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Time Machine and Backup Tips

Last updated March 02, 2010 - Send Feedback

Time Machine is about automatic and local “always on” backup.

Time Machine is not a substitute for regular backups!

Time Machine does not protect against all risks!

A Time Machine backup drive must remain attached to the computer, or relatively near it. Therefore, it’s at the same risks as the computer: theft, fire, flood, cat urine, etc.

Do not rely solely on Time machine to save your butt, you need external backups that you store elsewhere, well away from the computer, preferably in another building at some distance.

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Make it fast and efficient

Exclude folders or even whole volumes that do not need to be backed up.


Time Machine was somewhat buggy and slow in Mac OS X Leopard 10.5. For example, it would say “preparing backup” forever.

But in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Time Machine is much faster and more reliable too. If you encounter a problem, see this Apple support page:


Remember, if your Time Machine goes wonky, you can always erase the backup drive with Disk Utility, and then let it start from scratch. But do be sure you have other backups also, stored safely elsewhere.


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