Time Machine doesn't create bootable backups, right?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by speekez, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. speekez macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2003
    Just to be clear, Time Machine does not create a bootable restore backup of your system, correct? I'm trying to decide what to include and exclude from my Time Machine backup, and I don't see a big point in backing up the System folder and Applications if I can't restore them after an OS crash. For example, if my main hard drive with the OS crashes or my OS gets corrupted, will there be any useful items (in terms of OS) in my Time Machine backups that I could restore? Or would I have to reinstall the OS from the Leopard install disks anyway? I mean, if your main OS drive knocks out, you'll have no way to access and use the Time Machine data anyway until you reinstall a Leopard OS somewhere to read it, correct?

    I guess if I accidentally deleted an Application, Time Machine would be useful in that regard... but at that point, I'd probably be better off re-installing from the Application CD just to make sure all the files.

    I totally see how Time Machine is useful for backing up one's User folder and all the documents & settings inside.

    Any thoughts or clarifications?

  2. jellomizer macrumors 6502


    Sep 12, 2006
    Upstate NY
    I would say no.

    I don't think they are bootable backups. Because one Trime Machine Disk can handle backups for multiple computers. And if you look at the backup files it isn't a 1:1 match of the file system...

    But what sopposoly you can do is boot from the leopard CD and there is an option to pull from Time Machine so all your settings will be retreaved. So it would be a good idea to keep you settings save... The only thing I blocked was the Parallels directory because everytime you enter windows it will backup a 4 gig file.
  3. ~J~ macrumors 6502

    Jul 27, 2007
    3rd Rock from the sun
    Ok... TM does NOT create bootable backups... HOWEVER, I would *highly* suggest that you include your system folder. In the event of a total crash (necessitating a full re-install), you would do the following:

    1. Use the original Leopard DVD to do a fresh install
    2. During the install, you can point the installer to your TM backup, at which time it will restore all of your music, movies, photos... and system settings, applications, etc.

    So I would say let TM backup your system folder, it can save you a big headache and a lot of manual, time-consuming, labor in the event of a restore.
  4. speekez thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2003
    Thanks. This was helpful and I didn't know about that option of calling upon Tim Machine when reinstalling from the DVD. In that case, I'll probably include the System and Apps folder then
  5. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    I haven't tried it myself, but if you let TM backup everything on your HD, then you can do a complete restore of your system by using the Leopard install DVD.

    The drawback of a TM backup vs. a fully cloned backup using SuperDuper or CCC is that you can't just take your backup and boot another computer with it. So if your computer died, you would have to wait for it to be repaired (or find another computer that you could re-format) and then restore your backup. With a clone, you can plug the backup into another machine and immediately be up and running while your computer is being repaired.

    Fortunately, TM saves all the files in the backup as normal files, so even if you can't boot from your backup, you can easily grab some files to use on another machine.
  6. kkat69 macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    This is true, it can be "Restored" if you boot from the Leopard DVD.

    I have done this. It has an option in the install to restore from previous back up and looks for the connected drive that has your time machine info.

    Works like a champ too.
  7. speekez thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2003
  8. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    KKAT - is the restored system EXACTLY as you left it? Are your desktop background and other pref settings retained? Did the installer ask you to choose a backup set (by date) or did it just automatically restore to the latest backup on your TM drive?
  9. djduran macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2007
    Post Time Machine Restore - Like You Never Left

    Hi Folks,
    I was having some issues with my new iMac I bought during the Leopard launch. I took it in wanting to just replace it outright and the Apple Store was happy to help. Now to reinstall my system.

    Despite being 2 weeks after the Leopard launch the new machine I brought home had Tiger installed... what's a guy to do? No worries... just popped in the Leopard update disk and booted from it... then INSTEAD OF INSTALLING LEOPARD just choose Restore System. Plugged in my TM drive which was promptly recognized with a list of different backup timepoints and choose restore.

    About 90 minutes later the system was IDENTICAL to the one I had just returned. My Newsfire feeds were where I left off, pictures, settings, user accounts, etc... it was literally as if I'd never left.

    Now that said there were a couple surprises. I had to add the new MAC address for the Airport card into my router MAC address filter settings. I had to reauthorize iTunes because this is somehow tied to the particulars of your machine (maybe serial number or something), Mail had to recreate the DB on first launch which took about 10 minutes but all my settings and smart folders where there afterwords, and that's about it!

    Bottom line is I think people's concerns of not having a BOOTABLE backup are over blown unless you have specific needs to be able to boot up and get back to work within a few minutes of a crash I don't think it's a concern.
  10. coocooforcocoap macrumors 6502


    Sep 22, 2007
    kathmandu, nepal
    that would be us, where the nearest apple store is 3.5 hours away by private jet (if there was one here). target mode machines and cheap usb bootables are our insurance policy for hardware/software failures. r u saying this concept is dead in Leopard? I suppose superduper/ccc will be updated for leopard, but now wondering if this function will be supported....cheers!
  11. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    Superduper is currently being updated, according to their web site. Time Machine is an "everyman" backup system to make backing up so easy that everyone will do it. But there is still a market for bootable backups, as you are describing.
  12. djduran macrumors newbie

    Nov 10, 2007
    Sure some will still prefer bootable backups and yes superduper is going to be updated according to the developers site. For me I'd rather have the TimeMachine versioning (ie, multiple backup points going back hours, days, and weeks) over a single full clone in case I screw something up without realizing it right away. And I think people are getting the wrong idea about the TimeMachine restore process.

    For a SuperDuper Bootable backup you can plug in your drive, boot, and be up in running in a few minutes but at some point you still need to copy your bootable image back to your Mac which will take a few hours.

    In TimeMachine you can restore whatever files you please from the TimeMachine interface. If you have a major issue and need to restore the complete system you put in your OS X DVD, restart, and restore a full backup from any of the timepoints you like. This too takes an hour or two.

    In writing this I realized one of the limitations here is that IF your Harddrive is what crapped out on your Mac, a bootable backup would be the only way to get up and running right away without service. I tend to think that if my HD isn't working probably the rest of the machine is screwed up as well (stolen, burned down, flooded, etc) so my Bootable backup might not get me anywhere anyway.

    Bottom line is I reject the notion that TimeMachine is for the 'lesser' folks and Bootable Backup for the serious users. I've run both. I have over 1TB in 2 external drives that for the last 6 months I've performed regular SuperDuper backups and rotated them off site for added security. I'll probably continue to copy critical data to an offsite drive just in case the place burns down but for my money... TimeMachine is stellar!
  13. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    This is not the case. Hard Drives are one of the few components of a computer that have moving parts. Therefore, they often fail long before other components. Hard Drives in laptops are especially vulnerable. I have a laptop that was dropped a few times and the Hard Drive eventually failed. I replaced the drive and the computer is working perfectly now.

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