Time Machine Notes

I've gathered (but not yet tried, I don't have leopard installed anywhere) the following notes for using Time Machine. Please note that I am not the person who has done the discovery, I have just put a bunch of information together to make something brief and usable for my own work.

Time Machine to Network Mountable Volumes

I found this on apple, and it refers back to mac rumours; just google the text to find the original and authors.

There may be issues with what kinds of networks drives this works with. Some say it only works with AFP (apple network) mounted drives. So, NFS or NetBIOS may not work :( Or, you have to do the operation with a (FW or USB) device mounted directly, then you can move it to a network USB interface, and then it works. In other words, it sounds like some ownership/permission issues across the network.

  1. Mount your volume that you want to use for TM
  2. cd /Volumes/<volume name>
  3. touch .com.apple.timemachine.supported this will create an invisible file.
  4. chown root:admin .com.apple.timemachine.supported
  5. chmod 1775 .com.apple.timemachine.supported
  6. ls -l -a" the .com.apple.timemachine.supported
    the file should be -rwxrwxr-t
  7. Launch TM setup (In System Preferences) and choose your backup drive!

Aha, a followup mentions that some extra info is now required to make a drive "look" like a time-capsule/machine drive:

  1. You do have to have .com.apple.timemachine.supported in the external volume.
  2. You also have to have a file the has your Mac address present on the same volume. For instance, if your network Mac address is 00:17:00:1A:3F:76 then you have to have a file called .0017001A3F76 in the same directory as .com.apple.timemachine.supported.

Also check out the following macosxhints article on Time-machine disks for more info on making this work in a fashion. There are also some extra details on restoring from a network volume. The biggest item is, to whit, that the disk must be mounted, and then the time machine partition there must be mounted for time machine to recognize the volume to restore from.

Another issue may be file system semantics -- you may have to create an disk volume on the network volume for time machine to manipulate. This is unfortunate, because you can't just look at your backups from your normal command line environment on non-apple hosts.

This Article discusses making a backup, then moving it over to a NAS to trick time machine into having a backup volume.

And this recipe shows you how to manualy mount an time machine device to do restores from:

  1. Boot off the Leopard DVD and choose your language when prompted.
  2. Connect to your wireless network with the Airport icon in the Menu Bar, or connect an ethernet cable
  3. Go to the Utilities menu, and select Terminal
  4. Type in "mkdir /Volumes/<Name of your Time Machine Share>". Using my example above, this is "mkdir /Volumes/TM_MBPro"
  5. Now we need to mount the file server. To do this, type:
    mount_afp afp://<username>:<password>@<NAS IP>/<name of share> /Volumes/<name of share>

    An Example:
    mount_afp afp://drakino:password@ /Volumes/TM_MBPro
  6. Go to the Terminal menu and select Quit
  7. Go to the Utilities menu and pick the Restore from Backup option

Hmmm, and there are other issues with network mounted backup volumes. This Article discusses doing backups to SMB Volumes, and then it shows a totally bad failure mode of time machine. Basically Time Machine will Destroy all but the last backup in some conditions. It has to be using the bundled filesystem for that to happen, but this causes big problems if you wanted to have old backups! Basically it removes files from the bundled FS, but never shrinks it, so it still looks like it is out of space, and tries to delete another backup volume ... repeat until all destroyed. That bug has been fixed (see last posting in the page), as of April 2008, by having it compress sparse bundles after deleting from them.

By using netatalk any machine should be able to act as an time machine volume. This article describes one persons trials and tribulations doing so. He notes that MacOSX 10.5.6 may go out of its way to break AFP to have new features so that existing AFP servers will no longer be able to be used by time machine / MacOSX. This is a pretty cool article, also discusses how to get your own custom server icons into MacOSX, make servers show up as servers, etc!

Aha!. The reason that TimeMachine has problems with non time-capsule drives is because of two unimplimented AFP protocols;

This is due to missing support for the AFP commands FPSyncDir aka commands 78 and 78 in Netatalk.

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Last Modified: Fri Aug 28 17:12:18 CDT 2009
Bolo (Josef Burger) <bolo@cs.wisc.edu>