Question about backing up data...


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 4, 2004
So here is the deal:

When the Mac Mini was released, I bought the very first 1.25GHz model from the Apple Store in Boston, MA (since we are on the east coast, it very well could be the first Mac Mini ever sold via retail mwahahahaha!). I am an "adder", and was looking forward to doing some cool thing by incorporating a Mac into my current network of (mostly) Windows machines. One of the things I wanted to do was attach some Firewire/USB2.0 external drives to the Mac, and then share those out 24/7 and use it as a file server of sorts.

I have something like 50GB of music, 30GB of photos, gigs of documents, emails, and stuff that I have kept for fifteen years. I cannot lose any of it. It's currently all on my Windows machine. I backup my data once a week, to both external HDs (using Windows NTBackup utility), and then burn a copy of the data to DVD (using Sonic's Record Now!). Both NTBackup and Record Now verify the backups after they are complete, so I know the data was copied correctly.

So when I got the Mac, I planned on hooking up all of these external HDs I had, sharing them out over the network, and then using NTBackup to backup the data and verify it.

Well, a few things happened when I actually got the mac. First, I found out that OSX can only read NTFS (which the external drives were formatted as). Then I found out that sharing volumes off the Mac was not straight forward (but then I found SharePoints). Then I reformatted one of the external Drives as HFS (so the Mac could write to it), shared it out (using SharePoints)...but NTBackup apparently cannot backup over networked drives!

So I gave up.

Now, months later, I am moving to a new apartment. I am determined to get this to work. My goal is to have my Mac as a file server, where I store all of my data on external drives #1 and #2, and have backups of those drives on #3 and #4.

For example, I might use my Windows machine to type a document. I would then save that document to the #1 HD shared out from my Mac. Then, once a week, I would backup that entire drive to HD #2. As for burning DVDs as an emergency backup, Record Now does allow you to burn and verify over a network, so that's all set.

So, that's the long story. The short question is: how do I backup files and verify that the backup is correct? Does OSX have a built-in backup feature, or command line, that works like NTBackup (i.e. backup data, then verify data)? or does it automatically verify data when it copies? Since I am going over network cables and FW/USB cables, I have to make sure the data was transferred correctly.

I understand I can learn the whole .TAR/.GZIP, or whatever, but would like to avoid that.

Any suggestions?



macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
All up in your bidness
I think you are making too much of the "verifying data" thing. I am not a backup expert, but I think verifying is more useful for less reliable media like CD/DVD-Rs, floppies, tapes etc. HDs are MUCH more reliable and produce a single flipped bit error in like 1 in a bazillion trillion writes. HDs tend to either work right or totally crap out - they don't tend to produce little write errors here and there.

Have you looked at Disk Utility in Mac OS X? It can make disk images (bit-for-bit copies of your drives). I guess you would just make an image of a drive and save it onto the backup drive. (In the menubar, Images --> New) You can also use it to verify images afterwards, if it makes you feel better. You could also use Finder to drag & drop all that stuff, if that is an acceptable alternative.


macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
LaLaLand, CA
Plus, OS X can format a large drive as FAT32. Readable and writable to Macs and Windows. And yeah, don't worry about verifying. If it works, it worked.