Time Machine seems useless if you have a Macbook

zub3qin

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 10, 2007
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I have a Macbook and installed Leopard last weekend.
Time Machine is great in concept, but I almost never "dock" my Macbook on my desk to the HD. Thus Time Machine is probably useless for me.

1) Does the Macbook have to be attached to the HD when you delete a file, for it to be in Time Machine? In other words, can I be on my Macbook in Starbucks, delete 3 files, and then that evening hook up to my HD... will Time Machine put those 3 deleted files in its database somehow?

If not, Time Machine is kind of useless for laptop owners. It becomes identical to any other backup system I had with Tiger- in that it only backs up when I think to hook up to the external HD.

How are others with laptops using Time Machine?

Anyone think wireless Time Machine (what was originally promised) is still coming, or is that not going to happen?


Thanks!
 

gr8tfly

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2006
5,299
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It will track all changes that occurred while "mobile", then create an incremental backup which will reflect those changes. So, yes, if you go to the directory (using Time Machine) that the files were deleted from, they won't be there - but only from that point forward.
 
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tersono

macrumors 68000
Jan 18, 2005
1,999
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UK
I just connect my MBP to my firewire HD once per day (usually for an hour or so first thing in the morning). Time Machine catches up with it's backups then. Personally I find that it works fine for me, but I guess it depends on how you use your computer
 
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CavemanUK

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2006
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Rhyl, North Wales
Time Machine basically makes periodic snapshots of your system. It doesnt track changes as such. So basically if you do a load of stuff while mobile and plug it into the external drive. Time machine makes a backup of what the machine is like at that point only... if you went to starbucks.. created a file, sat in starbucks for 5 hours and then deleted the file, then Time Machine would have no record of that file ever existing.
 
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mags631

Guest
Mar 6, 2007
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1) Does the Macbook have to be attached to the HD when you delete a file, for it to be in Time Machine? In other words, can I be on my Macbook in Starbucks, delete 3 files, and then that evening hook up to my HD... will Time Machine put those 3 deleted files in its database somehow?
From Apple's web site, specifically the Time Machine feature page (link):
When your mobile Mac is connected to your backup drive, Time Machine works as you’d expect. When it isn’t connected, Time Machine also works as you’d expect. It keeps track of which files have changed since the last backup and backs them up to your backup drive the next time you connect. On any Mac, if Time Machine is unable to perform a backup, that’s duly noted in its preferences pane.
 
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CavemanUK

macrumors 6502
Jun 29, 2006
437
8
Rhyl, North Wales
I just connect my MBP to my firewire HD once per day (usually for an hour or so first thing in the morning). Time Machine catches up with it's backups then. Personally I find that it works fine for me, but I guess it depends on how you use your computer
This is fine. This means you would have 1 (maybe 2) entries per day for time machine.
 
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Arkanok

macrumors 6502a
Feb 13, 2007
541
110
Actually, I have a question relating to this topic too.

Since time machine does its thing once every hour, lets say I'm using it away from home, and at some point between that 1 hour, a file is created, then deleted almost immediately; before Time Machine even has a chance to take the snapshot. Will that file be recorded, or will it not be, considdering that it didn't even do its snapshot?
 
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Draddy

macrumors regular
Mar 16, 2007
238
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you don't understand the concept of backing up....

It isn't "saving deleted files" ... it's "smart backing up" your entire computer... TM puts your WHOLE computer on the harddrive, and tracks when certain files were modified/deleted.

so as long as the file was there before your last backup to time machine, you can delete whatever you want and it'll be there.
 
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aLoC

macrumors 6502a
Nov 10, 2006
726
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Since time machine does its thing once every hour, lets say I'm using it away from home, and at some point between that 1 hour, a file is created, then deleted almost immediately; before Time Machine even has a chance to take the snapshot. Will that file be recorded, or will it not be, considdering that it didn't even do its snapshot?
No, there won't be a backup of that file that only existed for a few seconds.

And Apple's own quote about it remembering which files have changed is not quite accurate either. How it works is, as you work on your computer, Leopard keeps a log of what *folders* you change.

When Time Machine next runs it looks at Leopard's log of changed folders, and compares them to the folders in the last successful backup, and makes a copy of any new or modified files in them.
 
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dacreativeguy

macrumors 68020
Jan 27, 2007
2,014
210
There is no need to "plug the external hd into the computer for an hour every day". Just plug the HD in when you feel like it, right click (or click and hold) on the TM icon in the dock, and select "Back up now". The incremental changes will save to the external drive and then you can detach the drive and move on with your life. I didn't see any mention of this in the help or docs, but it is there and is exactly what I need for my Macbook Pro.
 
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zub3qin

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Apr 10, 2007
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1C28 Safari/419.3)

but how is this different than any other backup program you may have used prior to time machine? plug in the drive, run the program, and do the backup. Why is time machine better for laptops?
 
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yetanotherdave

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2007
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Bristol, England
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1C28 Safari/419.3)

but how is this different than any other backup program you may have used prior to time machine? plug in the drive, run the program, and do the backup. Why is time machine better for laptops?
It's advantage for laptops over say carbon copy cloner is that it already knows which files to back up[1], where CCC polls the entire drive and copies changes. This means a backup takes only a few minutes (depending on amount of data changed).
It's also integrated into the system, more user friendly etc.

[1] a daemon runs in the background logging all directory changes, this is new in leopard. Time machine looks at the log this creates and simply backs up changes made in the log since last time it looked.
 
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saltyzoo

macrumors 65816
Oct 4, 2007
1,065
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If you unplug your TM drive and create a file then plug it back in and the backup occurs, you will get a backup of your file.

However, if you unplug your TM drive, create a file, then delete it, and then plug in the dive and a backup occurs, you will NOT get a backup of your file.

I use it with my MBP. Even a daily or weekly backup (vs hourly) is a whole lot better than no backup at all.
 
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