Time Machine backup frequency

AV8TOR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 8, 2010
169
0
Fort Worth TX
I was curious to what frequency you are using Time Machine to run it's backups? I am asking I guess with the use of the editors for Time Machine. Once an hour seems excessive to me and was thinking more like once a day.
 

AdamA9

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2010
1,206
335
Mine is constant. I have a Time Capsule and my current state is always up to date and backed up. Any changes I make and they're saved to the TC. It's interested when I download something, I see the TC updating to save it :)
 

prss14

macrumors 6502
Jul 18, 2009
275
417
Kentucky
I agree with the OP that every hour is too much. I have the automatic backups turned off. Yes, that means that it is up to me to hit backup now. Whenever I purchase some new music/movies/create any new documents the first thing I do is Backup Now. For me it would just be a lot of wasted writes on my TC.
 

dangerfish

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
530
111
I have the automatic backups turned off.
Well, you and the OP can certainly backup however you like. Its your preference. But that really was not the intent of Time Machine. It is meant to be turned on and forgotten about. It backs up everything continuously so you never have to worry about it.
Do you use your seatbelt only for trips greater than 5 miles so you dont unnecessarily wear it out?
 

akkkmed

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2010
332
0
I hate to ask this here, but do you guys know of a Time Machine alternative for Windows? Until I get my MBP, I'm looking for the same -easy- functionality of TM for my Windows 7 laptop. Thanks!
 

dangerfish

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
530
111
b) aren't a matter of life or death.
I guess it depends on what you use your computers for. For business use, I would say data loss is figuratively life and death. Very bad things would happen if I lost my data, so I use TM in conjunction with two other backup methods for certain data. If you arent that concerned with the possibility of not getting something backed up, then do it manually.
 

mstrze

macrumors 68000
Nov 6, 2009
1,916
0
It's really no different running it once an hour making tinier (or no...if no changes...very rare while working/surfing) writes to the drive compared to a once a day 1-5 minute write of the changes.

I second the 'set it and forget it' aspect of Time Machine. I mean, why worry about how often it runs? It recognizes any and all changes to allow you to get your system back after a disaster.

If you choose to go once a day, or "as-needed" by YOU starting updates manually, Murphy's Law will pretty much guarantee that because of that, you will lose extremely important documents within the hour or two of your impending hard drive crash. Documents you would not have lost if TM was set to do its job as designed.

Is there a good reason to not let it run every hour, as designed?
 

scienide09

macrumors 65816
May 5, 2007
1,384
0
Canada
Change the interval

In case you weren't aware, there are lots of ways to change the backup interval. THere are even some apps that will do it.

The easiest way is to simply modify the plist file that launches the backups. See this link. I don't need constant backups, so I used this method to change my backups from once every hour to once every 24hrs. This still gives me the "set it and forget it" functionality of TM (I don't need to worry about manually starting the backups), plus, it preserves drive space since I'm not backing up as often.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,264
30
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
I guess it depends on what you use your computers for. For business use, I would say data loss is figuratively life and death. Very bad things would happen if I lost my data, so I use TM in conjunction with two other backup methods for certain data. If you arent that concerned with the possibility of not getting something backed up, then do it manually.
Data loss isn't the issue, as prss14 (the person you replied to) does back up their data. The (non)issue is the frequency of backups.

It remains to be seen whether or not continuous hourly writes to a TC or other external drive actually contributes more to the lifespan of the drive than powering/spinning up/down at more random intervals, but in a lot of cases there's no point. Is it necessary to run hourly backups while you sleep? Not really.
 

hellfire88

macrumors 6502
Apr 28, 2008
355
2
There's a lot of various Backup software for Windows (as I'm sure there are for Mac). In terms of a Microsoft solution as the Time Capsule is an Apple solution for their OS X, there is the Windows Home Server boxes like this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859110001&cm_re=windows_home_server-_-59-110-001-_-Product

Basically its a NAS (network attached storage) + backup box. You can install the software on your Windows PC and it'll run backups for you just like Time Capsule would on Mac OSX. Also the Windows Home Server boxes are pretty versatile in that they can store all your files and stream media files stored on it to say, Xbox360's and other media set top boxes.

Installing 3rd-party add-on software can add even more features like you can host a basic picture website on it etc to share pictures with friends + family.

The Asus I linked has 2 Hard drive bays, 1 500GB is included and using Promo code: EMCYRYW64 They will include a free 1TB drive for 1.5TB total. A pro of this is that you can set up "file/folder mirroring" so that your files are duplicated in case one hard drive dies you won't lose all your files since its duplicated on the other hard drive. The Time Capsule can't do this since it only has room for one hard drive (you can set up backup to an external USB drive I supposed).
 

stridemat

Moderator
Staff member
Apr 2, 2008
10,980
589
UK
In case you weren't aware, there are lots of ways to change the backup interval. THere are even some apps that will do it.

The easiest way is to simply modify the plist file that launches the backups. See this link. I don't need constant backups, so I used this method to change my backups from once every hour to once every 24hrs. This still gives me the "set it and forget it" functionality of TM (I don't need to worry about manually starting the backups), plus, it preserves drive space since I'm not backing up as often.
Thanks for the link, I have looking for something that would do this.
 

aross99

macrumors 68000
Dec 17, 2006
1,538
0
East Lansing, MI
I set mine to backup daily @ 11pm. Works great. I backup to my Airport Extreme, so it take a bit longer than a direct connect hard drive, and I got tired of seeing it run all the time.
 

mstrze

macrumors 68000
Nov 6, 2009
1,916
0
Does anyone know if TM runs at night? I mean...what files would have changed to necessitate a backup over the overnight hours? if you are away from the machine, and no changes are made to the HD...what is TM writing?
 

akkkmed

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2010
332
0
There's a lot of various Backup software for Windows (as I'm sure there are for Mac). In terms of a Microsoft solution as the Time Capsule is an Apple solution for their OS X, there is the Windows Home Server boxes like this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859110001&cm_re=windows_home_server-_-59-110-001-_-Product

Basically its a NAS (network attached storage) + backup box. You can install the software on your Windows PC and it'll run backups for you just like Time Capsule would on Mac OSX. Also the Windows Home Server boxes are pretty versatile in that they can store all your files and stream media files stored on it to say, Xbox360's and other media set top boxes.

Installing 3rd-party add-on software can add even more features like you can host a basic picture website on it etc to share pictures with friends + family.

The Asus I linked has 2 Hard drive bays, 1 500GB is included and using Promo code: EMCYRYW64 They will include a free 1TB drive for 1.5TB total. A pro of this is that you can set up "file/folder mirroring" so that your files are duplicated in case one hard drive dies you won't lose all your files since its duplicated on the other hard drive. The Time Capsule can't do this since it only has room for one hard drive (you can set up backup to an external USB drive I supposed).
Thanks, but I'm mainly just looking to back up to my external hard drive. If possible, I want the functionality to go back to a certain day and see that day's changes, etc. If I can't do it, then fine. I just thought there might be the same type of program for Windows/external HDD's.
 

AdamA9

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2010
1,206
335
I agree with the OP that every hour is too much. I have the automatic backups turned off. Yes, that means that it is up to me to hit backup now. Whenever I purchase some new music/movies/create any new documents the first thing I do is Backup Now. For me it would just be a lot of wasted writes on my TC.
Well, you and the OP can certainly backup however you like. Its your preference. But that really was not the intent of Time Machine. It is meant to be turned on and forgotten about. It backs up everything continuously so you never have to worry about it.
Do you use your seatbelt only for trips greater than 5 miles so you dont unnecessarily wear it out?
The second point. I always find I'm one of these people who thinks about saving just at the point of failure. At work I'm forever forgetting to his save (auto save sucks in my experience) on Excel and losing data, and I'm the same with the TC. I'm worried the day I turn off auto saves, will be the day I buy something and the damn thing dies!

Anyway, back-ups go on un-noticed. They're done in the background and I never realise when it's hapening without the spinning back-up thing. Each to their own I guess, it just depends how important your data is to you :)
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,703
266
Oregon
There is really no good reason to decrease the Time Machine backup interval. Time Machine only stores the differences between the current and previous backup, so is very efficient. Remember that it only keeps hourly backups for the past 24 hours, so changing it to daily backups only saves the space of files you have frequently changed in the past day. And since one of the features of Time Machine is the ability to recover from deletion and editing mistakes just made, going to a 24 hour frequency loses much of that capability.
 

mattwolfmatt

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2008
1,022
25
Mine is constant. I have a Time Capsule and my current state is always up to date and backed up. Any changes I make and they're saved to the TC. It's interested when I download something, I see the TC updating to save it :)
How do you go about making it backup constantly? I can't find a setting for that.
 

flyfish29

macrumors 68020
Feb 4, 2003
2,173
4
New HAMpshire
I was curious to what frequency you are using Time Machine to run it's backups? I am asking I guess with the use of the editors for Time Machine. Once an hour seems excessive to me and was thinking more like once a day.
I wish I was still making TM back-ups. I started making backups hourly when I got my TC and TM set up, then after about two weeks it quit backing up and I have not had time to troubleshoot it. I do however have a Super Duper backup drive. I really should get that fixed. Ugg.

I agree with others that hourly is fine- it wont change all that much most times .
 

dangerfish

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2007
530
111
How do you go about making it backup constantly? I can't find a setting for that.
There is no setting for that. You just turn it on and thats it. Its all automatic. Nothing to configure other than to tell it where you want the data stored.
 

mattwolfmatt

macrumors 65816
Jun 7, 2008
1,022
25
Mine is constant. I have a Time Capsule and my current state is always up to date and backed up. Any changes I make and they're saved to the TC. It's interested when I download something, I see the TC updating to save it :)
There is no setting for that. You just turn it on and thats it. Its all automatic. Nothing to configure other than to tell it where you want the data stored.
The second response does not make sense with the first one. Adama9 says he downloads a file and it immediately backs it up. You are saying it's configured for it. As I understand it, it only backs up hourly, not constantly.

I have 3 macs with 3 external hard drives, and they all backup hourly. I was trying to figure out if there is a way to do them more frequently. AdamA9 says so. Is he wrong?
 

AV8TOR

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 8, 2010
169
0
Fort Worth TX
No. It will not wake up to do a backup.
That is good to know because our iMac has a lot of down time when we are at work so it will be in sleep mode and not really requiring any backups. That is enough for me to change back to the factory settings.