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macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 7, 2003
Cambridge, MA
I am living and working at a college campus and I currently have a macbook pro. I was curious the most convenient setup I could have for time machine. I want to buy a drive, but having something that physically connects via firewire or usb isn't ideal because I am traveling to and from lab a lot. Is there a NAS alternative that would work well for me? Alternatively, if I do need to go with a wired connection, am I at a disadvantage to only be plugging it in every few days, say? Will time machine keep images on my laptop until I plug it in or will it be different than if I kept it plugged in all the time?


macrumors member
Mar 5, 2008
Sarasota, Fl
Normally, time machine will only let you back up to
A) a physically connected USB, Firewire, or Firewire 800 drive
B) an Apple Time Capsule drive via wi-fi

It seems that the limitation for Time Machine's ability to backup to a network volume is only a preference in the OS. They basically switch the option off, except for the case where you buy a Time Capsule.

its possible to turn this option back on, but its not supported by apple.

open your terminal and type:
defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

Now any connected drive (NAS volume, network share on another computer, etc) show up as options in the Time Machine setup. The drive you point to does have to be formated as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) though (no windows NTFS volumes).

You can google for this info too and read more about it. My experience is that it works perfectly, but like i said, its unsupported by apple.
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