Is Time Machine the Mac Equivalent of System Restore?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by DavidLeigh, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. DavidLeigh macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2012
    Hi all,

    So i'm a ridiculously prudent person, maybe too much so. I'm about to make a large number of changes, updates and installations to my brand new MBP, including installing Mountain Lion at some point. I was thinking it'd be good to have something like Window's System Restore so you can revert changes to the system if anything goes wrong usability-wise. I have read about time machine and it sounds much like System Restore except you need to allocate a lot of hard drive space. For my current purposes i'm only interested in system changes and modifications and i don't have much in terms of data. Is Time Machine good for this?

  2. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    It is more than System Restore. It protects not only your system settings and applications, but also your files and documents. You can revert anything you want to any period in time (time machine will delete old backups only to make space on your backup drive).

    It works best with a time capsule or OS X server somewhere on your network. Set it and forget it.
  3. charlieegan3 macrumors 68020


    Feb 16, 2012
    It keeps old revisions of your documents, not just the most recent ones.

    It much better at working unattended than system restore.
  4. DavidLeigh thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2012
    I see, but for my current purposes i don't need data backup, just system backup. Is that possible?

    Another thing is that whilst data back-up seems pretty cool, but will it use up a lot of RAM and GPU?
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you don't have much data then Time Machine will not use much space to back it up. So don't worry. No TM runs in the background. You should not notice it running after the first time. After you set up TM it will take quite some time to copy everything, a few hours maybe. But after that it only copies whatever changed in the last hour. Usually that is not much. But even when doing the first backup it runs in the background.

    You need a disk that is larger than the data and then leave it connected. TM will wake up every hour and save changes.

    Why would you have none of your own data? no music, no apps, no documents you created no photos? Really? but if so then TM will not back those up.
  6. DavidLeigh thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 10, 2012
    i have just switched from PC so my mentality is very much that of a PC user. I'm looking for system restore for protection against systems issues and problems, particularly to revert changes i don't want if necessary. As for normal data, i never really had issues with it. The last two times my laptop failed, it wasn't because of a hard drive issue and i was able to get everything back by just putting the drives in caddies and connect them externally.

    Just realised though that the main problem is i don't have a free external drive. All my HDDs are windows formatted so i don't think i can create mac partitions for them using utilities. I was wondering if i could create a small partition on my internal hard drive (i have a pretty big one) for time machine. Is this worth doing? That or i will have to spend some money on a hard rive.
  7. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Jul 24, 2011
    No, time machine drive must be external.

    I think you need to think a bit differently. This is OS X, not windows. There is no registry. The drivers are all from Apple. A lot of the applications you'll install will be from the mac app store, and you can re-download them without issue. There is no need for a "System Restore".

    If all you want to do is save your settings, you can drag out your library folder to a different drive. To worry about the "system settings" but not your data is very... i'll be nice... weird.
  8. ChrisA, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Backup to the same drive is pointless. If anything goes wrong you loose the backup. Disk Utility will format over anything you ask it to. So those external drives can be used with Mac OS X just fine. Copy the data some place first then use Disk Utility "erase" them

    Don't mess with "partitions" there is never a good reason for that. Simply put a Mac file system on the entire drive.

    You are making this way to hard. It takes less time to do it than write about it. Simply set up a TM disk drive and let TM do what it does. It works and you'll forget bout it.

    Some software writes its "settings" in other places like ~/library rather than /library to allow for per-user settings. Some write in the .app folder too. Some of the ported UNIX apps have data in .../etc You are best off just saving everything
  9. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    I believe the OP would like an "automatic" reversion to a previous computer state after installing software updates or even an OS upgrade. Apple doesn't provide the equivalent of Windows System Restore.

    If you're concerned about functionality of particular software after an OS upgrade, you'll need to do some research.

    This is why most Mac users that rely on particular software in their profession will wait to upgrade their OS until enough users can confirm there aren't any problems, or, any that arose have been worked out.

    Minor software updates don't usually cause such problems, but it does happen every once in a while.
  10. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Windows has a Backup feature that is like TM but I assume the OP never used it.
    There is no system restore and generally no easy way to roll back updates. It is a bit ****** in OSX in that respect.

    You can take a look at Carbon Copy Cloner. It is in Version 3.4.1 I think still free and you can select to clone. It works faster and more to the point than TM.
    You could than select the Application and all the library folders for backup to some chosen location.
    That very much depends on what your data is and how you manage it. If all the work data is saved into some Cloud drive there is no need to worry about it. The rest may just be temporary data and Media files may be backup manually somewhere anyway.
    System restore in Windows is a fast and efficient way to roll back updates/changes that didn't quite work out without changing any of the working data.
    TM is just overkill for some. I also exclude all media files from my TM backup because I back them up myself and they only need more space than they are worth. They are usually shared among different machines and putting them in any individual backup just doesn't pay off. Really important data I have in Cloud storage today.

Share This Page