Poor man's Time Capsule? Airport Extreme + External HDD backup for two computers

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by DrivinWest, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. DrivinWest macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Location:
    Republic of Texas
    #1
    I'm hoping to use my Airport Extreme and a USB external HDD as a backup for two laptops that connect to it. I know it's possible to do one, but will two work? Do I have to do anything fancy like create two partitions, or is Time Machine smart enough to handle all that empty space on its own.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #2
    Using Time Machine with external USB drives on an Airport Extreme is not supported by Apple. Some forum users report it does work, but often just stops working for some reason. I wouldn't do it.

    See my comments in this earlier thread.
     
  3. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    #3
    I tried doing a poor man's time capsule with an NAS share. In the end, it wasn't reliable enough. The backup kept getting corrupted. When I wanted to restore from it, it wasn't recognized easily...

    In the end, I realized that if I had no faith in my backup plan, then there was no real point in having one.

    I'd only use the supported Time Machine, or something completely different. Either get a Time Capsule, or plug the HDD directly into the computers.
     
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #4
    If you manually turn TM on and off, you might have more success. And at least you'd know if it worked. The nightmare is that it's running all the time and you THINK you have a backup...but don't.

    And you can use it with cloning or just copying archives. I use my attached drive for archival copies of media, which also makes it available to other machines on the network. And that frees up space on my TM backup for more versions.
     
  5. eric44, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012

    eric44 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    #5
    airport extreme plus a synology nas connected over gigabit ethernet is arguably a better solution than a time capsule.
    more expensive yes but very reliable and doesn't fry itself with heat like my time capsule did!
    synologys' disk management software supports time machine
     
  6. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #6
    It's unreliable and far too slow. Have you considered a refurb TC from Apple? The TC or even a good external USB drive is a better option. You just couldn't rely on that setup.
     
  7. pat park macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #7
    It worked for me for about 2-3 months, but eventually kept losing connection to the ext HD. I now have the ext HD plugged into my Mac Mini and back up my MBP and Mac Mini to it. It's reliable and always works now.
     
  8. Fed macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    #8
    Poor man's seems slightly ambiguous. How about wise man's or value spotter's?

    Though I've never owned a Time Capsule so can't comment on the performance, most reviews I read are less than positive. That, and the fact it's fantastically over-priced, means there is of course better options out there for the money.
     
  9. chibiterasu, Jul 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    chibiterasu macrumors 6502

    chibiterasu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    London, The United Kingdom
    #9
    As my poor mans Time Machine I use a WD MyBook world 1tb (see pic) There is probably a bigger better version out now. It works alright but its much quicker when I use my Macbook on ethernet though it did come with a 3 year warranty as standard which is good and works with time machine perfectly but you can also use it to back up files from other pc and macs. There phone support (speaking from the u.k here) is good there not in india and will try there best to help. Unlike Netgear Who's phone support sucks because they never understand what your asking. I would take a look at other smaller cheaper Nas servers as well before you make up your mind.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #10
    I must be one of the lucky ones, I've been using it for years with no problems. :)
     
  11. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #11
    The fact is, its not overpriced at all. Time Capsule combines one of the fastest available consumer-grade routers with a NAS in one unit. A fast third-party dual-band router + NAS will end up more expensive. And Time Capsule seamlessly supports file sharing over WAN, something which is rather difficult to set up with most other units.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #12
    It does seem to be completely random. Every time this comes up I see people like yourself who have no problems and also people like post #7 here saying it is wonky.
     
  13. WesCole macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #13
    I have a 500GB drive attached to my Airport. You don't have to create two partitions, but I did. I found it was much easier to keep the two backups separated. Been using it this way for a while now and it works great.
     
  14. scarred macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    #14
    The big problem is that there is an awful lot of trust placed into a backup system. I've been witness to too many fail when needed most. Sure, it "seems" like it is working under normal conditions, but then when you really need it, you realize it wasn't.

    I will often bend or break manufacture recommendations, but I see absolutely no point in doing that for a backup system. If apple says it shouldn't be done, there is a % chance of something going wrong with the setup... something they've thought of that you haven't. While it "could" be a money thing (maybe they want you to buy the time capsule), this isn't a scenario where you should try and find out...
     
  15. nosarrra macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    #15
    Successfully using External HDD

    I had the same dilemma about a year ago. I had all the hardware to do that setup, but was hesitant to "cheap out" on something as critical as a backup. I found a great article about all the steps to successfully set up a Time Machine backup using an external HDD. I have 4 partitions set up, 1 for each of the 3 computers I'm backing up, and the 4th for shared storage. It seems to be working fine. It shows all the successful backups in Time Machine. I have successfully migrated 1 machine, but that has been the only real test over the past year. Backups are slow over WiFi, but super fast through Ethernet. Here is the article:
    http://www.zisman.ca/Articles/2009/LEM-Airdisk/airdisk.html

    Good luck!
     
  16. johnparjr macrumors 6502a

    johnparjr

    Joined:
    May 10, 2005
    Location:
    Earth
    #16
    I've been using 2 HD's for years on mine and have never had a problem. I use one HD for time machine backups for 4 macs and the other is used for my movie collection which I stream off the drive to the macs or my TV.
     
  17. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #17
    I agree completely. I did not mean to imply by my comment I thought this was a good idea at all, because I don't.
     
  18. fenderbass146 macrumors 65816

    fenderbass146

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Northwest Indiana
    #18
    I have been doing this for about 2 years now with only some minor issues and hiccups. However, I would recommend do a time machine backup at least once a month on a regular external. That is what I do. With mountain lion, you are able to back up in two difference locations.
     

Share This Page