Back to Mobile View

Skip to Content

TUAW Deals

8 Time Machine excuses that don't make sense

These days, there are fewer and fewer good reasons to skip Time Machine. Do you recognize any of these excuses? Here are some answers for you to use the next time your boss or coworker starts justifying why he or she does not use the built-in OS X backup application.

1. Extra drives cost too much

It may not be Black Friday year-round, but you can pick up a well-reviewed 3TB external drive for a little more than a hundred bucks. (You'd have saved about $10 during cyber week.) Low-cost USB drives do a terrific job with Time Machine.

2. Time Machine kills drives

Time Machine's write and rewrite cycles put stress on drives, but that's what the drives are there for. Just drop your expectation of years of life, and replace your drives on a regular basis. This is where inexpensive -- but reliable -- drives fit in.

3. Full backups are better

Bootable full backups are important (we use Carbon Copy Cloner and Super Duper), but they're just one tool in your backup arsenal. Trying to restore a single document or application is a far more common need than having to reset your entire system. A bootable backup is important, especially when you upgrade your system, but incremental versions help you move through time to regain access to files and states from the past.

4. Offsite backup has me covered

Like full backups, offsite solutions provide an essential guard against catastrophe. Most people, however, suffer more from little day-to-day document catastrophes than full-fledged Hurricane Sandes (sic). While we encourage every one of you to subscribe to an offsite service, Time Machine can save you when much smaller problems crop up.

5. Old, unused files take up too much space

Time Machine will automatically remove old backups for you when space grows limited. In addition, you can delete older backups manually. Enter Time Machine, navigate to any backup and use the tools menu as shown here (it looks like a gear icon) to delete the backup.

6. Restoring files is too complicated

Time Machine makes it really easy to find and restore backups. Navigate to the place where your file used to be. Then, there's a timeline on the right. Just go back until you're at the right point in time, select files and click Restore. You'll even be prompted whether to replace the newer file or (as we recommend) keep both versions.

7. Time Machine causes computers to run too slow

Time Machine shouldn't be killing your system. Ever since I upgraded my Mac mini to a new 2012 system, I have never been bothered by Time Machine backups. Before then, I used one of the many Time Machine schedulers to take the load off certain parts of my workday. There are tons of other tuning suggestions out there on the Apple Discussion forums as well.

8. Time Machine can't backup external drives

Of course, Time Machine can back up external drives. Just make sure they're formatted as Mac OS X Extended HFS+ and not excluded in the Time Machine exclusion options.



Categories

How-tos OS X

These days, there are fewer and fewer good reasons to skip Time Machine. Do you recognize any of these excuses? Here are some answers for...