Network Backups With Time Machine Are Useless!!

/ 1 December 2007

Some users of 10.5 on laptops have taken advantage of the network backup that Time Machine can do. STOP IT. This method has many many flaws and careless aspects that make it crazy to trust your backups to it.

The backups are made for two basic situations. The first is when you misplace a single file or folder and need to recover it. This works well with a network backup stored in a .sparsebundle. It works as expected and you can easily get your data back.

The second situation that these backups are made for is that day your hard drive decides to STOP SPINNING. In that situation it is possible from the 10.5 install DVD to restore your entire system from this backup archive. Well, if your backups are stored in a .sparsebundle then they AREN’T restorable from any method of full system restoration.

I’ve tested this myself and as a result I’ve re-done my Time Machine setup to store the backups on a local disk, that way the backup IS restorable in the event that my mac stops functioning entirely. If you backup on a network I seriously urge you to start doing local disk backups.

Also, the .sparsebundle is NAMED based on aspects of your mac that may change if you send it to Apple for repairs. That would render the backup database useless as well.

This is one SERIOUS oversight on Apple’s part, but it is good that I’ve caught it before the full system restoring is crucially needed for me. Enjoy, Alex.