Time Machine when not connected to HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SkydiveGuy, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. SkydiveGuy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    #1
    Ok I am getting ready to purchase a Macbook and keep reading everything I can to lean more about Mac OS X and I can not understnand something about Time Machine.

    Everything I read on Apple.com states that:

    "Time Machine saves the hourly backups for the past 24 hours, daily backups for the past month, and weekly backups for everything older than a month. "

    Does this refer to the actual data backed up on the USB disk or does it mean I can go a couple weeks before plugging into a USB HDD.

    I love the feature and would like to use it, but, the whole reason I like a laptop is not having to have wires everywhere and not have to keep a portable USB drive plugged in the whole time I am using the macbook.

    Will I be able to use my PC for 3 hours and then plug a USB drive in and have it "sync" the backup data for the last 3 hours worth of backups?

    Also, will they be patching the OS so we can just sync to a network drive? This is how I manually backup from my Windoze laptop and think it it is the logical move because who wants to have to keep a freaking USB drive plugged in all the time.
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #2
    As I understand it, yes. Just plug the HD in whenever you have a chance (like once a day) and it will correctly record all of the incremental backups.

    Apple says:
    "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."

    I'm not sure about that, but currently Time Machine can make backups remotely to a drive attached to any computer on the network.

    Apple says:
    "Time Machine can also back up to another Mac running Leopard with Personal File Sharing, Leopard Server, or Xsan storage devices."
     
  3. hob macrumors 68020

    hob

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #3
    That's interesting....

    Last night I moved my iMac and plugged the external drives that it normally uses into my powerbook. The iMac correctly found the iTunes library on the external drive connected to the powerbook and streamed my music over, which I thought was pretty amazing.

    I can't see a way of setting up Time Machine on my laptop so it backs up to the external hard disks connected to my iMac, though...
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    It is very simple to understand: It will automatically backup every hour if the drive is plugged in. If it is not plugged in the backup is skipped (not postponed) for that hour. When you finally do plug the drive in it will backup all your change since the last backup
     
  5. fekimoki macrumors member

    fekimoki

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Location:
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    #5
    So this means, Time Machine couldn't store the backup to Microsoft Windows's shared folder?
     
  6. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #6
    Correct.
     
  7. SkydiveGuy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    #7
    My stupid windoze attitude in all that I do...

    Working as I expect after using windows for so many years means "install software, reboot, plug in device, have an error, patch the drive, reinstall, spend about 1 hour trying to find out how to setup the service, pray that it does what it is supposed to, realize that the way they worded the description was a clever way to sell the product as something it is not."
    As a non-technical user, I would expect it to work as Apple states, so now it makes sense.

    See.... you can tell I am a Windoze guy... I have learned over the years not to trust statements liks this which is why I am questioning it. Well, that and I am used to things being made much more complicated than they should be.

    :D
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    I know it seems simple from your perspective, so please forgive me for making this laborious....

    When the drive is plugged in, it makes a backup every hour on the hour, right? Or at any rate, at a set time within the hour. If the drive is unavailable at the set time each hour, it gets skipped. When you plug in the drive later after a skip, does it immediately commit the latest set of Time Machine changes, or do you have to wait until the set time of the hour comes again?

    The frame of reference from which I'm asking this is that originally, Apple used cron for scheduling. There was a big hullabaloo that notebook users weren't getting daily/weekly/monthly scripts run because their computers were asleep so often and unpredictably. Later, Apple made changes that were claimed to remedy this issue and also moved a lot of things to launchd, which is supposed to be more flexible than cron. However, recently, people have again been saying that leaving a Mac asleep but on most of the time has a difficult to predict effect on maintenance scheduling. AFAIK, Time Machine also uses launchd, no?
     
  9. scott523 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Location:
    St Charles, MO
    #9
    The craziest thing is that Time Machine requires you to have your MacBook plugged to a power adapter. I back things up on the same startup disk.. maybe that's why it wants me to use a power adapter. o_o
     
  10. BigTRQ macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #10
    This is a serious problem. So we can't work off of the battery now, with Leopard, while the MacBook sits on the desk? Great job, Apple! I guess they want us to have to buy that new battery even sooner now! :D
     
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    You can work off the battery, you just miss out on hourly TM imaging, right? I mean, at some point, there has to be a reality check. The likelihood of your hard drive failing in any small amount of time is low. Not to mention that, if you're at the desk and plugged into other peripherals, why not just use the charger also?

    And then, do you really need TM to give you backups for every single hour of the day, in case you delete something? If you are really that careless, either work at a desk or get better file saving habits....
     
  12. jellomizer macrumors 6502

    jellomizer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #12
    Steve Jobs got us again...

    My impression on how Time Machine worked from reading the advertising vs. how it actually works actually made me kinda disappointed.

    The Advertising Made me believe that it would on my MacBook Pro keep all my changes on my system harddrive and just hiding it from the normal file system. Until I could put an external drive and it will only transfer all those changes that I have done throughout the day. And perhaps only saving partial files (like Parallel or VMWare Virutual disks) to save space. But it seems to be much simpler then that. It will keep track of any file changes that hapends every hour and if the disk is plugged in then it will back it up. Otherwise it will just keep track of the files that has been changed then when you plug in your drive it will dump your system as it is in the state it is now. So if between Backups you download a file view it and Delete it. It will not get backed up. If I use Parallels then the Image File will change and it will backup the entire 4GB file. So I had to tell Time Machine to not backup my VMWare directory anymore.

    The approach is more primitive then I would want it to be. but... because I never had a good backup policy before on my laptop this is still an improvement, but still... I wish it was more smarter.
     
  13. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    #13
    Thats because they didn't get ZFS working right in Leopard(whether or not Steve nixed it because Schwarz publicly boasted it would be included in Leopard or not is up for debate) but anyway.... With ZFS it would have been possible to do a lot of the stuff Apple seemed to say it could do when it was first demoed, however with the current HFS+(with a few modifications) Time Machine is a clever hack. Every time you write to a file, OS X puts an entry in a log saying what file when it was modded etc. Time Machine simply reads that log and then goes and finds the appropriate file and makes a copy of it. Still a nice feature, but nowhere near what it could have been if Apple had been able to transition totally over to ZFS.
     
  14. SkydiveGuy thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    #14
    Thanks for all the answers.
    It seems to do exactly what I thought it would based on your responses.

    One more quick question...

    How far back is the data kept for?

    The last part says "and weekly backups for everything older than a month."

    So is a month as far back as they go (which seems plenty far back enough to me, but you never know) or is it until you run out of disk space on the backup HDD?
     
  15. itickings macrumors 6502a

    itickings

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    #15
    Well, under the Time Machine settings in Leopard it says "Weekly backups until your backup disk is full". Further, you can set it to warn when old backups are deleted.
     

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