Time Machine: How to access from Win7?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by MacNoobGuy, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. MacNoobGuy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    #1
    hi all, i've got a 1tb external drive that contains my Time Machine backup and my mac mini is connected to it via USB. i only have one mac machine in my home. everything has been working great and i backup daily. however, i'll be in a lot of trouble if my mac mini were to die if i'm unable to access the Time Machine. Time Machine stores all of my data and work from my mac mini.

    does anyone know what i could do if my mac mini were to die? how could i access my data and work on Time Machine?

    does apple have an app that'll just copy all my files from my mac mini to an external drive? i think this would make things much easier!

    thanks, any help would be really great.
     
  2. andrewp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2008
    #2
    There are several WIN applications that can read time machine backups. I used MacDrive last time I had an issue.
     
  3. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #3
    Drop that 1TB into a good NAS like Synology. So much more flexible.
     
  4. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #4
    RE: TM...tmutil...

    Hi MacNoobGuy,

    I'm not sure what you are asking, so I'll take a slightly different tack from the first two replies...

    Say you have a TM backup made from your Mac mini. Your Mac mini dies a horrible death, and you won't be able to revive it. However, your TM backup volume survives. Then can you somehow "use" the TM backup made on your defunct Mac mini on a another computer? The answer is yes.

    There are Time Machine Terminal commands, the "tmutil" commands, that allow you to "inherit" your old TM backups on a new machine. See the manpage, "man tmutil", for details.

    Secondly, if you wish to "just copy all my files", you might in addition to your TM backup, think about also making a second clone backup. The clone backup is an exact copy of your boot drive, and it itself is also bootable. Thus in case of catastrophic boot drive failure, you can boot off of your external clone. Personally, I like the Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) clone backup application, but there are several others available. I personally make both TM backups (to get those automatic hourly differential backups) as well as a weekly CCC clone backup (to better protect against a boot drive failure).

    Regards,
    Switon
     
  5. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #5
    If you want your Mac data/work files to be to be accessible from your Windows 7 machine, you can do a recurring backup to a storage device that is accessible from Windows. That's either a network storage device or an external drive that's formatted in a Windows 7 accessible file format; ExFAT is read/writeable by both Win7 and OS X.

    I would recommend:

    1) Keep the external backup you currently have running for Time Machine as is. This gives you a safety net if the mini goes TU and you want to do a full system restore to a repaired or replaced Mac.

    2) Consider getting a NAS device that is Windows 7 compatible (your Mac will see it as well). Or another external drive formatted as ExFat (you can do this with Disk Utility). Your budget limitations would best dictate which device you choose.

    If money is no object, I'd go with a good and reputable NAS like QNap or Synology. Otherwise, if it's gotta be on the cheap, a portable USB drive that's large enough to fit your data set times two (for future growth).

    3) Get a third party backup program such as Carbon Clone or Chronosync or Get Backup. I use Chronosync for its flexible features but find Get Backup to be very easy to use if you just want to schedule a few simple folder syncs.

    4) Use your backup software to synchronize the desired data/work folders to your NAS or ExFat device. For access from Windows in the event your Mac went down hard. Set it for hourly/weekly/etc. intervals as you see fit.

    This, of course, is dependent on the data formats being accessible from a Windows program. I.e., Mac Word/Excell/Powerpoint can be read from Windows Office but not Project or Access files. Likewise, I don't believe there is a Windows program that can read an iPhoto library...just something to think about.

    ______________________________________

    After thought: If your machines are on the same network, and your Windows 7 machine has sufficient hard drive space, you can share out a folder location to your Mac mini. Then set your Mac's backup software to perform an occassional backup of the desired data/work folders right to the Windows 7 machine.
     
  6. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2012
    #6
    ok thanks a lot. i just don't want to be tied down to have to use a Mac to copy the files from Time Machine. i want to be able to copy the files from Windows. with Carbon Copy Cloner or another App to clone the drive, will i be able to access the files from within Windows?

    currently, the Time Machine backup drive is a 1TB external USB drive. i can't use the same drive for the Cloned Image so i'd be using a different external drive for the Cloned Image, which is fine.

    as long as i can copy the files from Windows i'd be happy!

    i've encrypted my TM external 1TB drive using the built in encryption. does anyone know if i can access Time Machine from Windows if it's been encrypted?

    thanks
     
  7. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    #7
    ok thanks.

    i really appreciate both of you for your help.

    what about this as my backup solution:

    - Keep using Time Machine on the 1TB external USB drive i setup.

    - Use Carbon Clone to backup the Mac Mini's hard drive and place it on a different 1TB external USB drive. this will be easily accessible from within Windows right?

    so i'll have 2 backups. when i use Carbon Clone, how will the files from the Mac Mini look in Windows? will i be able to easily copy and paste the files from Carbon Clone?

    thanks!
     
  8. switon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #8
    RE: clones...

    Hi MacNoobGuy,

    When you use CCC to clone your Mac mini, you get an actual clone (made using the "rsync" utility and remote backup protocols so it keeps ownerships, permissions, links, etc.) of the Mac mini's hard drive. So, whatever access to the Mac mini's hard drive you have from Windows, you will have the same access to the clone. I don't know what you are using to read/write from Windows to the Mac mini's HFS+ volume, but it will work the same way on the clone as it does on the Mac mini's actual volume.

    When you make the CCC clone, make sure that you also add the Restore partition (using the Disk Center in CCC) and make the CCC clone volume bootable. Then check to make sure you can boot your machine from the CCC clone.

    Good luck,
    Switon
     
  9. marzer macrumors 65816

    marzer

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #9
    Your Carbon Cloner backup files will only be accessible by Windows 7 if the drive is formatted in FAT32 or ExFAT. Therefore, you will not want to create a bootable copy of the mini. That would require the drive to be formatted in HFS+, making it unreadable by Windows 7 without third party software.

    Did you see my suggestion for backing up data files directly to the Windows computer through file sharing? Are your machines networked?
     
  10. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    #10
    ok thanks, CCC sounds good.

    i'll format the external drives to ExFAT. would i be able to access the files in the CCC clone via Windows?

    i just want to make sure i can access the video/music files on the Mac via Windows. i'm happy with Time Machine so i want to keep using it, but i want to add on something else in case the Mac dies and i need to use Windows to access the Mac's files.

    ----------

    yah, i did bro, but i'm not using a network.

    if the Mac Mini's hard drive dies, would i be able to boot from the Time Machine 1TB drive? this is important. if i can use Time Machine to boot, then i'd be happy if i can just access the Mac Mini's files from within Windows even if i can't use CCC to boot the Mac. i don't know, what do you think?

    thanks
     
  11. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2012
    #11
    does anyone know if i can access an encrypted Time Machine external drive using TransMac or MacDrive or HFSExplorer?
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    I tend to doubt that, as it would need access to the encryption keys - something apple doesn't really publish.
     
  13. switon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    #13
    Hi MacNoobGuy,

    First of all, I do not believe that you can boot from a TM sparsebundle. You can , however, boot from a CCC clone as long as you set it up to do so. You may be able to boot into recovery mode from a volume that contains the TM sparsebundle as long as you also include the Recover Partition on that volume.

    Unless you find Windows software that decrypts "on the fly" HFS+ volumes, then I doubt you will be able to can access to TM encrypted backups from Windows. I don't know, maybe such software exists, but I've never really looked for it. On the other hand, if encryption is important to you, then you might consider a third party package, such as TrueCrypt (free), that performs the "on the fly" encryption/decryption of a volume for you. TrueCrypt runs under Mac OS, Windows, and Linux, and thus you should have access from any of these OSes. You would then run the normal unencrypted TM to make your backups, but the volume you back up to would be encrypted by TrueCrypt. TrueCrypt under Windows would then decrypt this volume for you. (I've tinkered with TrueCrypt under Linux, but don't use it routinely.)

    Let's get back to your original reason for asking about backups, clones, and copies.

    (1) The best way to access files from Mac OS X and Windows, is to use a network share. I know you say that your machines are not networked, but this would be the best solution: one copy of your files thus minimizes disk space while still allowing access from the Mac and from the PC.

    (2) TM backups to provide hourly backups of all of your latest work.

    (3) CCC clones (weekly, say) of your boot drive to provide a bootable volume from which you can boot your Mac mini if its hard drive ever crashes.

    Good luck,
    Switon

    P.S. If you really want to have a copy of some of your Mac files for your Windows machine, then try "rsync" to copy directories and files from the Mac to the PC.
     
  14. MacNoobGuy, Mar 12, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013

    MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2012
    #14
    ok thanks a bunch man.

    yah i don't have the machines networked right now. i'd rather leave them as they are just so it keeps things simple. how would keeping the machines networked be easier than just backing up the files onto an external USB drive?

    if i were to use CCC or rsync, would i need to connect them to an external USB drive that's formatted to HFS+ or could i use a USB drive that's formatted as ExFAT?

    one other question i have is on what Time Machine excludes from backups. i see a list after i 'options' and it says 'Exclude these items from backups: Bootcamp, USB Pocket Drive, Time Machine'. so i'm guessing Time Machine can't backup a Bootcamp partition, the USB drive i've got connected to the Mac Mini and obviously it can't backup itself? i just want to be clear on this

    thanks for any help!
     
  15. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #15
    (Hi MacNoobGuy, I tried to answer these questions in my PM response.)
     
  16. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2012
    #16
    ok thanks i'll check it out now.
     
  17. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2012
    #17
    can anyone explain how 'exclusions' work?
     
  18. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2012
    #18
    anyone?
     
  19. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #19
    Exclusions is what it sounds like... anything in that list will not be backed up by Time Machine. External disks are automatically added to the exclusions list, so you will need to remove them from the list if your want them backed up by TM.

    Time Machine does not backup the Bootcamp partition.
     
  20. MacNoobGuy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 18, 2012
    #20
    ok thanks, but are you sure it's not possible to backup external drives? i just tried adding my 4gb USB stick and it won't allow me to back it up.
     
  21. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #21
    I think you misunderstood me. You can backup external drives like your USB key. It is just that external drives are automatically added to the exclude list. So just plug in the USB key, then go to Time Machine prefs and remove that drive from the exclude list. It should back it up then.
     

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