Juri StrumpflohnerFollowJuri is a full stack developer and tech lead with a special passion for the web and frontend development. He creates online videos for Egghead.io, writes articles on his blog and for tech magazines, speaks at conferences and holds training workshops.
Time Machine backups to Windows shared network drive
3 min read
As some of you may have already read I acquired
a MacBook Pro about half a year ago and I love it ;) . Now one of the really cool things OS X provides is Time
great because you simple don't have to do anything. If at all, you can specify the folders which should be excluded
from the backup, but the rest is a completely automated process. Time Machine takes care of creating backups that
contain the best possible coverage, starting from hourly, weekly to monthly backups, depending on the remaining space
on your backup drive.
Apple wouldn't be Apple if they wouldn't have a business model behind this thing.They call it Time
Capsule and it is the device which is intented to be the backup drive on the other side of Time Machine. It is
more than just a simple external (network capable) HD: it may also function as print server and router.
I already bought an external HD about 1 1/2 years ago (I guess). Unfortunately it cannot be attached to the network,
but just over USB. So for a while I used to do my backups by manually attaching my HD to the USB port of my MacBook and
let Time Machine do its work. However this is cumbersome and you often forget to attach it regularly and moreover, the
HD usually stands at some place in your apartment. You're not going to take it around and again, it's nerving to
take your notebook there, attach it just for the purpose of doing backups.
So the idea came to my mind of
sharing my HD over the network through another computer. I still have my very first notebook, an Acer which is about 6
years old now, I guess. I usually use it as some kind of server, also for sharing my non-network printer to the home
wireless. So why shouldn't I also expose my HD? A post
on Superuser pointed me tosomeinterestingpages (this
one is another good one). I'm not going to repeat everything since you can get more informations on the linked
pages. The main steps are the following:
Share the external HD on your Windows server (or notebook as in my case) and make sure you have the necessary
user rights for writing/reading.
Mount the network drive and copy the created sparsebundle on it
Configure the network drive for backups by referencing it from within the Time Machine configuration
You have to pay attention that the hostname you indicate in the .sparsebundle name matches exactly your Mac's
hostname. Spaces and strange characters may create problems. Moreover I'd suggest to do the first backup
directly over a wired network connection since the 1st backup may take quite a while.
Note, if you use your ethernet card for doing the initial backup which is highly
recommended, you have to use the MAC address of your that ethernet card, otherwise Time Machine won't recognize
I'm now using this backup mechanism for about three weeks and it
works seamlessly. When my Mac is within the home wireless network it automatically connects to the shared backup
drive and starts creating his hourly backups. Just great :)