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timemachine

This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on March 30th, 2011.

One of the great things about Macs is the high resale value they maintain over time. In the last 4 years alone, I’ve never had to pay more than $300 out-of-pocket for a brand-new Macintosh, and that’s because I’ve been able to get the most value from the Macs I’ve sold!

I’ve put together a simple list of everything to consider when you go to sell your Mac. Read on past the break and we’ll look at some steps for getting the most out of selling your Mac.

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When Time Machine was released with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) back in October 2007, it was one of the highlights of the new release. Apple was the first company to offer a fully-functioning, built in backup utility into their operating system and in true Mac-style, they pumped it full of eye candy. Well, only Apple could take a simple system utility and transform it into a work of art.

Although Time Machine is good for recovering files if anything does happen to your Mac, it is a bit basic in its functionality. You do not have the option to schedule backups depending on when you want them – when your external hard disk drive is plugged in (or the device you are backing up to), Time Machine will simply sync any changed files and folders hourly.

For the average user, this won’t cause too much of a problem, but for someone who uses their Mac for high-end software or gaming, the backup can slow down the performance of your Mac. Time Machine also isn’t a true backup option per se, as it does not create disk images (unlike other programs), where you can restore your Mac in the case of a drastic failure.

This is where ChronoSync comes in. At $40, it is quite a pricey alternative to Time Machine (which is bundled in with Mac OS X 10.5 and above) and some might question paying this amount for a piece of software which is pretty much identical to something they get for free anyway. I decided though to download the 30-day trial version of ChronoSync to give it a test run and to see whether it is really a viable (or better) alternative to Time Machine.

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New subscribers to MobileMe generally know the basics: contacts, email, calendars and notes can sync across computers and devices, you get some storage, and a fancy email address to share with all of your friends. But if you’re anything like me, you opened up your iDisk for the first time, saw the Backup folder and thought, “What’s this for? There’s no way that a Time Machine backup would fit in the 20GB allotted for iDisk.”

Turns out, the Backup folder is for a program called Backup 3, which is made by Apple. What’s this for, and why would I need it if I use Time Machine?

Good question – let’s find out!

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When Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) was released, one of the tent-pole features was Time Machine, Apple’s extremely simple, all-encompassing backup solution. With Time Machine, you simply connected your external hard drive, configured a few settings and the utility began backing up your entire computer.

So long as your hard drive is connected, Time Machine continues to make backups on an hourly basis. The hourly backups are consolidated into a single day, every 24 hours and the days consolidated into a week, and so on, as disk space allows.

So your all good, correct? Your data is backed up, you’ve done your job and no matter what happens to your computer, you’ll still have everything in your backup. Well, ideally – yes. In reality, not necessarily.

The entire reason you are backing up your computer is because hard drives fail. A bad drop, a liquid spill, or simply old age, a hard drive will not last forever. So you back up your computer’s hard drive…to another hard drive. Now, if your internal hard drive fails, you have an external hard drive containing a second copy of everything… but as I said, hard drives fail. It’s inevitable. So what to do?

Make triple and quadruple backups? Sure, if you’ve got the time and money, but an easier and more economical solution is simply to check your backups every now and then. Make sure they are running properly, make sure your data is being backed up properly, make sure your the data is not corrupt, make sure you can recover your files properly. A little care and preparation can go a long way.

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I don’t think any AppStorm reader would disagree with me on this: you would be crazy not to back up your Mac. Whether you use Time Machine or a complicated NAS with off-site redundancy, it is vital that you make sure data loss isn’t a possibility.

While many people find the default Mac OS X backup features to provide all the features they find necessary, some users – including myself – don’t enjoy the large downtime involved when recovering from a Time Machine backup (which, if you haven’t done before, can take hours!) Restoring a single file is easy, restoring a full computer isn’t the fastest thing in the world.

Today we’re going to be taking a look at a utility called SmartBackup to see how this handy little app can make backing up easy!

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Time Machine is one of Apple’s greatest inventions – instead of dreading backups and regretting not having one when your disk fails, you can now just switch to your backup disk and restore it.

But as comfortable as the backing up itself is, it can still be tricky to find the one file you are needing. That’s where Back-In-Time comes in. This handy little tool allows you to dive into your (and not just your own) backups and quickly get what you need.

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Everyone generally agrees that having some form of backup solution in place is vitally important. Hard drives are far more reliable now than ever, but they’re still prone to fail from time-to-time. Many people consider Time Machine to be the de-facto backup solution for the Mac, but you’d be surprised how many others are available.

This roundup will take a look at a new way to customize Time Machine, a variety of different drive cloning utilities, and a few online backup tools. I hope you find something new, and however you choose to go about it be sure to backup your data!

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