Using Airport Extreme w/ external drive as Time Machine backup?

Littleodie914

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 9, 2004
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Rochester, NY
The Airport Extreme page on Apple's site mentions you can connect an external hard drive to the Airport Extreme, and use it to share files.

Does anyone know whether the external drive can be used/recognized as a Time Machine backup?

I have a 2TB external drive I have been using for USB Time Machine backups connected to my Mac, but I would really like to connect this existing drive to the new Airport Extreme, and hide them in a closet somewhere.
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
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NH
I've used an extreme-HD setup for years without much issue. I found the extreme interface to the hard drive to be quirky, however. An unplug/replug was needed once a week or so, and an extreme reset about once a month. An external drive connected to a time capsule seems to be much more stable.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,439
10,244
California
The Airport Extreme page on Apple's site mentions you can connect an external hard drive to the Airport Extreme, and use it to share files.

Does anyone know whether the external drive can be used/recognized as a Time Machine backup?

I have a 2TB external drive I have been using for USB Time Machine backups connected to my Mac, but I would really like to connect this existing drive to the new Airport Extreme, and hide them in a closet somewhere.
This IS supported on the new tower version of the Airport Extreme and is even mentioned in the manual. So you should be okay. However, it was not supported on the previous flat Airport Extremes. Some users were able to get it working, but it seemed unreliable.

If you do this, you will need to start your backup over since the networked TM backup uses a different format.
 

majkom

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
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Hi, is it possible to use external hdd connected to new AE as I time machine backup disk and as a shared disk? I mean, if I divide usb disk into 2 partiotions, one used for time machine and second just for lan disk.. is it possible??
 

whsbuss

macrumors 68040
May 4, 2010
3,664
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SE Penna.
Hi, is it possible to use external hdd connected to new AE as I time machine backup disk and as a shared disk? I mean, if I divide usb disk into 2 partiotions, one used for time machine and second just for lan disk.. is it possible??
Simply, yes.
 

page404

macrumors regular
Mar 5, 2013
113
47
The Netherlands
This IS supported on the new tower version of the Airport Extreme and is even mentioned in the manual. So you should be okay. However, it was not supported on the previous flat Airport Extremes. Some users were able to get it working, but it seemed unreliable.
Are you sure it's not supported? I've been using it for months now without a glitch. Configuration was easy too.
If you do this, you will need to start your backup over since the networked TM backup uses a different format.
That in fact is true. And it SUCKS.
 

Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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California
Are you sure it's not supported? I've been using it for months now without a glitch. Configuration was easy too.
Positive. If you search Lion or Mountain Lion help it even explicitly tells you not to do it. Like I said, it seems to work fine for some people, then is erratic for others.
 

yiasou

macrumors member
Jun 2, 2014
30
18
Hi all, thought I would bump this. Is this still the case with the latest Airport Extreme and MacOS Sierra?

As in, if I have a HDD plugged into a Extreme and do my Time Machine backups like this over the network, so I have to RESTORE using that method also? Or can I just unplug it from the Extreme directly into my mac when I want to restore?
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,439
10,244
California
Hi all, thought I would bump this. Is this still the case with the latest Airport Extreme and MacOS Sierra?

As in, if I have a HDD plugged into a Extreme and do my Time Machine backups like this over the network, so I have to RESTORE using that method also? Or can I just unplug it from the Extreme directly into my mac when I want to restore?
You would have to restore over the network. Plugging that disk in to the Mac directly won't work because the data is stored inside a sparse bundle image.

There is a work around where you can attach the drive to the Mac then open the sparse bundle image and drag the entire Backups.backupdb file out of the sparse bundle and to the root of the drive, then you could use that to restore locally over USB or whatever.
 

yiasou

macrumors member
Jun 2, 2014
30
18
You would have to restore over the network. Plugging that disk in to the Mac directly won't work because the data is stored inside a sparse bundle image.

There is a work around where you can attach the drive to the Mac then open the sparse bundle image and drag the entire Backups.backupdb file out of the sparse bundle and to the root of the drive, then you could use that to restore locally over USB or whatever.
Great thanks for that! Nice work around, I think ill go ahead with mounting it to the Extreme and see how we go!
 
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