Mac Users: Please, please, please….use Time Machine

Whenever I meet a client or a friend or really anyone who uses a Mac computer, almost the first question I ask them is “Do you use Time Machine?” often followed by a short pause as I gauge their reaction and then “Do you know about Time Machine?”

If you don’t know, Time Machine is a backup solution provided by Apple in the operating system on your Mac. It was introduced in 2007 with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and continued with Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) and certainly Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).

The best thing about Time Machine, besides being free, is how easy it is. All you do is attach a hard disk to your Apple desktop or laptop and your Mac will ask you “Shall I use this disk to backup your system?” So, all you need to do is buy a hard disk of sufficient size, plug it in and when prompted, respond “Yes.” That’s it. Really.

But, it’s not really it, is it?

Well, actually it is, but there’s more to say. More that’s worth reading to the end.

If you have only a Mac desktop, then the above is a great solution. Plug in the hard disk, never take it out, and forget it. Your system will take care of everything.

However, if you have only a laptop, or if you have more than one Mac computer in the same household, you really want a wireless backup option. Why?

Well, if you have only a laptop, the idea is to be mobile. So you take your laptop to a meeting, interview, to the pub or cafe, to a friend’s house, etc. When you get home with your laptop, you have a dozen things on your mind: kids, dinner, going to the gym, report due tomorrow, friend coming over, etc. The last thing on your mind, probably, is “Oh, I have to plug in my hard disk to let Time Machine do its thing.” So, inevitably, people will forget to plug it in. Maybe one day. Maybe one day becomes two days. or a week.

However, during this time of not plugging in the hard disk, you probably will use the computer. To check email, print out the travel documents, check movie times, look up a recipe, etc.

Apple realized this situation and came out with the cleverly titled Time Capsule to work with Time Machine. It’s basically a wireless router with a huge disk built-in. It comes in two capacities: 2 TB and 3 TB. It takes about 10 minutes to setup. Once it is, you tell your laptop to use the hard disk on the Time Capsule as its backup device. Now, anytime you use the computer, it will be backing things up. Wirelessly.

Another great thing about the Time Capsule is that it can back up multiple computers at once. So, if you have an iMac for the kids, and Mom and Dad each have a laptop, they can all back up to the same Time Capsule. Security and peace of mind.

Like car insurance or health insurance.

So, if you use a Mac, please, please, please, please…..use Time Machine. And, depending on which Macs or how many, you may want to consider using the Apple Time Capsule.


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About zonkeringeneva

An American with a German son living in Geneva with a new Boxer-Labrador puppy name Xoë. I can be found on Facebook (kicking and screaming!), Google Plus (crickets), (I'm Zonker), and Ask me anything IT related. I'm sure I'll have something useful to say.

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