Network Time Machine

If you have any important files sitting on a single hard drive somewhere, disaster (or at least disappointment) is never far away. 

If you’re an Apple user then you can use Time Machine, a simple backup tool which is included as part of your operating system, to help solve this problem.

However, there are several limitations to Time Machine which make it a bit useless – not the least that you either have to splash out on a Time Capsule or use a USB or Firewire drive which is directly connected to your computer.

To get around this restriction, here is a simple hack that let’s you backup to a network drive:

Setup Time Machine on a NAS in three easy steps

Alternatively, there is a free utility called iTimeMachine which will do the setup for you.

I use this to backup my laptop to a ReadyNAS at home, which is also where we keep all of our photos and music etc.  It would work even better in an office environment where you could backup the whole company to a single server. 

A setup like this doesn’t have to be hugely expensive.  And, anyway, the peace of mind in knowing that I can recover important files if when my hard drive craps itself is worth a lot.

If you’re one of those people who think that putting a good system in place for backing up your important data is something that you can do tomorrow, then keep your fingers crossed that the dreaded blinking question mark doesn’t appear today. :-)

PS The next step beyond this is to setup an offsite backup.  The ReadyNAS supports rsync, which should allow me to do this pretty easily.  If anybody has something like this up and running already, or would be interested in helping me with this get in touch.