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Update enables Time Machine backups to AirPort Extreme USB drives

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
A software update released Wednesday allows Apple's Time Machine software to perform backups to external USB drives connected to AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Stations, essentially replicating the behavior of the company's Time Capsule appliance.

The functionality, dubbed AirPort Disk, was at one time an highly touted feature of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. But to the dismay of many, it was subsequently scratched in the weeks leading up to the operating system's release last October, with all references to its existence vanishing from Apple's website without explanation

Despite Apple's silence on the matter, AppleInsider later cited a person familiar with the ongoing development of Leopard as saying that company had internally classified the inability to select an AirPort Disk under Time Machine as a known issue. The matter was assigned a unique "Bug ID" number and titled: "Cannot set Time Machine Backup to AirPort Disk."

In the bug report, Apple noted that the issue was "currently being investigated by engineering," offering a ray of hope that it would be restored one day once the technological kinks had been knocked out. On Wednesday, the company released Time Machine and AirPort Update 1.0, marking the feature's long awaited return.

After downloading the update, users reported the ability to select external USB drives connected to the latest AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Stations as the destination drive for backups under the Time Machine control panel. They also reported that the software update changed their Leopard build from 9C31 to 9C7010.
post #2 of 65
i have a linksys n router would like to go apple so what's the best way to go
TC or AE w/drive??
can you add drives to both for future expansion, and what about booting up from this disk?
right now i use superduper with 2 firewire drive(triple interface drives), can these be added??
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post #3 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

i have a linksys n router would like to go apple so what's the best way to go
TC or AE w/drive??
can you add drives to both for future expansion, and what about booting up from this disk?
right now i use superduper with 2 firewire drive(triple interface drives), can these be added??

Whichever works for you. You can stick a USB hub onto the single USB port of both TC and AE but you're limited to USB. No Firewire nor any booting up I'm afraid.
post #4 of 65
Personally, my opinion would be to keep the backup target disk seperate from a network device. Should a time capsul fail or ever need to be serviced, you are effectivly loosing both your router and system backups at the same time. From what I understand, the Time Capsule will not function with the hard drive removed, nor is there a way to remove the drive without violating warrenty.

What I like about the Airport Extreme approach (which I can now thankfully take advantage of) is that as long as the hard drive is recognizable by the unit as a USB device, I can effectivly add as much (or as little) storage as I want.

So while I may decide that 500GB is enough for me now as a backup target, I can easilly bump it up to 1TB or higher by swapping out the hard drive attached to the Airport, or even through the adding of a USB raid enclosure.

Then again... this is only my opinion. \


Quote:
Originally Posted by NOFEER View Post

i have a linksys n router would like to go apple so what's the best way to go
TC or AE w/drive??
can you add drives to both for future expansion, and what about booting up from this disk?
right now i use superduper with 2 firewire drive(triple interface drives), can these be added??
post #5 of 65
Methinks it's possible the bug causing the delay for "AirDisk" backup might have been the bug up someone's butt to get out a high-margin Apple-branded TimeCapsule product people would buy first before they released the capability to do it with a cheap third-party disk.

post #6 of 65
I ran out and bought one and have both a USB drive and a AE. I think I am still good for 14 days to return it. hmmmm
post #7 of 65
The USB disk need not be connected to AEBS. I am able to back up via WiFi to a USB disk that is connected to another Mac. Both machines have 10.5.2. Actually, Time Machine can 'see' all the hard disks, both internal and external, in all the Macs in my network.
post #8 of 65
I always suspected, having advertised this as a feature initially, they would fix it. Many said it was removed simply to sell more Time Capsules. I am glad to see Apple, as usual, have done the right thing. I was one of many that did buy all the equipment specifically to do this so I am thrilled.

Thank you Apple.
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post #9 of 65
I have a USB connected harddrive that i've been using for months now. How do i go about plugging it into my Airport Extreme and noticing it? I did the software and firmware updates, plugged it in, and the drive is there in finder, but can't be selected in the Time Machine settings.
post #10 of 65
Three cheers for time machine backups to USB disks! Even though I have a TC myself.

Anyway, I had hoped that the airport driver update would speed up airport re-connect after sleep, but no such luck.
I can still open the laptop, press cmd-L to open a Safari window, type an address, press return and get the "you are not connected to the internet", and no, I am not really that fast, so that is disappointing.
And yes, I have thrown away .plists and network keys/settings and set IPV6 to "off", but no difference.

Oh well, maybe 10.5.3.
post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

The USB disk need not be connected to AEBS. I am able to back up via WiFi to a USB disk that is connected to another Mac. Both machines have 10.5.2. Actually, Time Machine can 'see' all the hard disks, both internal and external, in all the Macs in my network.

This is true and if one of those Macs is on 24/7/365 (such as a server) that is the way to go I feel, if not an AE is next best choice I suspect (but will do some tests asap) AE will be slower ... but maybe not. Anyone done any test?

I wish the initial back up could be done over Firewire as it takes so long wirelessly. I tried this but once relocated the TM starts a fresh initial back up, ignoring the one already there. Has anyone found a work around for this?
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post #12 of 65
Does anyone know if Aperture 2.0 will backup to a TC or AEBS with USB drive ?
post #13 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by knappster View Post

I have a USB connected harddrive that i've been using for months now. How do i go about plugging it into my Airport Extreme and noticing it? I did the software and firmware updates, plugged it in, and the drive is there in finder, but can't be selected in the Time Machine settings.

Is the drive HSF+?

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post #14 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by json View Post

Three cheers for time machine backups to USB disks! Even though I have a TC myself.

Anyway, I had hoped that the airport driver update would speed up airport re-connect after sleep, but no such luck.
I can still open the laptop, press cmd-L to open a Safari window, type an address, press return and get the "you are not connected to the internet", and no, I am not really that fast, so that is disappointing.
And yes, I have thrown away .plists and network keys/settings and set IPV6 to "off", but no difference.

Oh well, maybe 10.5.3.

Something odd there ... I have an old iBook G4 and a MacBook on the network here and both wake up and connect almost instantly.
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post #15 of 65
Do we know if Time Machine will back up to an HDD connected to Airport Express?
post #16 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnathan View Post

Do we know if Time Machine will back up to an HDD connected to Airport Express?

No I don't think so, the express usb port can only be used for printers.
post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Something odd there ... I have an old iBook G4 and a MacBook on the network here and both wake up and connect almost instantly.

Yeah, that sounds like the way it should be! I mean it doesn't take forever, but often up to 5 seconds.

Right after I installed 10.5.2 I got very quick reconnects (less than one second) if the machine had been asleep for a short time (about an hour or so). If it had been asleep over night the airport function seemed to restart from scratch after sleep (I got the "hollow" airport symbol you get when you turn off airport and then it reconnected).

Now after the driver update I don't get the "restart", but on the other hand the slow reconnect is back also after a short sleep.

The problems started with the security update for OS X 10.4 that was release in the spring 2007 (don't remember the number).
I have since then switched to Leopard, doing a clean install, but the problems persist. I have a MacBook 2.0 Core Duo (May 2006).
post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

Methinks it's possible the bug causing the delay for "AirDisk" backup might have been the bug up someone's butt to get out a high-margin Apple-branded TimeCapsule product people would buy first before they released the capability to do it with a cheap third-party disk.


I think TC is priced right...the AEBS is 180, by adding 120 more, you get a 500 TB disk! And it all fit into one!

The only gripe I have with TC now is the xbox 360 wireless connectivity issue!! Anyone got it working with their 360 since the firmware update yesterday??
post #19 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by json View Post

Yeah, that sounds like the way it should be! I mean it doesn't take forever, but often up to 5 seconds.

Right after I installed 10.5.2 I got very quick reconnects (less than one second) if the machine had been asleep for a short time (about an hour or so). If it had been asleep over night the airport function seemed to restart from scratch after sleep (I got the "hollow" airport symbol you get when you turn off airport and then it reconnected).

Now after the driver update I don't get the "restart", but on the other hand the slow reconnect is back also after a short sleep.

The problems started with the security update for OS X 10.4 that was release in the spring 2007 (don't remember the number).
I have since then switched to Leopard, doing a clean install, but the problems persist. I have a MacBook 2.0 Core Duo (May 2006).

To be honest '5 seconds' is 'instantly' in my book ... maybe I am older and time is running faster
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post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by sho38 View Post

I think TC is priced right...the AEBS is 180, by adding 120 more, you get a 500 TB disk! And it all fit into one!

The only gripe I have with TC now is the xbox 360 wireless connectivity issue!! Anyone got it working with their 360 since the firmware update yesterday??

Remember that the hard disk in the Time Capsule is a Server grade hard disk. You are going to see a far lower failure rate on those drives compared to the off the shelf cheapies out there.
post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

Methinks it's possible the bug causing the delay for "AirDisk" backup might have been the bug up someone's butt to get out a high-margin Apple-branded TimeCapsule product people would buy first before they released the capability to do it with a cheap third-party disk.

It's not that much savings. Time Capsule is not at a bad price compared to AE+external drive. That will change over the coming months, but it's not bad right now, it's self contained, with less risk of the USB cable yanking, one less power brick, one less power cord and so on.
post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post

Remember that the hard disk in the Time Capsule is a Server grade hard disk. You are going to see a far lower failure rate on those drives compared to the off the shelf cheapies out there.

Many TimeCapsules shipped with Hitachi DeskStart drives...hardly 'server grade'. They do have a very high MTBF rating, so they should fail less that cheapies. Still a good value for the price of adding 1/2TB or 1TB of storage.

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post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

Methinks it's possible the bug causing the delay for "AirDisk" backup might have been the bug up someone's butt to get out a high-margin Apple-branded TimeCapsule product people would buy first before they released the capability to do it with a cheap third-party disk.


Would you please explain how you could actually believe what you say and still remain an Apple customer? I would really like to know because if I really believed Apple did stuff like you and others theorize there's no way I could remain a customer. My personal ethics would get in the way. Yet you and others like you are constantly espousing nasty conspiracy theories about Apple's motivations and supposed evil deeds. But you're still here and still posting. Why is that?\
post #24 of 65
Am I the only one that can't get anything to work? My time machine doesn't know my airport extreme drive exists. I can see it in finder just fine though, it's under Shared and I see the drive as a shared directory (a folder with peeps holding hands).

Add to all that, my Airport Utility can't even see my Airport Extreme, so I have no way to tell what firmware it's on.
post #25 of 65
Do you think a USB disk attached to a non-802.11n AEBS (I have the 802.11g version) will work with time machine? Or, do I need to buy a newer version of AEBS.
post #26 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Is the drive HSF+?

It started backing up when i was browsing the disk in Finder ... weird...
post #27 of 65
What about those of us with an Extreme and a Firewire backup drive? There are no Firewire ports on the Extreme and trying to network my PowerBook with my desktop, to which the external drive is attached, does not work as it did with Tiger - still.

I would like to be able to do automatic Time Machine backups to my external drive wirelessly, rather than having to switch around the cables between my desktop and laptop (which I have been doing).
post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

What about those of us with an Extreme and a Firewire backup drive? There are no Firewire ports on the Extreme...

I will wager that no software or firmware update is going to make your Extreme sprout a Firewire port, so you'd better go buy a USB drive.
post #29 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

Methinks it's possible the bug causing the delay for "AirDisk" backup might have been the bug up someone's butt to get out a high-margin Apple-branded TimeCapsule product people would buy first before they released the capability to do it with a cheap third-party disk.


This is just nonsense. TimeCapsule shiped less than 4 weeks ago. How many could been sold until now? Ether your accusation is totally untrue or Jobs' been really cheap.......I mean really really cheap.
post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

This is true and if one of those Macs is on 24/7/365 (such as a server) that is the way to go I feel, if not an AE is next best choice I suspect (but will do some tests asap) AE will be slower ... but maybe not. Anyone done any test?

I wish the initial back up could be done over Firewire as it takes so long wirelessly. I tried this but once relocated the TM starts a fresh initial back up, ignoring the one already there. Has anyone found a work around for this?

Use Ethernet. If your Macs have Gigabit ports (most if not all currently shipping Macs have it) just plug into the Extreme (or the other Mac if that's where you backup disk is). That will be much faster than wireless. After your initial backup is done, the incremental backups over wireless should be fine.
post #31 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Use Ethernet. If your Macs have Gigabit ports (most if not all currently shipping Macs have it) just plug into the Extreme (or the other Mac if that's where you backup disk is). That will be much faster than wireless. After your initial backup is done, the incremental backups over wireless should be fine.

I have 7 Macs on my network, two are laptops hence need for wireless on those. The rest are ethernet connected.
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post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by u2mr2os2 View Post

I will wager that no software or firmware update is going to make your Extreme sprout a Firewire port, so you'd better go buy a USB drive.

good one ... but with Apple you never know ... maybe a secret door will open and FW was there all along, hidden till now.
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post #33 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

What about those of us with an Extreme and a Firewire backup drive? There are no Firewire ports on the Extreme and trying to network my PowerBook with my desktop, to which the external drive is attached, does not work as it did with Tiger - still.

I would like to be able to do automatic Time Machine backups to my external drive wirelessly, rather than having to switch around the cables between my desktop and laptop (which I have been doing).

Sounds like there is something wrong with your setup. Are you connecting the Macs direclty, or via the Extreme? Are there other routers in your network? Can your PB see your desktop otherwise, or is it just Time Machine that can't see the desktop?

I'm in the midst of updating all my computers to Leopard and network to N, so I'm not there yet (working on it this weekend), but my plan is to backup wireless to a drive connected to a desktop via FW (and the desktop connected to the Extreme via Ethernet).
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I have 7 Macs on my network, two are laptops hence need for wireless on those. The rest are ethernet connected.

Yes, so you hook up your laptops via Ethernet for just the initial backup, which over Gigabit will be about as fast as the FW connection you wished you could use for your first backup.

The problem is that TM treats network drives a little differently than directly connected drives (ie: FW). So you can use Ethernet, which will be far faster than wireless, and your TM backup drive will always be viewed as a network drive.

Incremental backups should be fast enough over wireless. However, if you just loaded 3 GBs of photos onto your laptop, then you may want to connect via Ethernet for the next incremental backup!
post #35 of 65
I am a bit concerned about some of these changes:
1) Apple does not yet have a statement that Time Machine can use an AirDisk
2) The Airport does not have a statement that the AirDisk can be used with TM
3) TM records into the disk differently when connected directly to a USB drive, it creates a series of folders and stores the backup in a folder with the machine name.
4) TM when connected to a drive via AirDisk, skips the creation of the directory structure and instead it writes the backups at the root level of the drive
5) TM is unable to take into consideration the previous backups that were created when the drive was directly connected to the Mac and does not attempt to convert the old backup to the new format (sparse tree).
6) In about this mac, the new build number is rather odd and not similar to the previous
7) The patch screw-up the copyright of OSX by setting it to 2007 instead of 2008

Before you answer, I understand things are working, and I understand that sharing with a mac looks the same as with AirDisk, but the big questions in my mind are:
Is this what Apple intended, for the two methods to produce so completely different results? and Is the fact that is working an accident given that Apple has yet to post the capability? Are there any technical issues why a sparce-tree could not have been created in a directory structure? What drove Apple to create the backup in a different location?

My backups are very important to me, this makes me nervous.
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

To be honest '5 seconds' is 'instantly' in my book ... maybe I am older and time is running faster



I don't think so, I am sure you're young enough! And patience is a virtue, or so they tell me.
But I guess my stress levels are not what they should be.... maybe my blood pressure should be checked a bit more often....
post #37 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeCecconet View Post

Personally, my opinion would be to keep the backup target disk seperate from a network device. Should a time capsul fail or ever need to be serviced, you are effectivly loosing both your router and system backups at the same time. From what I understand, the Time Capsule will not function with the hard drive removed, nor is there a way to remove the drive without violating warrenty.

What I like about the Airport Extreme approach (which I can now thankfully take advantage of) is that as long as the hard drive is recognizable by the unit as a USB device, I can effectivly add as much (or as little) storage as I want.

So while I may decide that 500GB is enough for me now as a backup target, I can easilly bump it up to 1TB or higher by swapping out the hard drive attached to the Airport, or even through the adding of a USB raid enclosure.

Then again... this is only my opinion. \

That is most likely the smartest thing I have heard between here and MacRumors. I have Airport Extreme 802.11n with the Time Capsule added to my network. That way is one goes out I can always keep my network connection.
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by EagerDragon View Post

I am a bit concerned about some of these changes:
1) Apple does not yet have a statement that Time Machine can use an AirDisk
2) The Airport does not have a statement that the AirDisk can be used with TM
3) TM records into the disk differently when connected directly to a USB drive, it creates a series of folders and stores the backup in a folder with the machine name.
4) TM when connected to a drive via AirDisk, skips the creation of the directory structure and instead it writes the backups at the root level of the drive
5) TM is unable to take into consideration the previous backups that were created when the drive was directly connected to the Mac and does not attempt to convert the old backup to the new format (sparse tree).
6) In about this mac, the new build number is rather odd and not similar to the previous
7) The patch screw-up the copyright of OSX by setting it to 2007 instead of 2008

Before you answer, I understand things are working, and I understand that sharing with a mac looks the same as with AirDisk, but the big questions in my mind are:
Is this what Apple intended, for the two methods to produce so completely different results? and Is the fact that is working an accident given that Apple has yet to post the capability? Are there any technical issues why a sparce-tree could not have been created in a directory structure? What drove Apple to create the backup in a different location?

My backups are very important to me, this makes me nervous.



really good points...Apple's perspective still seems to be that this is unsupported and a hack.

"But I read it on the internet, it sound be fine" \
post #39 of 65
Yeah I hope so about the HDD too. But it still doesnt fix my xbox 360 connectivity issue
post #40 of 65
I'm a little spooked on how time machine is handling the backup on the time capsule or air disk backups. Don't get me wrong ... I'm happy this all works ... and it does work on my system. But I don't like the single sparse bundle file. What if that one file goes bad and becomes unmountable as has been reported. That means all my backup files (in excess of a million) would go bad.

I think I will stay tethered to my usb or firewire cable when using time machine until I hear I hear specific comments on this being supported and safe from Apple.
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