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Time Machine now works with AirPort Extreme's AirDisk feature


Who knows why it took so long, but the latest AirPort Extreme firmware update (7.3.1, out today) finally brings Time Machine compatibility to AirDisk. In typical Apple fashion, there's no mention of it on the release notes, but the crew over at TUAW says it's working, and commenters are confirming. We're still holding out for Time Machine to work with any NAS we want, but for now, it looks like all you Airport Extreme owners who felt like you were getting played by the release of Time Capsule are finally in the game -- get those USB drives ready for some hot backup nights.

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Matt G

Matt G @ Mar 19th 2008 7:28PM

This figures, I just bought a Time Capsule this weekend because I finally caved and bought one. Looks like I can cancel my eBay auctions for my had drives and my not so out of date anymore Airport Extreme

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James

James @ Mar 19th 2008 7:32PM

I was going to buy a time capsule but with this upgrade is there any advantage over buying it instead of getting an airport extreme

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Zak

Zak @ Mar 19th 2008 7:35PM

The advantage is that Time Capsule is one unit that can be used as NAS as well as being an n wireless router and a time machine backup drive.

If you get an airport express, then you also have to get a separate external HD, and it can't be used as NAS apparently. If you already have a USB HD and you only need to use it for backups, then it might be worth it to get an Airport Extreme instead of Time Capsule.

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AlexanderK

AlexanderK @ Mar 19th 2008 7:47PM

Fuck... Why is apple so confusing. =\

So what works as a NAS and what doesn't?
please advise.

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Joshua Ochs

Joshua Ochs @ Mar 19th 2008 7:59PM

Apple isn't confusing; the poster above simply is confused. The AirDisk on the Airport Extreme does work as a NAS, and as far as I can tell supports AFP and SMB just fine.

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Adam

Adam @ Mar 19th 2008 7:49PM

Wait, what? You've been able to use AEBS USB-attached drives as NAS since the beginning. I keep my entire iTunes library on one.

I just moved my Time Machine disk to my base station, and it definitely works. It's insisting on starting my backups from scratch, however, since Time Machine doesn't seem to realize it was the same drive it was using 10 minutes ago. The copy is going at about 2MB/sec.

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Zak

Zak @ Mar 19th 2008 7:57PM

Yeah I misread that. Both Time Capsule and a usb drive attached to an Airport Extreme can be used as NAS.

Bottom line:

If you don't have an external USB hard drive for backup or an Airport Extreme yet, get a Time Capsule.
If you already have an external USB hard drive for backup, get an Airport Extreme.
If you already have an Airport Extreme, get an external USB hard drive.

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Mike D.

Mike D. @ Mar 19th 2008 7:58PM

It's probably a good idea to wait until Apple officially announces support for this. Then again, I just bought a Time Capsule to replace the AirPort Extreme and external HD I bought in anticipation of this feature (you know, back before Leopard came out) and so I feel slightly swindled.

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Michael LaFramboise

Michael LaFramboise @ Mar 19th 2008 8:05PM

w00t! :) now if only the transfer speeds would be better - right now the weakest link is AEBS's cpu which is causing the slow-as-sin transfers.

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YoMomma

YoMomma @ Mar 19th 2008 8:22PM

another Apple related article. we have atleast one everyday.

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CL

CL @ Mar 19th 2008 8:30PM

just like those "will it blend" or "will it play doom" comments that you make at least once everyday.

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thethirdmoose

thethirdmoose @ Mar 19th 2008 8:40PM

Cry cry cry... are your tubes too clogged or something?

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CitizenKlaw

CitizenKlaw @ Mar 19th 2008 8:52PM

You're new here, aren't you?

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Aaron

Aaron @ Mar 19th 2008 10:06PM

Another Apple hating poster. We have at least 78 everyday.

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michael

michael @ Mar 19th 2008 8:36PM

Do they work with PC's?

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Jose R. Perez

Jose R. Perez @ Mar 19th 2008 8:53PM

Yup!

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Furious Styles

Furious Styles @ Mar 19th 2008 8:57PM

So can Squeezecenter be installed on the Time Capsule? Will the Squeezecenter program run automatically on the Time Capsule while my Macbook is not powered on?

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Bb

Bb @ Mar 19th 2008 8:57PM

I hear-by declare that my previous posts bitching about Apple and this issue are rescinded.

(Thank you for your attention)

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Kelmon

Kelmon @ Mar 20th 2008 8:15AM

I'm waiting to try this out when I get home tonight but will certainly feel less annoyed at Apple if this has indeed returned the advertised feature that I paid money for last year. The only continuing sour note is that it took so damned long to address. The advantage that Apple has is that they make the hardware and the software so I really don't see that they have an excuse for releasing products that don't work. I don't hold with the "release then fix" mentality.

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dagamer34

dagamer34 @ Mar 19th 2008 9:34PM

Isn't USB slower than SATA anyway? I know people probably won't be beaming entire GB of backups everyday and what not, but especially for people who are going to be connected via LAN, I would think that having an internal SATA drive would be faster anyway.

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Arjy

Arjy @ Mar 19th 2008 9:49PM

Either way, its gonna be hindered by the connection to the time machine/airport extreme itself.

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dagamer34

dagamer34 @ Mar 19th 2008 9:52PM

Not if you're on a gigabit LAN.

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Aaron

Aaron @ Mar 19th 2008 10:07PM

Not if you're on the Airport Gigabit LAN. It's just not that fast.

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Kelmon

Kelmon @ Mar 20th 2008 10:40AM

A couple of things need to be born in mind with this. Firstly, if you have multiple computers that need to be backed up connected to a wireless network (particularly laptops) then this is very convenient. Secondly, due to the way that Time Machine backs up each hour, each backup should be relatively small unless you have been editing particularly large files.

Time Machine lacks the reliability of a professional backup system (there's no redundancy, for example) and wireless is always going to be pretty slow even over an 802.11n network, but it is convenient and simple enough for people to use without really having to think about it.

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Amit

Amit @ Mar 19th 2008 10:19PM

So I'm upgrading to Leopard this weekend and wanted to make sure I understand how this works. I already have a USB external drive, so would AEBS be my best option? Is AEBS the only router to offer Time Machine support (i.e. could I use my netgear router with the external hard drive?)

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Ari

Ari @ Mar 19th 2008 10:31PM

@Amit

To use Time Machine through your network you need either an AEBS or a Time Capsule, and even though you have a USB drive I'm not sure which you should get. The Time Capsule is faster, smaller, less power hungry setup; most if not all USB drives don't spin down when connected to the AEBS. At least I think that's true, please correct me if I'm wrong.

The AEBS is $120 cheaper. If you'd use your USB external drive for something else and can afford it, I'd go with the Time Capsule, otherwise buy the AEBS.

It also may be worth going to *hack* Best Buy *hack* which doesn't charge a restocking fee, just in case the network performance of either is inadequate.

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Mike

Mike @ Mar 19th 2008 11:24PM

@Ari
Actually, those aren't the only two options; you can also use any Mac running Leopard with personal file sharing on as a Time Machine target.

BTW, for all you guys looking to buy the right combination of equipment, all indications are that the Mac Mini is way overdue for an update. My personal conjecture is that the reason it hasn't been updated in a while is that Apple is trying to make a radical change to it's design, and they haven't gotten it quite right yet. That's why there is conflicting information; reports of it's being discontinued yet it slowly gets updated.

My bet is that they are going to morph it into a Mac home server box. All they have to do is upgrade the Mac Mini with some more horsepower and RAID capability; maybe even combine it with Airport functionality; and add a few pieces of software from Mac OS Server. They have all the parts, they just need to mash them together.

So if you can wait a few months, I'm thinking something like this will be coming this year. At least I'm hoping...

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Amit

Amit @ Mar 20th 2008 12:39AM

That's good to know. Thanks!

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Patrick

Patrick @ Mar 19th 2008 10:32PM

I hate to the bad guy here, but this feature/hack has been around since about 3 days after Leopard dropped.

From Terminal, type the following:

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

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Michael Rose

Michael Rose @ Mar 19th 2008 11:27PM

"From Terminal, type the following:

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1"

You see the part of that command that says "Unsupported," right? The difference is that now Apple is providing the functionality on the AEBS, which was announced before Leopard shipped but didn't make it to the GM. Backing up to an unsupported target is like making a flak jacket out of gunpowder -- it might work, but it could also blow up.

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happy_penguin

happy_penguin @ Mar 20th 2008 2:04AM

Patrick, not everyone wants to hack or is capable of hacking their devices. Regardless, the hacks do influence official support so I say hacks are good, but so is official support.

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Richy

Richy @ Mar 20th 2008 6:00AM

I've already done this hack for my MBP and Maxtor NAS. But, users should be aware of the risks...

Time Machine will have considered a packet of data sucessfully written to the backup volume when it receives a success response from the router. Unfortunately, in non-Time Capsule/upgraded Airport Extremes, this response simply means that the router has received the packet successfully, and not that the router has managed (in my case) to successfully route the packet to the NAS, and the NAS has sucessfully stored the data to disc.

To be honest, failures are pretty unlikely (I've had no problems so far, and have had to do a full restore of my iPhoto data too!); but can occur.

Personally, I'm going to buy a Time Capsule anyway -- if only to reduce the clutter in my living room, and to get seom decent wireless range now that all my neighbours have 802.11g ans I have waaay too much interference (on every channel!).

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crayonstory

crayonstory @ Mar 19th 2008 11:12PM

I've just moved my Time machine back up drive to the base station, as commented on earlier it has to redo the backup. However it has happily made its way to 6GB of 120GB and now I keep getting an error "Unable to complete backup. An error occurred while copying files to the backup volume". Any ideas?

Thanks.

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Nic Rovner

Nic Rovner @ Mar 19th 2008 11:16PM

I just set it up it works!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Sieb

Sieb @ Mar 20th 2008 12:28AM

I can see my USB drive on my AEBS, and access files etc. but setting up Time Machine, it doesn't see the USB drive. Any ideas?

Thanks!

Mark S

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Nic Rovner

Nic Rovner @ Mar 20th 2008 12:39AM

I had a simmiler issue. Eventually TM recognizes the HD. Its not much help I know but it does solve itself

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Richy

Richy @ Mar 20th 2008 6:01AM

Backup volume full?

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Richy

Richy @ Mar 20th 2008 6:46AM

Bugger. Damn you Engadget comments. The above was supposed to be in response to 'Crayonstory'.

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jsel

jsel @ Mar 20th 2008 9:50AM

The problem for my small business with BOTH Time Capsule and AEBS is that we want to keep our main files on a commonly-available NAS. Unfortunately, any NAS coming from either the Time Capsule (internally or externally) OR the AEBS (obviously external only) cannot be backed up by Time Machine to either the Time Capsule or the AEBS.

In other words, only NAS attached to and shared from a Mac can backed up to TC or AEBS. So we're got the ability to have great NAS from either of those two, but just can't back it up. Which basically sucks.

I'd love to find out I'm wrong about this, but Apple Support told me I'm correct.

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Kelmon

Kelmon @ Mar 20th 2008 11:09AM

I think I understand what you mean (need backup of data stored on NAS) and agree that this is not possible using Time Machine. The question, however, is whether you need Time Machine at all for this? You might do better to consider a NAS unit that incorporates 2 or more physical drives where the data is backed up using RAID 1 so that you can simply replace a disk should one go bad. You don't get the ability to "go back in time" to restore a deleted file but you do at least get a more reliable backup solution than Time Machine provides. This I expect to be more important to a business.

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jsel

jsel @ Mar 20th 2008 11:21AM

Thanks very much for responding. I guess the problem is that we already have an AEBS and are on a tight budget, so don't want to buy any more drives. Also, I don't know why you say that the RAID solution you propose is more "reliable" than time machine. Is it because your data is duplicated on two backup drives?

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Mike

Mike @ Mar 20th 2008 10:44AM

An advantage to the USB drive connected to the Apple Extreme:
- you can disconnect the drive and place it in a safe palce away from home - like your safety deposit box, or another secure and safe location

It doesn't help you much if your backup drive is in the same location after a major disaster like flood or fire.

Remember, that your backup should be at least the second copy of your important data.

Rotating two drives connected to your Extreme for backup can give you a little peace of mind if you are able to keep one of the backups in a safe place.

Of course,t here are alternatives like Mozy and other remote file stores. You need only pray that the service stays operating, and is available when you need it. I like the idea of remote file stores because of mostly easy access. But not very efficientfor BIG backups or restores.

Mike

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Duan

Duan @ Mar 20th 2008 11:20AM

worked for me after fiddling with it for a bit

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