Apple Time Capsule!


As you saw in this post, I wrote the following:

Time Machine is incredibly specific about the things it is happy about.

And I’d agree. But when you get the Time Capsule, because it is made for time machine, al of your problems disintegrate.

Wireless Networking

The Time Capsule is actually an AirPort Extreme and a 1/2TB hard drive built in. The Time Capsule has dual-band connecting 802.11g and 802.11n. On the back, you connect the Time Capsule to [ethernet] WAN and then using the AirPort Utility to configure all of your options. Then, plug in a wireless printer! To configure it, go to the Print & Fax pane in system Preferences. Click the + icon and select your printer from the list that appears. Tada! You can now wirelessly print to your USB printer! Then, in the WiFi menu in your Mac’s Menu bar select yur time capsule’s network name, enter a password and now you are connected to the internet through your Time Capsule!

Time Machine

The Time Machine Icon

Once you have configured your time capsule using the AirPort Utility you can now backup to it with Time Machine. Time Machine comes on very mac and is a functional backup tool. To start using time machine, open the time Machine preference pane in System Preferences and turn the big switch on. If a dialog doesn’t automatically appear click Select Disk…. In the dialog that appears select your Time Capsule (Usually Data on [your Time Capsule’s Name]) and click Use For Backup. It will then backup all of your data in what is called the initial backup. This one first bakup wil usually take about 3-7 hours depending on how much data you have (4-5 for 30GB in my experience). It will backup wirelessly, so feel free to move around the house while it backs up. After the initial backup is done, it will create a backup of new files every hour. DON’T WORRY! It doesn’t replace duplicate files, so the backup’s size shouldn’t change that much over the use of it unless of course you make some huge deletion or addition.

Uh-oh, you deleted that one special file[/folder]! It’s easy to get it back using using Time Capsule with Time Machine. On your mac, open a finder window where the file you deleted existed (before you deleted it, of course). Then, open the time machine APPLICAtION (NOT System Preference Pane!). The finder window will then slide up to a cool wormhole-like interface with windows going back. Each window going back is hourly into the past. You can quickly navigate using the lines on the right of the interface. You can click a window a ways back to fly over to it. Now browse  found the file you want to restore in one of the windows! Before bringing it back to life (or your hard drive) check to see if it is in any more recent backups: you probably want the latest version of it. Once you’ve found the latest version, click on it once to select it. Then, in the bottom right, click restore. The file will be”magically pulled from the past into the present” with a cool effect. Tada! your file has now been revived (or stored on your local hard drive)!

In case you have a LOT of data, you an always select particular parts of your hard drive to backup. If you are a system file experimenter (like me) you probably want to keep backups of your whole hard drive, as that will include the configuration of all of your setting etc, which when reformatting you can restore from a backup an hour before the one with the screwed over file (happened many times when messing around with system settings, I screw over one file which gets backed up, so make sure that if you had screwed a file and the hard drive hadn’t crashed you use a backup older than the most recent one!).

Just in case you have a LOT of data, you can select which folders you want to exclude in the Options… dialog in the Time Machine system preference pane. If you tend to accidentally screw with your system files and you happen to destroy your mac (or part of it) doing so, Then when reformatting you can actually reformat using a backup from your Time Capsule. If I were you, I would use a backup prior to the one that was made when your mac was screwed over (as a result of screwing with a system file) or else it will just be the exact same. OORRR, while in the reformat menu you can select restore from the Time Capsule but DESELECT SETTINGS AND CONFIGUREATION. This will put all of your applications and files back, but leave the system config files (the ones that would screw up your mac) brand new right from the disk. Smart!

Whoops, I forot to mention: If (and possible when) your Time Capsule runs out of space because of backup, it will delete older backups first instead of giving you a “Out of space, delete everything” kind of error. Once again, smart!

Network Disk

Your time machine will show up in the Shared section of the left sidebar. Click on it and authenticate using the parameters you setup with the AirPort Utility, and there will be a share called Data by default. Double-click it and if you bacup using Time MAchine, you will see a .sparsebundle there. You can now utilize that HUGE hard drive in there to save stuff on. Just click and drag any file into the Data share of your Time Capsule in finder to store it on the 1-2TB hard drive. Sweet!

The Time Capsule is available at a 1TB version for only $300 and a 2TB version for $500.


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Carbon Copy Cloner


When was the last time you backed up your hard drive? If you haven’t, start soon. Yank that hard drive from that old computer, stick it in a USb enclosure, and copy your important (or even not important) files over, you don’t need software to do that. Backing up is nice, and is what most people do. But what about your settings, wallpaper, wireless networks, bluetooth devices, and modded boot logos you put on there? When you back up, you only have files and maybe even applications. But to get the rest, you have to do something called cloning. It means exactly what it sounds like: clone your hard drive to a disk image or other hard drive. This means that you can boot off of the clone (only if it is a hard drive) and everything will be there: modded boot up, wireless networks, bluetooth devices, email, apps, wallpaper images, even monitor profiles. and if you have the right tool, cloning is free and as easy as 123. But that’s only if you have an awesome app called Carbon Copy Cloner. This is a REALLY easy to use freeware app for Mac, and is usually referred to as CCC. It really is as easy as 123.
1- Select source hard drive or file(s).
2- Select target hard drive or disk image
3- Click clone!
It will take a little while, and there is even a scheduler. Sadly, if you select the delete files on the target that aren’t on the source selection, you cannot save that as a scheduled task. But I just put a sticky note on my monitor and clone right before I go to sleep, and let it run overnight. My MacBook has a SATA drive, which is really easy because they make USB enclosures for those, and I have a 200GB SATA sitting around. So I have found that it is best like this for me:
1- Source as whole hard drive
2-Target as my 200 GB SATA in a USB enclosure, formatted as the default format for your Mac’s hard drive (for the Leopard computers like mine, Mac OS Extended (Journaled), which I would never change).
If you are running a desktop computer, get a other usb hard drive, or if you have one of the same kinds of hard drives you have in your computer sitting around, find a dock or usb enclosure for it to use as the target.
Now here is why you want the exact same kind of hard drive to clone to: If your computer crashes and you need your data immediately like you are in the middle of a conference call, just plug in and power on your hard drive through USB, and hold the option key while pressing the on button. You will see the hard drive of your computer, then with a USB icon (depending on how you connect your clone, it may vary) there is your backup. Click it/move with the arrow keys to select it and hit enter. Before you know it, you are booting your hard drive as it was when you hit the clone button in CCC at the speed of USB 2.0 which is 480 MBPS. Not the fastest ever, but loads almost as fast as the hard drive plugged in. now you are forgetting that you are running of of a clone. That is if you need your data right then. But if you have a little time, I recommend getting everything back to normal. In your computer, remove the crashed/ruined/wiped/whatever happened as long as it wasn’t destroyed physically drive and put in the backup. Then, put the crashed/ruined/wiped/whatever happened as long as it wasn’t destroyed physically drive in the USB enclosure. Boot from the backup that you put in the computer and open CCC. Then say clone to your original hard drive which is now classified as USB (or however you connected it). Then once it is finished cloning, switch the hard drive again. It will be like nothing ever happened. Now that is something that a backup can’t do. you can’t boot off of a backup, you can only boot off of a clone.
And to tell you the truth, I hated backing up. Backup applications were slow, time machine is a piece of crap (along with iCal: FIX IT APPLE!), and copying manually took to long. Finally, I get a nice interface, cloning, super quick cloning, and best of all, FREE!

Time Machine Problems

Time Machine is a very cool application. I can use either a USB external hard drive, or use a time capsule. It will automatically backup my data, and with my backup drive attached, I can view and restore my backups in an AMAZING UI (user interface).

But as I realized the first time I tried to use it, there are MANY downsides.
1) To backup using time machine, I need my backup drive to be twice the size of my internal Hard Drive.
2) It gets unhappy with FileVault. Apperently, I was told that you should never have FileVault on anyways by an Apple Genius at the Genius Bar at my local Apple Retail Store. then why do they include it in OS X?
3) You can’t use it with network drives.
And heres a heads up. If one of the first things you did when you got your new Mac was turn on FileVault, and you have used up ALOT (I mean around 80 GB of a 160 GB hard drive (internal) then it will be impossible to turn it off. You will have to move or delete about 10 GB from your hard drive To turn off FileVault.
Moral: Keep your Hard Drive uncluttered, and ORGANIZED!

I went and tried My 200GB hard drive with Time Machine, and I have a 160 GB backup drive. When I try to backup, it said I needed to have a whole 300GB on my backup drive. I gave up at that point and started running in circles wondering what was wrong.
Answer:You need to have at least twice the size of your internal hard drive on your external backup drive (in this case, my backup drive would have needed to be at least 320 GB).

I go to do a backup and Time Machine is messing up. it is unable to interpret how big my home folder is.
Answer:Turn off FileVault

From those, you can probably tell that Time Machine is incredibly specific about the things it is happy about.
Conlusion: Time Machine overall is a very good product. It jut depends what conditions it is working in, such as cluttered, or encrypted.