setting up a basic home network

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by haganaga, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. haganaga macrumors member

    May 20, 2010
    Hi folks,

    I'm new here so please, be gentle. I'm new to the world of mac. I got an iMac a couple months ago and have become a convert. So much so, that my girlfriend now wants to get a macbook. We have an ipod touch and over the next few months will have an iphone (hers) and an ipad (mine). Given all of these new devices and such, I want to set up a simple home network so we can each access everything without being dependent on the others computer. For instance, she will want to play with the pictures we have on the iMac when I'm not home but will want to use her macbook when I'm using the iMac.

    I currently have all of our media (500+GB worth) on an external HDD attached to the iMac USB and our documents are saved on the iMac HDD. From what I've been reading, the simplest way to handle all of this would be to keep all of the media (movies/music/etc) on a Time Capsule 2TB and manually backup from time to time using an additional 2TB external HDD plugged into the Time Capsule USB. Then for backing up the iMac and Macbook where our documents live, simply use Time Machine to back up to the Time Capsule.

    Given all of that, does this seem like a good way to set all of this up? Is there a simpler (and cheaper) way for both iMac and Macbook to access all of the same media while being able to have everything backed up as well? I'm a little concerned about the short lifespan of TC's I've been reading about but hopefully that's an issue that's been resolved.

    In a perfect world, we would be able to keep everything (all media and documents) saved on the time capsule then use time machine to backup to the external HDD plugged into the Time Capsule USB, though I'm not sure that's possible.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I hoped the Airport Extreme would be the way to go since it's cheaper but I've read you cannot use time machine to backup to an external HDD on that without some "maneuvering" so just wanted to avoid that since I'm no expert by any stretch.

    Thanks again.
  2. mrbash macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2008
    Sharing music and videos between your devices is straightforward using iTunes Home Sharing. Simply set up a common account and import movies and music into that account.

    Sharing pictures is not so easy as iPhoto has its own library that you have to import into. If you are just using a folder of pictures, you can use any device that both computers have access to (i.e., set up a share).

    I would discourage the purchase of Time Capsule as it is very expensive for what it does, and is not expandable. A better solution would be to get a Airport Extreme and attach an external hard drive to that. Then use that HDD for your Time Machine backups.
  3. Lokrado macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2009
    first off you can replace the time capsule hard drive, I just did that for my friend. And you can't bck up to a AEBS or TC USB disk, atleast not withiute some heavylifting terminal usage, and then it will still create errors.
  4. reubs macrumors 68000

    Jun 22, 2006
    This article disagrees with you:

    Have there been changes lately that make this not possible?
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    What you are saying will work but it will be quite expensive.

    Simple and cheapest (use the iMac as your data server):
    - Leave your iMac on all the time (you can allow your hard disk and monitor sleep though)
    - Sync the Macbook to the iMac via Chronosync

    Back up
    - Get a large external hard drive that can handle the full capacity of your iMac and Macbook.
    - Use Carbon Copy Cloner, hereinafter CCC, instead of Time Machine.

    With CCC you get an exact bootable backup of your computer. That way when your iMac's or Macbook's hard drive fail you will be able to boot off your backup drive and clone that backup to the replacement drive, eliminating downtime. To accomplish this bootable backup your external should be formatted with all the Mac OS partitions on your iMac and Macbook, you can find all of these via Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility). So if you have two 500GB hard drives and a 1TB hard drive then get a 2TB and partition accordingly via Disk Utility. Then you can set up the CCC scheduled tasks.

    I would actually get two externals that you can swap them out. Then keep the other in a bolted down fire/water resistant safe.

    Centralized files (ie multimedia) can be put in a shared folders on the iMac for all devices to have concurrent access to. You can also set limits so only some users can add/delete files while others can only view them. You can also share your files online making them accessible anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

    Dedicated Device:

    If you want a dedicated device I would build a simple file server with Windows 7 or XP home. I say build one as you can control the parts to keep energy usage at a minimum yet maintain expandability. This is really the best option though the most difficult to set up. As it is cheaper than the time capsule yet more expandable than the iMac. Plus depending on your usage it can be more energy efficient than the iMac. Syncing would be performed by Chronosync, Backups of the server via Memeo Premium Backup and centralized files by automated mounting of shared folders.

    Linux would be more efficient for networking but would increase difficulty in configuring at least five fold.

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