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Apple 'Time Machine' and Backup

Time Machine is Apple’s backup software. In a nutshell, here are what I would say about it:

  • I use Time Machine because the hourly snapshots offer protection against data loss that my regular but less frequent backups do not.
  • Time Machine is appropriately used for short term protection. It is not really a good substitute for a full clone backup, if for no other reason than the interminably slow and obtuse process for restoring from scratch (as compared with insta-boot off a clone—zero overhead). Always keep a bare minimum of two full backups stored safely away from the computer.
  • Used as short term protection, one can exclude older files that should have long ago been backed up on full backups and stored away. This allows use of a much smaller Time Machine backup volume for recent work/changes.
  • Because the Time Machine volume is always attached, the currently attached drive could be called a “half backup”— meaning that it is subject to the same risks as the Mac itself. A full backup should be stored away from the computer, preferably well away to avoid the same perils. One can use a NAS or Time Capsule on the network, but this is painfully slow and irritating when Time Machine kicks in for any significant changes and “same building” is still not as good as a different building (like home + office).

For more, see the Time Machine articles and backup articles.

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