How often do you back up your Mac’s important files? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could back up all your files for safekeeping, every hour, every day?
Your Mac’s built-in Time Machine does that. It’s truly a set it and forget it utility that works. Retrieving files you’ve lost or need is easy. It’s like using a time machine to go back in time to a specific date or hour to find a specific file. What about a disaster?
The Easy Steps To Go Back In Time
If you haven’t used Time Machine you’ll be impressed with how easy it is to set up and use. All you need is a second hard disk drive to act as the back up.
Plug in the extra disk and make sure it’s formatted and ready.
Second, open System Preferences and click on the Time Machine icon.
Third, select the disk you want to use as a back up, click Time Machines’ On button. That’s pretty much it.
Time Machine will begin backing up all the files on your Mac. That process may take a few hours, depending on how many files, apps, documents, music, movies, and photos are on your Mac.
Every Change, Every Hour
When it’s done with the initial back up, Time Machine will monitor your Mac. When specific files are changed, Time Machine makes a note of it, and keeps a back up of the original every hour.
Whenever you need to find an older version of a file, simply click Time Machine in the Dock to start. Scroll back in time using the slider bar until you find the date and time for the file you need. Time Machine handles all the back up details.
Life is good. Until it’s not.
Trials And Tribulations Of Time Machine
Aside from a few configuration and hard disk drive issues, the primary trials and tribulations with Time Machine center around catastrophic failures. When your Mac’s hard disk drive dies, is Time Machine a good way to restore your Mac?
We don’t think so. Assume your Mac’s hard disk drive died. Without a cloned back up disk, you’ll need to use Time Machine to restore your files and applications, a laborious process which may take many hours.
Compare that to a cloned back up disk, which mirrors your Mac’s original disk.
A cloned disk can be used to start up your Mac (or any compatible Mac), keeping all your files intact (since the last back up). Even the Time Machine back up disk can be hooked up and made ready to run in minutes.
The caveat is that you need multiple disk drives for back up purposes. One a clone of your Mac, the other for Time Machine (or, a single, much larger disk drive, partitioned to handle both a clone and Time Machine back ups).
Time Machine is an excellent way to retrieve individual Mac files over time, but a very slow and awkward process to restore a Mac.