Q. I’m curious about using Time Capsule to back up my Macintosh wirelessly. How long does it take?
A. That’s a really good question. One of my pet peeves as a roving IT consultant is how many clients of mine don’t appreciate how important backing up their data really is. The problem is no one can tell you when a hard drive mechanism will fail. Tape backups can be damaged by exposure of heat, cold or magnetic fields and CDs and DVDs can get scratched, dirtied or broken leaving them useless. Unfortunately the majority of users are oblivious to the dangers of data storage.
Last year Apple has introduced “Time Machine”, to automatically back up your data to any attached hard drive. “Time Capsule” is an Apple Airport Base Station (internet router and wireless access point) complete with a server grade hard drive with a special network version of Time Machine.
All computers using Mac OS X 10.5 can connect to the Time Capsule and be backed up on the network. By entering a password older Macs and PCs can connect as a network drive for manual backups and file sharing. Like most back up technologies it starts by backing up every file on your Mac (you can decide to exclude files or folders.) After a complete back up it then backs up incrementally, backing up new files or files that have been modified.
The initial back up takes over 10 hours. The back up over Ethernet took much less time. Afterwards Macs back up about once an hour. Each back up is only accessible by the Mac that created the backup. Time Machine can restore you Mac in case a disaster. Your data is important to you, so get a Time Capsule or at very least use Time Machine with a removable drive.