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gpspad

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 4, 2014
694
47
My sister gets her internet through xFinity, and she relies on their router to manage all the kids usage, especially with three kids taking zoom classes at home. For the first time their is now two MacBooks and a mac mini all at home.

She just had a scare where one of the kids computers got corrupted, I was able to fix it for her before school started, but I would like to setup an automated time machine back up like I have at home. The problem is their mac mini has multiple users and i have never been able to get it to host a time machine backup for the whole house. I tried setting up CCC, but unless that account is logged in and in the foreground it doesn't backup and that account is never up.

What would be my best bet at getting a stand alone device thats always on and would just allow the mac books to backup by itself w/o the kids doing it?

I could grab a second hand TM, but they are so old that this point I am not sure i would trust it.
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
You can use the Mac Mini as the shared Time Machine backup device for both the Mac Mini and your kids computer. I have used this type of setup in my household where I used an iMac to backup up the iMac and a MacBookPro computers. Work very well. I would suggest that you get an external drive for the backups that you attach to the Mac Mini.

 

lederermc

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2014
897
756
Seattle
I have both a Macmini external drive and a Synology (~$300) doing dual TM backup of two laptops and the Macmini itself (A total of three machines.). Of the two devices I believe the Synology is a bit more robust and easier to use as a TM target. Regardless, on the macmini you need to control click the external in the share control panel and select "Use for Time Machine" otherwise it may not show up on the laptops as a target. Also. it must be formatted as HFS+.
 

gpspad

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 4, 2014
694
47
The problem with the mac mini is that I have multiple accounts setup with it. Each account has its own Apple ID, so the whole family info synchs.

Unless that main system admin account is logged in and running, will the Mac Mini still act as a TM server?

I tried using an external USB Drive and CCC, and it didnt work unless that account was up and running.

I guess I could scrap that USB drive and use it as a TM drive instead of CCC, but the idea is still that there is nobody at the house that will login and do any maintenance. It has to all happen behind the scenes.
 

Taz Mangus

macrumors 604
Mar 10, 2011
7,815
3,504
i believe that TM will work no mater who is logged in on the Mac Mini. Although, in my case I usually had at least one user account logged in. Give it try and see how it works for you.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
9,062
11,865
I've used a Mac Mini as a TM server in the past and it worked pretty well. I do believe it should work regardless of who's logged in or not (just as your local time machine backs up all user accounts) but I think I had it set up when I was still running Server. This functionality is now built into the client OS and I haven't tried since.

This should be easy enough to quickly test.

I've moved to a Synology NAS for backing up the various machines in the house and it works well enough. It's painfully slow for the machine that has 8TB of data hanging on it, but it does get me at least one good backup a day for that machine and the other machines seem to back up speedily enough.

The Synology route takes a bit more setup, knowhow and maintenance though. I can't tell if @lederermc is using the NAS as backing storage for a TimeMachine server hosted on the mini, or using the TimeMachine functionality of the Synology itself. I suppose either will work, but I have the NAS setup to advertise itself as its own TimeMachine server.
 

lederermc

macrumors 6502a
Sep 30, 2014
897
756
Seattle
The problem with the mac mini is that I have multiple accounts setup with it. Each account has its own Apple ID, so the whole family info synchs.

Unless that main system admin account is logged in and running, will the Mac Mini still act as a TM server?

I tried using an external USB Drive and CCC, and it didnt work unless that account was up and running.

I guess I could scrap that USB drive and use it as a TM drive instead of CCC, but the idea is still that there is nobody at the house that will login and do any maintenance. It has to all happen behind the scenes.
You need to login with an admin account and set up TM. If the whole /Users directory is not excluded then they all get backed up. If you are logged in on non-admin account I think you'll get prompted for admin Username and PW but I'm not 100% sure.
 

Geoff777

macrumors regular
Jun 17, 2020
215
124
Another vote for Synology here.
I don't use Time Machine anymore - the Synology NAS is perfect. I've set mine to backup every 6 hours but it can back up whenever there's a change on your machine.
My wife and kids have their own folders, and I can restrict their access so they can only see their folders and not accidentally delete anything off mine!
Add to that a bunch of apps that run on iOS or Android for backing up your photos automatically, accessing the server from the other side of the world etc., it's a really useful piece of kit. ?
 

gpspad

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 4, 2014
694
47
Another vote for Synology here.
I don't use Time Machine anymore - the Synology NAS is perfect. I've set mine to backup every 6 hours but it can back up whenever there's a change on your machine.
My wife and kids have their own folders, and I can restrict their access so they can only see their folders and not accidentally delete anything off mine!
Add to that a bunch of apps that run on iOS or Android for backing up your photos automatically, accessing the server from the other side of the world etc., it's a really useful piece of kit. ?

Thanks thats probably something I should look into for myself, but too pricey to setup as a gift for my sister. While I appretiate that backups are taking place I don’t think they would spend the money on that, even if it did make my life easier If their computers break down.

I did end up buying a used 3TB time capsule and will connec tit via Ethernet with the WiFi shutoff. I didn’t mind spending $80 for some protection for her.
 
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