When Apple introduced Time Machine, I was excited as hell. I’ve had experience with other shitty forms of backups. Burning to DVD, thumb drive, dragging and dropping, Iomega ZIP drives, tape backups, etc, etc, et-fuckin’-cetera. When it comes down to it…
They’re necessary, but they suck major ass. Either they don’t work, they take too long, or they’re too complicated, or any number of other things. Time Machine was like a single ray of hope to finally get out of that cycle of mediocrity. Here’s how it works:
TM basically does it’s first, initial backup and copies everything to your backup disk. This is the longest backup, as it is starting from scratch. Subsequent backups only look at the “delta” files, or files that have changed or are new. So basically, when you add a file, it backs it up. When you modify a file, it backs it up. If a file hasn’t changed, it leaves it in the file’s original location on the backup disk, but adds a “marker” or “link” to that file in the most recent backup. So if you have a file that has never changed since your first backup, under any backups after the first, it’s a link that points to that first backup. Awesome execution, for the record. This is definitely the best way to handle backups. If the file hasn’t changed, it doesn’t get backed up again.
The nice part with TM is that you can use a locally attached disk via USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt, or it can back up across your local network to either one of Apple’s own Time Capsule devices, or a third-party Network Accessible Storage unit. For my situation, going with the NAS unit is fricken awesome since I have a laptop and I don’t wanna plop down and let my computer sit for a few minutes while it backs up. I like portability and convenience, yeah buddy.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve ran into some problems with backing up across the network to my NAS unit. It’ll become corrupted and tells me I need to delete all my backups and start fresh. Not acceptable, especially since I have a few months worth of backups sitting on there. Luckily I stumbled upon a website that walks you through verifying, fixing, and continuing to use your network Time Machine backups after that effing message shows up.
Just giving that site a plug since his post fixed my issue and was a breeze to follow.