Old Windows laptop as Time Machine back up

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by EwanMcTeagle, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. EwanMcTeagle macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2012
    Lodz, Poland
    Hi guys,

    I didn't know where to post this question, so forgive me if I got it in the wrong section:)

    I’ve just recently bought my mom 13 MBA to replace her horrible Sony Vaio (she also has an ancient Toshiba Satellite running Windows Vista).
    I gave her my Icy Box docking station with a 320GB HDD so that she could do Time Machine backups, but that requires her to plug in the Icy Box every now and then and turn on Time Machine and I can see that it’s a bit complicated for her (eh, what can you do... :) And since she sees it as complicated she’ll stop doing the backup after the first problem occurs and I’m not right there to solve it out. Or she’ll just be too lazy to plug the Icy Box everu evening to make a Time Machine backup. Bottom line - one day she’ll lose some important document, she’ll want to get it back, but...
    Therefore, I would like to make it automatic like it’s with my Time Capsule. Since I had also set her up with a WiFi network (plugged her 3G modem into a TP Link Router) I thought I could
    plug the Icy Box drive into her old laptop (preferably on the old Toshiba, but the Sony has Windows 7, so maybe it’s easier to configure?)
    connect the Windows laptop to the router via Ethernet and leave it running 24/7
    set the Icy Box connected to Sony Vaio as Time Capsule destination

    Now is that as as simple as connecting everything, mounting Windows laptop and the connected Icy Box and setting it up as Time Machine backup? Will i then mount automatically or will it require "cmd+K" mounting?

    Or does it require some more advanced settings?

    Thanks in advance:)
  2. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

    Jul 28, 2006
    For the current setup you shouldn't need to turn off time machine, just plug in the icybox every so often.
    Time Machine will warn you when it hasn't been connected for a while.

    Anyway to answer the question:-

    1) For a network share to support Time Machine it must be sharing via AFP (Apple Filing Protocol). Well reliably anyway, you can force it to use other protocols but it often results in data loss.
    2) Windows does not natively support AFP
    3) The free open source software AFP server called Netatalk does not run on Windows and there is no (free or cheap) alternative software.
    4) So to make it work you need to install Netatalk on a UNIX like OS, so Linux, *BSD etc... which would be installed on it either directly or inside a virtual machine.

    So the answer is yes its possible, I've done something similar.
    But it's not as easy as changing some settings in Windows and connecting.
  3. EwanMcTeagle thread starter macrumors 6502


    Mar 26, 2012
    Lodz, Poland

    Thanks. I was afraid it won't be easy:)
    Guess I'll tell my mom to keep TM running.

    Thanks for the tip:)

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