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. specops macrumors regular

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    Jun 29, 2007
    #1
    So i will be getting a 13inch MBP soon and i already have a Airport extreme base station and i was going to get a USB hard drive to plug into the AEBS and use to back up my new mac with time machine but i'm not sure if it's possible. Googling around i found a new story saying apple had updated the AEBS firmware to allow time machine back up but i check in my airport utility and didn't see the option. So has anybody done this before?
     
  2. skorpien macrumors 68020

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    #2
    It's not an option in your AirPort Utility. AirPort Utility only allows you to share the hard drive using the Disks tab (I'm sure you've seen it snooping around in there). Just make sure you've enabled file sharing, make sure you can mount and browse the hard drive once it's attached to your AEBS, then start Time Machine and choose the AEBS attached hard drive as the target volume. Keep in mind that it's not officially supported by Apple, so they will not help you if you have issues with it. And if you have any additional questions, search here or post if you can't come up with an answer and somebody will be sure to provide help. I've done this using an external attached to my Time Capsule and it worked, but AFAIK it should work for your AEBS.

    Edit: Also, be sure to use ethernet to do your initial backup. It cuts down on time significantly. Subsequent backups are fine over WiFi since it's only backing up whatever has changed since your last backup, but the first should always be done wired since it will almost always be a significant amount of data being backed up.
     
  3. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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  4. specops thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Thanks so much guys! I just wanted to make sure before I went and bought a hard drive for it. Will it work with any USB hard drive? or do I need a special one for the AEBS?
     
  5. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #5
    any HDD will work, just make sure you format it as HFS+ when you get it :)
     
  6. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #6
    Just make sure to initialize it from a Leopard 10.5 machine and it should work fine. I have one running TM off our AEBS currently - works fine.
     
  7. specops thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    AWSOME!!! thanks all for the input! This is why i love the mac life style people are so friendly and knowledgeable because they love macs! :)
     
  8. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #8
    its more a passion thing rather than in the PC world where they are frustrated to the max with them ;)
     
  9. TheHoff macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Threadjacking since I had this question + one more...

    if I have a USB hard drive connected to my AEBS, can I log into the AEBS remotely (from outside the home network while traveling) and get to the USB HD? ... meaning will it work like a file server giving me remote access to the HD?
     
  10. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #10
    as long as you have a @mac account (what are they called again) you can access it from outside home...

    or you can be really tricky and get a static IP, configure your router properly and access it without hte @mac account (VERY hard).
     
  11. adamdlloyd macrumors newbie

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    Jun 16, 2008
    #11
    But can you select the USB drive connected to the AEBS wirelessly?

    (ie use your exisiting AEBS like a time capsule, with out having to sell your AEBS, and buy a timecapsule)
     
  12. skorpien macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Yes you can.
     
  13. adamdlloyd macrumors newbie

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    #13
    So other than the aesthetics of not having 'another box' for your external hdd, there is no difference in a AEBS with a usb mounted external hdd setup vs time capsule.

    Sweet, saved me the effort of switching my aebs for a time capsule and provides me with the ability to use whatever capacity drive I like in my external usb hdd.
     
  14. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #14
    Spot on, there really is no other difference. You would see faster copying speeds on the TC as the drive is better quality, and it does not have to be transferred over the USB protocol, which is quite slow. Other then that its identical
     
  15. dgilchri macrumors newbie

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    Aug 18, 2009
    #15
    Older Airport Extreme & USB Hard Drive

    Sorry to jump in guys, but this seems to be the closest thread to my query..

    I have an AEBS - older version (...g) and a 500MB Maxtor USB drive (yes formatted from a Leopard machine) - I really dont want to have the drive permanently plugged into one of the user Macs - is there no way to update the firmware on the AEBS to accept the USB HDD ?
    (from thread searches - some say not)

    Failing that, can I buy a USB to Ethernet adaptor and just hook the HDD into the network ?

    Cheers
    DG
     
  16. RMo macrumors 65816

    RMo

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    #16
    ...besides the fact that Apple doesn't officially support AirPort + AirDisk using Time Capsule, although many people have been able to get around this problem by "initializing" the disk first with a direct connection to the Mac, then using it as an AirDisk.

    And I'm sure the fact that Apple makes Time Capsule has nothing to do with the lack of official support... :D
     
  17. skorpien macrumors 68020

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    #17
    You're right in that it's not just a matter of updating the firmware as it's actually the hardware in the newer models that allows USB hard drive sharing.

    However, what you suggest for making the hard drive work with your network isn't that simple. The hard drive can't just work with any USB to ethernet adapter. The adapter needs to be a device server as well, such as one of these. You're looking at spending an additional $100-$200 USD, so it might be just as wise to invest in a router that has a USB device server built in.
     
  18. dgilchri macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Older Airport Extreme & USB Hard Drive

    Thank you - exactly the answer I needed - I now know where I stand.
    It looks like the Maxtor drive will remain strapped to the user machine !.
    Best regards
    DG
     
  19. bohbot16 macrumors 6502a

    bohbot16

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  20. londonmystery macrumors 6502

    londonmystery

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    #20
    sorry but another hijack here.

    Bought an Airport Extreme today set it up and did the initial backup via ethernet.

    Been trying for a while now to access via wifi with no joy.
    Any ideas??

    Also how do I access it when I am away from home, yes I do have a mobileme account.?? :):)
     
  21. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #21
    it uses a different method when backing up wireless vs ethernet. you will have to try a few different ways to get it to work, as there is no 'real' solution AFAIK.

    in the settings of the ABES, you can add in your mobile me settings and share the device. have a poke around.
     
  22. londonmystery macrumors 6502

    londonmystery

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    #22
    have got it to work, god knows how.

    Have looked around in Airport utility and found the settings but all options are greyed out, so I can't click on any of them.

    WTF, help. please. :):)
     
  23. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #23
    im not near my airport, so i cant help sorry. if nobody has posted a solution by 2nite i will chime in again :)
     
  24. londonmystery macrumors 6502

    londonmystery

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    #24
    I found it, airport utility>manual settings>advanced

    Job done, will test it tomorrow when I'm out and about, thanks for the input guys. Now to set up my 2 express and I'm finished. Might get to bed by 3 am. :):)
     
  25. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #25
    nice job!! i hope it works good for you :D:D your lucky you had a mobileme account, its very hard doing it without it.
     

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