Use Time Machine with Airport Express and external hard drive?

ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
I would like to use Time Machine to wirelessly back up three different laptops using an Airport Express. Hopefully, I can connect a LaCie 1.5TB Quadra D2 to the Airport Express. Is it possible to do this? I actually own two of the Quadras and would like to have them mirror each other just for redundant back ups (recently lost a hard drive so have learned my lesson). Can anyone offer some insight into how this might be done and whether they've had any success with it?

Also, we are looking to buy a MacBook Air and would like to use the Quadra to store our pictures and music files. The MB Air would only be used at home, so we don't really need to store too much on the small hard drives that are standard. Can this be done wirelessly as well? Thanks for any advice you can offer.
 

ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
The USB port in the AirPort Express is only for a printer. You cannot connect a hard drive to it.

Uses for the USB port of Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express
Hmm... an "expert" at the Apple store suggested that I could do what I am describing (rather than buying Time Capsule). However, the more I research the Time Machine/Airport Express (not Extreme)/external hard drive option, I find people saying it is "unsupported" by Apple and that it is unreliable. Some claim that doing a full restore from a backup as I've described won't work. But no one claims to have first hand experience. They seem to be speculating.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
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Hmm... an "expert" at the Apple store suggested that I could do what I am describing (rather than buying Time Capsule). However, the more I research the Time Machine/Airport Express (not Extreme)/external hard drive option, I find people saying it is "unsupported" by Apple and that it is unreliable. Some claim that doing a full restore from a backup as I've described won't work. But no one claims to have first hand experience. They seem to be speculating.
You cannot attach an external drive to the AirPort Express via the USB port. You CAN attach one via the USB port in an AirPort Extreme. It's important to remember than "Genius" is only their job title, and not necessarily an indication of their knowledge, experience or expertise.
 
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ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
You cannot attach an external drive to the AirPort Express via the USB port. You CAN attach one via the USB port in an AirPort Extreme. It's important to remember than "Genius" is only their job title, and not necessarily an indication of their knowledge, experience or expertise.
Yes, you must be right. After doing more research, what the genius advised me is, in fact, unreliable if not impossible with some operating systems (I have Mountain Lion).

So, setting aside the Airport Express, is there any way to use the two LaCies to wirelessly back up my machines? And, is there any way to use the LaCie as an external hard drive for the MacBook Air? The Airport Extreme seems too expensive just to pull this off. Or, is there a completely other solution that allows me back up these machines wirelessly using some other devices?
 
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evillageprowler

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2007
177
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NJ, USA
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Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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Yes, you must be right. After doing more research, what the genius advised me is, in fact, unreliable if not impossible with some operating systems (I have Mountain Lion).

So, setting aside the Airport Express, is there any way to use the two LaCies to wirelessly back up my machines? And, is there any way to use the LaCie as an external hard drive for the MacBook Air? The Airport Extreme seems too expensive just to pull this off. Or, is there a completely other solution that allows me back up these machines wirelessly using some other devices?
The only Apple "supported" solution for wirelessly backing up with Time Machine is with either a Time Capsule or a USB drive attached to a Time Capsule. Honestly, at this point if your main goal is wireless Time Machine backup, I would return the Lacie drives and just get a Time Capsule from Apple. You can backup multiple computers to the Time Capsule.
 
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ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
The USB port in the AirPort Express is only for a printer. You cannot connect a hard drive to it.

Uses for the USB port of Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express
GGJStudios: I looked at the link more carefully and found:

"AirPort Extreme 802.11n
-Single self-powered USB hard disk
-Single powered USB printer directly into the USB port, or several printers connected to the base station via a powered USB hub
-Using a powered USB hub you may connect several hard disks and/or printers"

If the AirPort Extreme officially supports the connection of multiple hard disks using a powered USB hub, shouldn't Time Machine work with the Extreme?
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
If the AirPort Extreme officially supports the connection of multiple hard disks using a powered USB hub, shouldn't Time Machine work with the Extreme?
While some have claimed it works, here's Apple's statement:
Time Machine can’t backup to an external drive that's connected to an AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, or a drive formatted for Microsoft Windows (NTFS or FAT format).
Mac 101: Time Machine

YMMV
 
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ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
While some have claimed it works, here's Apple's statement:

Mac 101: Time Machine

YMMV
Thanks very much for your response. The whole point of backing up a system is to safeguard files from loss. If using Time Machine with an AirPort Express isn't supported (any many people report that it is unreliable), then that really defeats the purpose.

I guess Time Capsule is really the only supported option. But I've owned two of these LaCie drives for more than a year. I hate to turn them into paper weights and spend a bunch on new hardware. Of course, I could simply plug the machines into the LaCies... but I've found that I do that very rarely. And the recent loss of a hard drive made it clear that it has to be automated/wireless or I just won't do it often enough.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
Thanks very much for your response. The whole point of backing up a system is to safeguard files from loss. If using Time Machine with an AirPort Express isn't supported (any many people report that it is unreliable), then that really defeats the purpose.
It's not that using TM with an AirPort Express is unsupported or unreliable; it's not possible, as the USB port of the AirPort Express cannot be used to connect a hard drive. The USB port of the AirPort Express is only used to attach a printer.
 
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ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
It's not that using TM with an AirPort Express is unsupported or unreliable; it's not possible, as the USB port of the AirPort Express cannot be used to connect a hard drive. The USB port of the AirPort Express is only used to attach a printer.
Sorry, I meant to write "Extreme" not "Express". In "Uses for the USB port of Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express" I see that only Time Capsule is explicitly identified as having "support for Time Machine backups".
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
Sorry, I meant to write "Extreme" not "Express". In "Uses for the USB port of Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express" I see that only Time Capsule is explicitly identified as having "support for Time Machine backups".
Yes, that's what it states. There are some threads in this forum where others have claimed to have success in making TM backups to an external drive attached to an AirPort Extreme. My preference is to use Carbon Copy Cloner instead of TM, making bootable backups to directly-attached external drives, for speed and security.
 
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ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
Yes, that's what it states. There are some threads in this forum where others have claimed to have success in making TM backups to an external drive attached to an AirPort Extreme. My preference is to use Carbon Copy Cloner instead of TM, making bootable backups to directly-attached external drives, for speed and security.
I've seen other threads with people recommending Carbon Copy Cloner as well. A bootable backup sounds great.

Would using CCC with the AirPort Extreme/external hard drive combination be any more reliable? Or is it not the software that is the issue? It would be great if using CCC solved my problem.
 
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GGJstudios

macrumors Westmere
May 16, 2008
44,427
763
I've seen other threads with people recommending Carbon Copy Cloner as well. A bootable backup sounds great.

Would using CCC with the AirPort Extreme/external hard drive combination be any more reliable? Or is it not the software that is the issue? It would be great if using CCC solved my problem.
CCC can backup to the drive, but it won't be bootable unless the drive is directly connected.

If you require a bootable backup, you must use an external hard drive enclosure attached directly to your Mac to create a bootable backup.
I want to back up my whole Mac to a Time Capsule or other network volume
 
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evillageprowler

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2007
177
0
NJ, USA
Yes, that's what it states. There are some threads in this forum where others have claimed to have success in making TM backups to an external drive attached to an AirPort Extreme. My preference is to use Carbon Copy Cloner instead of TM, making bootable backups to directly-attached external drives, for speed and security.
I am using a USB dsk, attached to my AirPort Extreme Base Station via a powered hub, for TM to my MBP. The disk is shared from the AEBS, mounted on my MBP, and TM nicely creates a sparsebundle file for backups.

EVP
 
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IeU

macrumors member
May 1, 2011
93
5
Yea, same here. I have a AirPort Extreme which one have a 2TB hard drive connected to it. I could setup Time Machine to backup to it from my iMac'27 and as also from my girlfriends MacBook. It also is the hard disk for my iTunes library.
 
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ElGrecus

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 29, 2011
23
0
Yea, same here. I have a AirPort Extreme which one have a 2TB hard drive connected to it. I could setup Time Machine to backup to it from my iMac'27 and as also from my girlfriends MacBook. It also is the hard disk for my iTunes library.
Evillageprowler and IeU: have either of you ever attempted a full restore from your USB hard drives? I am assuming that if you can store/access your iTunes library to a USB hard drive via an AirPort Extreme that it must be fairly reliable or you would notice corrupted or inaccessible files.
 
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