Using mac mini as Time Capsule

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Mugambo, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Mugambo macrumors 6502

    Mugambo

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    #1
    Except for the wireless routing capabilities, is it possible to use a mac mini as a Time Capsule to backup data from my other macbooks wirelessly?

    All the macs will be hooked to the same wireless network FYI.

    Do I need any specific software to do that?

    Obviously I will be adding an external hard drive to the mac mini to support more storage space.

    Any advise or comments will be appreciated.
     
  2. ziggyonice macrumors 68020

    ziggyonice

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    Rural America
    #2
    Maaaaaybee.

    Now I don't even know if this would work or not, but you'll never know unless you try. First off, to use the Mac mini's hard drive as a Time Capsule, you'll need to have it partitioned -- one small partition to boot up and run the computer (maybe only a few gigs), and the other partition for the backup of data.

    After doing this, by enabling file sharing and keeping the Mac mini on at all times (cannot go to sleep), connect to it wirelessly from your other Mac(s). Attempt to mount the partitioned drive and then go into your Time Machine preferences. Select the partitioned drive and set it as the backup disk.

    That's what I would try first. Good luck!
     
  3. m45k macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    #3
    If you install OS X Server you can use a mac mini as a time machine destination disk.
     
  4. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    NYC
    #4
    Yup. That's pretty much it.
     
  5. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #5
    All you need is a Mac running Leopard and turn on File Sharing. It doesn't need to be Leopard Server.

    As mentioned in another post, it's probably a good idea to give the Time Machine backup its own partition.

    edit: If both machines are running Snow Leopard, the Mini can even go to sleep. It'll wake up when needed. (This requires an Airport Base Station or Time Capsule to handle the Wake on Demand over WiFi. Also, some Macs don't support it wirelessly at all. Here's Apple's KB article on Wake on Demand: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3774
     
  6. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    Jul 5, 2009
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    Florida, USA
    #6
    If all of your computers are on the same wireless network and you are adding an external HDD to the mini, why try to use the mini as a TC when the much simpler solution is to just use the external as a time machine drive?
     
  7. mnpmac macrumors member

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    Sep 1, 2009
    #7
    Maybe because the router does not have a USB port or the external harddrive is not NAS.
     
  8. 1ofthedavids macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2009
    #8
    I think the implication was, use the external USB drive as the time machine drive itself. Not network it, just plug it directly in to whatever system was in need of backing up via time machine.
     
  9. mnpmac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    #9
    Yeah, I thought about that, but my implication was that the laptop is mobile and highly inconvenient to have an HD hooked up to it.
     
  10. 1ofthedavids macrumors regular

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    Jun 8, 2009
    #10
    I agree with that. I was just trying to point out what I believe tbayrgs was trying to say.
     
  11. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #11
    Sorry, I realize my error in judgement now. I have a TC that I use for both my macbook and a mac mini (wirelessly) but also have an external attached to my mac mini (media library). I thought I could designate that external from my macbook for time machine since my mac mini/external are able to be shared on my network. I just went into Time Machine preferences and see that even though I can share the mini's external with all computers on my network for file sharing, it wasn't a selectable option to use for time machine on my macbook. My bad.
     
  12. rtrt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #12
    one thing that might be worth checking is that the external disc on the mini is 'mounted' on the macbook at the time that you want to add it to the macbook TM.

    if you can add it to TM at that point, you should find it will successfully mount it automatically to the macbook each time TM on the macbook runs.

    Tbh this is a guess because this is what i do with my mac pro - but the difference is that the TM drive in the mac pro is an internal drive - yours is external and that might be a key difference.

    I can say when i tried to use the MP internal drive for TM on my macbook - it only worked, if when i configured the TM disk on the macbook it was actually mounted on the macbook.

    hope that makes sense - it does in my head.

    if you've checked it already then i'll get my coat :D
     
  13. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    #13
    I know exactly what you mean--pretty sure I didn't have the mini's external mounted on the Macbook when I checked for its availability in Time Machine. I'll test it out later but not really an issue for me, just trying it out as an option for the OP.
     
  14. Mugambo thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mugambo

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    #14
    Thanks a LoT

    Thank you all very much for the response.

    I am contemplating between buying a Time Capsule or a Mac Mini.
    If I am able to use the Mac Mini as a Time Capsule, I can hook up the Mac Mini to a TV to use it for Media. I also want to add an external hard drive dedicated to act as a backup for 2+1(mac mini) macintosh machines and 1 PC.

    This way, the Mac mini will serve as Media + Time Capsule.

    Can this be achieved with the above options provided by you all?

    Thanks again
     
  15. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

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    Jul 5, 2009
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    #15
    Sounds like it's possible with the Mini. Determining factor is how much space your going to need for backups. I believe the largest available laptop HDD you could fit in a mini is 640 GB (WD makes larger but IIRC, they're both 12.5 mm thick and may be too tight of a fit). Best bet may be to store your media on the mini's HDD and add the external HDD of whatever size you deem necessary to use to back up all 3 computers. If you share the external over your network and mount it on your laptops, you can select it as a destination drive for Time Machine. Still, assuming you want to add a 500 GB HDD to the mini and a 1 TB external, your looking at spending about $750 ($599 base mini, $150 give or take for the HDDs), $100 less if you can grab a refurb base mini from Apple.

    To save a few bucks, another option may be to grab refurb 1 TB Time Capsule ($249) and a refurb 160 GB Apple TV ($189). You certainly lose some flexibility with media vs. a Mac Mini but save over $300.
     
  16. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    .nl
    #16
    This is not true. You have to have either a machine with OS X Server, a Time Capsule or an Airport Extreme with a usb hdd. Using the normal OS X version and filesharing will only show the shares but they won't show up in the Time Machine preferences and thus are not usable as a Time Machine backup volume.

    Well, that is, by default ;) There is a way of enabling Time Machine to use networkshares as it's backup volume. It worked nicely in Leopard but in Snow Leopard some part of it is broken. It's a hidden preference since it's very unstable. If Time Machine fails to backup properly this will result in the complete loss of EVERY backup you made this way. You'll have to start from scratch again. The problem is that this can happen weekly (aka a lot). Highly unrecommended to use this, getting a Time Capsule or Airport Extreme with usb hdd is a lot cheaper and works.

    Wake from sleep works in most cases but the problem is getting the machine to sleep again. The new Time Capsules and Airport Extremes hev both abilities. If you use other methods than you're stuck with the wake from sleep option, the sleep option won't be available. This feature works with every services that get's advertised using bonjour. Mind you, your Mac will be woken every now and then to make sure it's still alive and to update the bonjour services list. Great option if you want to share a printer/scanner on the network.
     
  17. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #17
    My bad on the server vs. client question. I read one place it would, but after seeing your post, I poked around at Apple - again - and found the correct spec. Sorry OP. :eek:
     
  18. TomCayman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    #18
    Mac Mini doesn't wake from sleep to mount for Time Machine

    Several months ago I came over from the dark side (PC) and set up a MacMini (with attached Lacie drive) to use for Time Machine backups for both that machine and my Macbook Pro when I came home from work each day.

    It was never 100% reliable, but (say) 9 days out of 10 the Macbook Pro would have no problem automatically mounting the Lacie and backing up to Time Machine.

    Recently upgraded to Snow Leopard (love the easy integration of iCal and Contacts to Gmail and Google Apps.. very under reported feature!), but now it seems I have to wake up my MacMini each time so it shows in Finder on the MBP, then (didn't have to do this before) login to the MacMini.

    Quite the hassle.

    From what I read here, seems convoluted and still unreliable under Snow Leopard to use the wake from sleep.

    Would users therefore simply recommend (now that Time Capsule has larger drives and is less expensive than before) to simply buys Time Capsule and switch Time Machine backups over to that ?
     

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