Time Machine wireless backup without a time capsule?


macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 9, 2009
Oxford, Ohio
Hi everyone,

Im posting a question today for my parents. They would like to set up a backup hard drive for their MBP. The key factor for them is ease of use, i.e. idiot proof.

Here is the question....

Can we set up a wireless backup with a hard drive other than the time capsule?

Is the only way with a Airport Extreme Base Station so we have network usb ports and then just plug the drive into that?

We currently have a linksys router and modem.

My dad has just read to many things about the time capsule being a poor drive to be willing to use it.

Thanks everyone for your help.


macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2004
The only requisite is that the drive has to be an AFP drive. I don't believe this is possible with a Linksys. But, you can attach it to another Mac on the network and that would work. (Or attach it to an Airport Extreme)


macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2009
i've tried the apf share and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't the initial backup takes a few days wirelessly


macrumors 6502
Jun 21, 2007
Balham, London
Setup a external harddrive as AFP share only after the initial backup only then every backup after that should be under GB backup file....... Always do the initial backups via wire as Apple says... :p :eek: :rolleyes:
Just to clarify the above statement - The original back up has to be done over the network (not USB or Firewire) otherwise Time Machine gets confused as the mount point has changed. The best way to do it is by connecting everything to the router using ethernet (preferably gigabit) to perform the initial back up. Then switch to wireless for the rest of the backups.

One thing I am unsure of as I haven't had to do it is how can you then restore that backup disk image if you HDD fails? Can migration assistant or the OS X installer understand that disk image just the same as the Backups.backupdb folder it creates when using a local disk?

As it hasn't been mentioned in this thread I'll post the terminal command you can input to enable unsupported network drives for use with Time Machine.

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
With this you can use any network drive (AFP, SMB, FTP, etc)... performance has been flakey for some but others have no problems what so ever.
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