While working on a client machine it prompted me to wrote a few words on backups. I really don’t want to publish horror stories, but, honestly, the first time you suffer data loss, you’ll regret not backing up more than you can imagine!

Whatever computer you have, its likely you have a single hard disk in there, holding all your information. That disk is made up of several metal platters spinning at 5400 revolutions a minute or more, and a magnetic head. Add to the fact, it’s an electrically operated device, you must realise that these components do occasionally break. That’s just one scenario to be conscious of. There’s also the risk of theft, accidental damage (see my earlier post on damage limitation after liquid spills) and several other things that could happen to cause you to lose access to the data on this drive.

Fortunately, in the Apple environment, backing up your drive is relatively simple. Within the Mac Operating System (from 10.5 onwards) there is a fantastic feature called Time Machine which, when configured correctly, automatically backs up any changes you make to your data every hour. You will retain different versions of your files as you change them, should you wish to revert to an older file later. Once this feature is set up, all you need to do is make sure the backup is working occasionally (very simple; in the menu bar at the top of your screen there’s a little clock-like icon – this is the Time Machine widget, and when you click it, you’ll see its status. If it’s backing up regularly, you are fine) and you’re good to go.

I’ve seen some very upset clients in the past who’ve lost all their work information, or family photos such as children and weddings – please don’t let this happen to you! If you want more advice on backing up, please call us on 01923 555048.

What do you need to have to configure Time Machine?

Firstly you need a machine running OS X 10.5 or later (click the Apple in the top left of your screen and then ‘About This Mac’ – the OS version is listed there).
You’ll also need either an external hard drive (I recommend something that’s at least twice the capacity of your internal drive) OR a Time Capsule (which is essentially a wireless router with an internal hard drive)

How do I configure Time Machine ?

When you first connect an external hard drive, you’ll be asked if you wish to use that drive for Time Machine backups. If you click on the ‘Use as Backup Disk’ button, that’s it, done!

To use a Time Capsule, you’ll need to go into System Preferences and select the Time Machine panel. WHen you select the ‘Add Backup Disk’ button you should find your Time Capsule listed. Select it, and that’s it done.