Time Machine Backup to Airport Extreme + USB HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by flynz4, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. flynz4, Aug 22, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I've seen posts like this for a while... and the answers seem to be confusing.

    Personally, I have been using Time Capsules for my family backups. I have a friend who has an Airport Extreme and a 1TB HDD... and wants to back up his MBP. Clearly he can connect the HDD to the MBP... but that is a manual operation... and backups really should not be manual.

    It would be obviously better if he connected the HDD to the Airport Extreme... but I have heard mixed results and opinions. They range from:

    • It works fine
    • It can be made to work with tweaks... and then it continues to work fine
    • Same as above... but eventually it fails and you lose your backup
    • It works fine... but Apple does not support it and you should expect that any system update might break the backups
    • TM backups work differently depending if the destination is a local or networked drive... and if the network backup fails, then you cannot connect the HDD locally.
    • Combinations of the above

    Advice please? Since I use a TC for local backup... I am not sure how the AE+HDD works. My friend is a professional photographer who just moved back to the United States... and he needs his work backed up. Should he just get a TC? Also, I'll be encouraging him to use Crashplan+ or some other online backup program as well.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. nunes013 macrumors 65816


    May 24, 2010
    i took an airport extreme with a western digital my book and plugged it into the ebb port. it worked sorta. it would do a new full system backup every time it backed up. so i called apple and asked and they said its not supported and that will happen. i don't know if there is a way to fix it or if its different with a network drive but thats my experience.
  3. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    Time capsule and time machine is not really what you want for a profesional back up.

    you need different devices in different places.
    for example 2 USB drives, with the same info on them, one of them stored off-site somewhere, so keep one at a friends house, and every friday swap them out. that way if something bad happens like a fire or a robbery, you're only out 1 weeks work. and i would recommend a fire safe for the local drive.
  4. flynz4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    The problem with that approach is that it relies on human intervention. I like one automated backup locally, and a second automated backup to the cloud. I personally use TM/TC locally and Crashplan+ to the cloud.

    I am just trying to get my friend through his initial backup needs without spending too much money. He and his wife are moving back to the US, and they both need to find new jobs. His photography business does not pay the bills... especially as he needs to build a new client base.

    It sounds to me like he should direct attach his USB drive to his MBP every night and let backup run. I also think he should sign up for one of the automated cloud backups. That covers his offsite disaster recovery.

    I'll let him know not to try connecting his USB drive to his Airport Extreme for backup purposes.

    Thanks for the input (everyone).


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