To Time Machine Or Not?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Rian Gray, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Rian Gray macrumors regular

    Rian Gray

    Jul 13, 2011
    NJ, United States
    Sorry for making a poor reference to Shakespeare. :)

    But I do wonder, how often do you set up the time machine for your mac? All of them, or just desktops or laptops, or only your workstation, or perhaps none of them?

    I do find time machine very reliable solution. Who knows how many time my project was saved thanks to time machine. Still, I'm not quite sure why should I concentrate so much on setting up the time machine as soon as I get a machine.

    And one more thing, what do you think of Time Capsule as a storage device?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have TM running on all my macs - makes too much sense not too. Plus its so easy to get it up and running :)
  3. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Definitely TIme Machine.

    Definitely set it up when you get a Mac so it starts backing up right away.

    I've had to restore an old version of an iOS app as well as an old version of an OS X as the updates had major bugs.

    I've also had to restore my Mac after a HD failure and when I reverted from Mavericks to Mountain Lion.

    I actually keep 2 Time Machine disks because as we all know stuff happens.
  4. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

    Jan 6, 2009
    Titletown USA
    Time Machine has saved my bacon on more than one occasion. I wouldn't want to be without it.
  5. satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    I use Time Machine for getting older versions of programs or documents.

    I also clone (CCC) to another external for bootable backup, just in case.
  6. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    Time Machine on all my macs, plus CCC on additional external drives on all my macs. Have had occasions to need one or the other the odd time and was very happy I did.
  7. sjinsjca macrumors 68010


    Oct 30, 2008
    Just do it.

    Ideally, get a current-model Airport Extreme and connect a couple big USB disks to it. Then you get Time Machine, all the time, for all your Macs, with alternating backups between the two disks. Way to fly.
  8. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    I find Time Machine extremely useful. Not least of all because if I get a hard-drive upgrade, I can just restore my last backup straight onto the blank hard-drive. Much easier & less hassle than cloning (IMHO).
  9. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Backups are a must. Whether or not you use time machine is up to you. Personally, I don't use it. But like I said, backup.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I don't use Time Machine, never have used it, never will use it.

    I think whether someone may actually _need_ to use TM or not, depends on what they're doing with the computer.

    IF you're involved in content creation from which you make money, and IF you have the need to "look back" to previous revisions from time to time, it's probably useful to keep a TM backup running to archive your work files hourly or even more frequently.

    BUT -- if you're just an "end user" TM may be doing nothing more than clogging up one or more hard drives with backup after backup after backup after backup after backup after backup after backup after... (had enough?) that all contain the SAME THING.

    What do most folks actually NEED their "backup" for?
    - A "disk disaster" where the main hard drive has suffered physical failure, or
    - An "I can't boot" situation -- main drive won't boot.

    If one has a TM backup, what must one actually DO to "recover" from failures such as above?

    Let's suppose one has a recovery partition and a TM backup.
    This will involve
    - Rebooting from the recovery partition
    - Trying to repair main drive using Disk Utility
    - If that doesn't work, about all one can do is reinstall the OS and one's files.

    Next, suppose one has a bootable cloned backup created with CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
    This will involve
    - Booting from the backup to the finder. EVERYTHING -- all user accounts, all files, all utility apps (including 3rd party utility apps) will be "there", ready to use. The backup drive will appear exactly as the main drive, current to the last backup.
    - The user can then "work on" the main drive.
    - Sometimes nothing more than a reboot "to the finder" from an external source can get things going again. (Case in point: if the Finder prefs file becomes corrupted)
    - If "work" is needed on the main drive, the user has the option of using ALL repair apps that could be available, instead of only Disk Utility
    - If the main drive needs to be "restored", with a cloned backup it's just a matter of "re-cloning" the backup back to the original drive.
    - If the main drive has suffered a hardware failure, the user can "keep right on going" for the time being using the cloned backup (again, EVERYTHING is there and ready to be used).
    - After replacing the drive, just "re-clone" to the replacement drive, and keep right on going.

    It's worth mentioning that CCC can even "archive" older file versions from old backups (essentially the same as having a TM backup).

    But again, for the majority of "average person backup needs", the TM backup paradigm is OVERkill, creating multiple backups that you don't need, and NONE of them bootable in that "moment of extreme need"...
  11. mtngoatjoe macrumors regular


    Jun 10, 2008
    Time Machine is great if you empty the trash and then need to get something back. Hands down, it's a better solution in that scenario than a clone of your drive.

    Time Machine also works well if you have a drive failure. Get a new drive, restore from Time Machine, and go along your way.

    However, if you use your machine to make money, and you need to recover immediately, then yes, a clone backup will get you moving faster. However, you clone is only as good as the last time it was created. If you clone your drive overnight, then work all day, and then have a drive failure, you've lost a days worth of work.

    Part of the beauty of Time Machine is that it just works. For most users, they plug in a drive and say Yes when asked if it should be used with Time Machine. That doesn't mean it's perfect for everyone, but I do believe that if Time Machine by itself isn't sufficient, then Time Machine AND cloning software is the way to go.

    For the majority of "average person backup needs", the cloning backup paradigm is OVERkil.
  12. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    I disagree, Fishrrman. Time machine is exactly what the average user needs. It's simple to use: hook up a hard drive and click a button, it stays out of the way until needed, and it safeguards against the most common forms of data loss (accidental deletions and hardware failure).

    Most people aren't going to replace their own failed harddrive, they're going to bring the computer to Apple to have it replaced. Time Machine will be there with a current set of their documents, ready to be restored.

    Time machine isn't perfect, to be sure, but it's vastly superior to what the average user was doing before it was introduced (which is nothing).
  13. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?"
    --- Joni Mitchell

    Backups are critical, regardless of how you use your computer. Losing irreplaceable images of a deceased family member is at least as heartbreaking as losing the product of your last three days of work (the economic impact may be different, but it's not just about the money). The only backup you'll regret is the one you didn't make.

    I didn't need TimeMachine until I did. I didn't need to replace the HDD, or to restore the entire contents of the HDD after a clean install, and haven't yet used it to migrate to a new Mac. I'd lost a bunch of image files, and I wanted them back. I scrolled back to a date when I know they were still present, and I got them back, as simple as copy and paste.

    Is Time Machine the only solution for backups? Of course not. If you need something different, then something different is the right choice for you. However, most consumers don't know enough to make that decision. Since backup can be considered a core computing function, it's appropriate to find that solution in the OS, where it can be put to immediate use.

    Do I worry that I have a $100 external HDD dedicated to the purpose, and that it's full of stuff I may never need? No. It's an insurance policy, and like any insurance policy, I spend the money despite hopes that I'll never need to file a claim. Those missing images? Well worth that $100.
  14. Aragornii macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010

    I agree with this 100%. The beauty of Time Machine is that you can just turn it on and forget about it, but it will always be there when you need it. There are three things that I use Time Machine for regularly, and it works flawlessly every time:

    1. accidentally delete a file and need to recover it, even if i don't notice for several weeks or months that the file is missing. time machine keeps some of the backups local, so you don't even necessarily need access to your time machine backup drive.

    2. you get a new machine to replace your old one. just bring the new machine home and restore from time machine.

    3. your machine craps out for some reason and you have to take it in to apple for service, who may or may not need to wipe your hard drive in the process. just restore your latest backup from time machine when you get it back and you're back where you started.

    These situations have all happened to me more than once (we have about 4 macs in the house), and time machine has never failed me.

    The only exception is that I like to keep an offsite backup of our main computer that has family pictures, etc. on it. For that I use CCC on an external drive that I bring home about once or twice a year to take a snapshot of all our files (for a just-in-case-the-house-burns-down scenario).
  15. syntax.syntax macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2014
    with time machine how do you reinstall the mac os x back to fresh install.I mean reinstall the os when you first got it?
  16. Weaselboy, Jan 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014

    Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Since Lion 10.7.2, Time Machine (TM) puts a copy of the recovery partition on the TM backup disk if you are using a locally attached (not networked) disk.

    So you just option key boot to the TM disk and that gives you the same recovery screen as you would get with a normal command-r boot to local recovery. Then you just use Disk Utility from there to format a the disk then click reinstall OS. This will DL the OS from Apple's servers and install it.

    This would install whichever OS version was used to make the YM backup.

    To get back further to the IS that came from the factory (assuming you have upgraded), you would need to command-option-r boot to Internet recovery then erase the disk and reinstall. This will get you back to the OS that came from the factory even if you have upgraded.
  17. syntax.syntax macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2014
  18. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Time Machine is your backup. Do you mean in addition to Time Machine? Not really, unless you would like to have redundant backups on another disk.
  19. syntax.syntax macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2014
    i plan to get a usb drive to backup my mac os x but i waiting to get a new usb drive that support mac osx.But the onw i got right now is a WD mypassport it green not sure if support mac os x?
  20. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Sure that drive or any other drive will work. Just attach the drive and use Disk Utility to format the drive to Mac OS Extended.
  21. syntax.syntax macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2014
    Cool i don't need to get a new drive and i thought it was just for windows :)

    thank you and 500gb should be good for a backup?
  22. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That depends on how much data you have to backup. How full is your disk now? Usually you want the backup drive to be around 1.5X or so as large as the amount of data to allow Time Machine to store some file versions for you.
  23. Keukasmallie macrumors regular


    Jan 30, 2011
    Time Machine + external HDD ='s security from almost any disk disaster. TM came w/ my MBP, HDD came from the same MBP when I replaced it w/ an SSD. So, for me, a sure-fire, no-cost solution to a b/u dilemma.
  24. syntax.syntax macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2014
    all i have on that drive is linux that about it.

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