Time Machine--- Is it for me?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by iMacZealot, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    I'd really love to backup all of my information because I am worried about a hard disk failure. It's happened to me before on my current machine, an iMac G5, and it happened less than a year after I bought it. They were able to save every folder with less than 250 contents, but I think I was lucky that time. The thing that really scares me now is that I have three external hard disks attached to it with significantly more and more important information.

    My 160 GB internal disk right now has 20 GB left, I have an 80 GB EHDD with maybe 7 GB left, my 100 GB EHDD has 40 GB left, and my monster LaCie .5TB disk has about 350 GB left.

    So that's roughly .5TB of data. My main hard disk is mostly general documents, music, and photos, as well as some of my older FCE documents. The other three are most, if not all, are FCS related files. I don't usually delete my original video files, even though I still have them on tape, because I never know when or how far I may have to go back and reuse some of my footage.

    Is Time Machine for me?
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Yes, I would say Time Machine is for everyone.

    ...Although, you're going to need a big external HDD for Time Machine, obviously. Luckily, HDDs are getting cheaper every day it seems.
  3. eddietr macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2006
    I don't see why time machine wouldn't work for you. You'll just need a drive big enough to store all your content.

    And if necessary you can exclude certain folders or drives. If you're tight on backup space.

    The nice thing is it's easy to use and once you set it, there's not much to think about.

    I did full recovery from backup this weekend and it was quick, painless, and perfect.
  4. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    Hmmm.....I wonder if I could convince my family to pitch in for a 1TB Time Capsule. Do you think it's enough for my family?:

    >My dad has a music collection and that's about it
    >My mom just has a lot of e-mails and some QuickBooks files
    >My brother is only home 3-4 weeks out of the year, and he has a giant music collection, some important e-mails, maybe a few Word documents, and that's it
    >My oldest sister doesn't have a Mac
    >My middle sister has a lot of her notes and stuff on Word as well as some VHD work and of course a reasonably large music collection
    >My youngest sister has a lot of college papers, photos, and music collection
    >and then me.

    When I watched the Keynote, did Steve say that you can backup from anywhere in the world? That would be very cool because my brother is in a different country about every month, my middle sister only comes by once or twice a day, and my youngest sister is in college.

    Or am I making that up?
  5. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    With all those audio and video files, your family's needs might be pushing 1 TB.

    Not sure about Jobs' comment, but perhaps it's possible with "Back to my Mac" (a feature of .Mac), but it'd be really slow.
  6. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    What happens then? Is some part of the Civil War erased or something? :p

    So, I have about 450 GB, my dad would have maybe 8, my mom probably less than 5, my brother probably about 50, my middle sister about 40, and my youngest sister about 40.

    EDIT: I see you edited. I never understood what exactly Back to my Mac was, or how it worked. I know I have it, but I don't know how to use it.
  7. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    Keep in mind, Time Machine keeps a backup of system files too, not just personal files, so that could increase your used space (if you weren't already including it in those estimates). Also, Time Machine keeps incremental backups, which allows it to go "back in time." In other words, even if delete files from your computer, they remain on the back drive, and eventually these files keep accumulating.

    Assuming you're under the 1 TB limit when you start, the left-over space will be used to keep past files, until the drive becomes full. The amount of extra space you have determines how far "back in time" you can go.

    Or, if you exceed 1 TB from the beginning, you have to exclude certain files or folders in Time Machine, and these will not be backed-up.

    Back to my Mac is simply a feature of .Mac that keeps track of the IP addresses of your computers (or at least those on which your .Mac account is activated). In other words, anytime one of your computers changes IP addresses it "phones home" to .Mac so your computers can always locate each other through .Mac. ...This allows you to make network connections between the computers, even if they're on different networks or in different parts of the world.

    I'm assuming this would allow you to access your Time Machine drive as well, but like I said, it'd be very slow.
  8. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    I only included system files in my estimate and my two sisters'. I really can't tell what's on my brother's PowerBook, nor do I really know, but I know that he has by far the largest music library out of all of us which is about 20 GB. Whenever something would happen to my music library or a music library of someone I know, I've always used iPod Rip in the past, so really, we probably could exclude music. Those are the only types of files I know of that my brother has; it's doubtful that he has anything else substantial.

    As for my two sisters, they just mostly have Word documents, which don't take up much space at all. I have no idea how large my mom's QuickBooks collection is.

    Can't you just have a point where it starts writing over the oldest backups? How often does Time Machine back up, and what does it back up? I know that it does your entire system on the first sync, but after that it's just any changes, right? Can't I, at some point, allow it to begin deleting the oldest changes?

    So, do I have to pair my computers somehow?
  9. Nugget macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Houston Texas USA
    Time Machine backs up your entire system every hour. It does this in the most space-efficient way possible without duplicating any data that hasn't changed. You turn it on and stop thinking about it. Really, that's all there is to it. Turn it on and don't think about it again until you need to restore something from it.

    When the backup drive fills up, Time Machine will start replacing the oldest backups in order to make room for the newest backups. If you want, you can have it let you know (via a little dialog message box) when this point is reached, but you don't need to pay attention to that unless you absolutely want to.
  10. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    On average, in the 999 :)p) days that I've had my iMac, I grow at a rate of about 420 MB a day, so I would exhaust the 1TB in about three weeks. That's not realistic, however; I use Final Cut on a projective basis, which means I'm only creating one of those masses of GBs every 4-8 hours. I also could certainly cut down a lot of things. For example, I don't think I'd need to backup my LiveType and SoundTrack Pro graphics and loops, respectively, because things like that are already on my install disks, which aren't going away anytime soon.

    If you look at data creation per day, I'm just about on par with everyone else in my family. Day to day, I/we just do the usual web browsing, e-mailing, music, and documents, but I make massive amounts of data every few weeks or so.

    In terms of the initial backup of everything, my rough, rough estimate would be about 500-600 GB. Since my brother and youngest sister are only home about once every 3-4 months, it's not like they'd be contributing data in the time they're away, and when they do come back, they won't be adding much data to the backup either. I think it still is useful to them because if one of them comes back in May with a failed hard disk, at least I can restore it to what it was/is now. A partial loss is better than a full loss.

    Do you still think that my family would exhaust the 1TB quickly?

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