Using external HDD for Time Machine...

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Tim3822, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. Tim3822 macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    I've got a 1TB hard drive which I've set up to be my time machine backup, which is great and it's working fine. However, I really wanted a wireless one but just couldn't afford it. Now I had a bit of a moment and thought "if I bought a wifi USB adapter could I do it wirelessly?"...

    Well... could I? Simply plug in the USB adapter onto the hard drive and use the Wi-Fi built into my Macbook Pro (late 2010 model) and then have my time machine backups done wirelessly? I've read on google that this might not be possible, but unless I'm being dumb I don't see any issues? It would be really handy as I spend most of my time on the couch not at a desk so having the HDD attached is a bit of a nuisance.

    Any help on this would be appreciated!

  2. Tim3822 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    55 views and no replies? Comon guys! Someone must know if it could work :(.
  3. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Short answer -- "No you can't"

    Those adapters are to give Wifi capabilities to computers, not peripherals. And a drive connected via WiFi would have to appear as a NAS or other computer -- a simple adapter wouldn't do.
  4. mrbash macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2008
    Short answer is 'NO'.

    The long answer is that your external device would require a USB host controller chip, which it most likely lacks. USB is not a peer-to-peer architecture. It is a host-client architecture. This means you cannot attach a client device (Ethernet adapter) to another client. Clients only attach to a single Host. Similarly, Hosts only attach to multiple Clients, but never to another Host.
  5. Tim3822 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    Ok :(. Any way that I could make it wireless? Would be really handy!

    Thanks for the replies anyhow :).
  6. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    The cheapest way would be to get a Wireless NAS enclosure and put your drive in it. Alternatively, some wireless routers allow you to plug a USB drive into them and they'll make it available wirelessly (for example the Airport Extreme base station does, and so does the BT Home Hub in the UK)
    Having said that, OS X only supports wireless backup to Time Capsules, not NAS boxes (and not even drives plugged into an Airport Extreme base station). You can force it to backup to them, but I wouldn't want to use an unsupported method to do my backups...
  7. Tim3822 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    Ok, do the time capsules still have that habit of dying after 18 months or so? Seems strange that you can't do it to what you suggested. I guess I'll just have to make do with what I have!

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