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Using Time Machine for Data Safety

Last updated 2010-03-02 - Send Feedback
Related: backup, Time Machine

If you’re not using Apple’s Time Machine, you’re missing out on up-to-the-hour protection that protects you without any effort

Every hour, Time Machine kicks in and takes note of new files, changed files and deleted files. Time Machine also keeps daily and weekly backups. New and changed files are backed-up; versions of deleted files remain present for recovery if needed. Obviously a backup drive must be online and available for this to happen, so Time Machine does require a separate volume from your main drive for backup.

The elegance of Time Machine is that it’s built in, and that it’s incremental, saving versions of files, deleted files, etc, so that you can find a file you changed or deleted a day ago or a month ago.

Shown below are the System Preferences for Time Machine. For more on this, see Configuring Time Machine, and be sure to read the subsequent pages here on this site.

Time Machine preferences

Time Machine vs Time Capsule

Time Machine is backup software, built into Mac OS X.

Time Capsule is an external, networkable hard drive that can be used as a backup device by Time Machine, or for other purposes.

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Time Machine has saved me from my own mistakes many times, and I would not be without it.

Be sure to use Time Machine, it’s a no-brainer, the absolute minimum that you must do to protect your data. Once set up, it’s all benefit, with no downside. Don’t skip regular backups in addition to Time Machine.

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