MacMost Now 512: Time Machine Versus Cloning

Learn how Time Machine is different than most backup solutions that simply clone and update the data on a drive. Time Machine saves multiple copies of your files and allows you to access each version as long as it has space.

Comments: 22 Responses to “MacMost Now 512: Time Machine Versus Cloning”

    BobL
    9 years ago

    I use Time Machine for backups and keep a copy offsite. If my MacBook were destroyed or stolen would I be able to use another MacBook or IMac to recover the Time Machine backup?

      9 years ago

      Absolutely. That’s a primary function of Time Machine. For instance, on a new Mac you can use Migration assistant to recover all of your documents and applications from a TM backup from your failed Mac.

    G Tyler
    9 years ago

    I just upgraded my Time Capsule yesterday with a 2TB Western Digital Green drive. The ‘Green’ drives have variable rotational speeds and use less power. It’s a lot quieter than the ‘Black’ 1TB version that Apple included. We now have plenty of space to back up our four Macs. It wasn’t that hard to do, but I did destroy the rubber bottom – any idea where I could get a replacement for that? I have found that Migration Assistant works best if you directly connect the new Mac to the old Mac using an Ethernet cable. Of course, that assumes that the old one is still working fine. Maybe you could do a video of that process. Time Machine is a life safer and so easy to use.

    Rob
    8 years ago

    Hi Gary – don’t know why but my Time Machine has only back ups from today. I did have months of back ups but checking it today sees only a day. What happened to the old ones I had… it’s weird…

    Any advice mate? Love your videos too!

    Rob

      8 years ago

      Hard to say why. Are you sure the backups aren’t there? What, exactly, happens when you try to look at the timeline or go back further than today? Maybe your drive is out of space and that’s all there is room for — but you should have gotten a warning about that. What’s the size of your Time Machine drive relative to the size of the drive it is backing up?

    Rob
    8 years ago

    Well it’s kind of bizzare Gary. I just checked again tonight and it only has today’s back up? I use to have months worth. I checked the INFO on the ext drive I’m using and it says:

    Capacity 1 TB
    Available 452 GB
    Used 547 GB…

    It’s backing up my iMac HD which when I right click my Macintosh HD it says :

    Capacity 319.21 GB
    Available 185GB

    It also backs up my Photos ext drive which is 2 TB but has only 500GB used.

    So if it is backing up my Mac HD it backs up 319GB plus 500GB on the photos drive.

    Should I consider moving my photos drive to the smaller ext drive and then set up the Time Machine drive on the 2TB drive?

    Thanks Gary – love your newsletters and videos.

    Rob
    Australia

    Rob
    8 years ago

    update – I decided to use Disk Utility to check it out and the drive with the back ups reports a couple problems – “incorrect number of file hard links”

    So now I’m running repair. Lots of weird error messages – incorrect flags for director, and lots of orphaned directory inode.

    So now I’ve repaired it I can see if it backs up more then one day..?

      8 years ago

      I doubt that will help but worth a try. Many error messages you will see are very very minor and don’t really cause problems.
      And yes, I would use the 2TB for backups and the 1TB for photos. Your largest drive should be your backup drive.

    rob
    8 years ago

    Thanks Gary – will change them over over the weekend. Oh boy…

    Thanks for your help mate.

    Rob

    Dave
    7 years ago

    Hey Gary
    I right now have a macbook with a 500gb Hard drive and I bought a 1tb backup drive which I partitioned to have the time machine backups (700gb) and a second partition for storing videos and movies for easy access when connecting it to my TV. I was just wondering what happens to backups when the time machine drive eventually fills up? Does it delete the full backup that the drive took initially? (which would be stupid) or does it just delete the older incremental backups? (which would make more sense to me)

      7 years ago

      When a TM drive gets close to full, then Time Machine handles it intelligently. It will delete older versions of files, always making sure at least the latest version of every file is there. The larger your drive, the more versions of old files you will have stored. In other words — you don’t even need to worry about this. TM will do the right thing.

        Dave
        7 years ago

        Thanks for the info Gary keep up the great work! I as a mac user greatly appreciate the resources you have made available for us.

    Matt
    7 years ago

    Gary, I had MacBook 2010 unibody that died. Got an Identical replacement. I would like to recover from my old Macbook’ s time machine external drive. Tried Migration assistant, lots of things not the same (desktop, music files etc,) Is a perfect recovery to before the crash possible. Help please!

      7 years ago

      Should be able to do a perfect recovery. Not sure why it didn’t work for you. Does the new one have the same OS (SL or Lion). Hard to help remotely.

        Matt
        7 years ago

        Yes OS X Lion 10.7.3 . I am surprised to learn there isn’t there a simple set procedure for this.

          7 years ago

          Doing the default should get you a perfect recovery. I’ve done it before. Hard for me to say why it didn’t work in this case.

            Matt
            7 years ago

            I don’t even know what doing the default is. Could you please tell me? perhaps I have made an error. (it is the operator much more than the machine usually)

              7 years ago

              By default, I mean just doing a plain restore. It should have worked.

    Mangala
    7 years ago

    I bought 120GB SSD to upgrade my mac pro, and thinking what is the best? cloning or TIme machine?

      7 years ago

      I would never do just cloning. I would do Time Machine, and then clone as a second (off-site?) backup.

    John
    7 years ago

    Thanks Gary! One question: Is the timeMachine sitting on my external (WD Passport) drive, ‘bootable’? Or is my only option to be up and running on an alternate machine to use Migration Assistant and go through that process.

    Scenario: My machine is destroyed and I’ve got a deadline. I would like to run to a friend’s, hook up my ext drive and boot and finish the work (using CS4/preferences, everything). Is this doable with both clones and TM?

    Thanks,
    John

      7 years ago

      It is not bootable — it is an archive that includes multiple versions going back in time of your files. That’s much more useful. But yes, it will take more time to restore everything.

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