Ad­vanced home backup

Pro­tect your fam­ily’s pre­cious files by us­ing a spare Mac as a Time Ma­chine server

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Time Ma­chine is sim­ple and ef­fec­tive to use, but if you have more than one Mac, you’ll want to keep them all se­cure. How­ever, buy­ing an ex­ter­nal drive to host each Time Ma­chine ar­chive can quickly get ex­pen­sive.

The so­lu­tion is to use OS X Server’s built-in Time Ma­chine Server to share a sin­gle drive across your whole net­work. Granted, you’ll need to de­vote at least one Mac to run the server ap­pli­ca­tion, but as this is a back­ground process that takes up few re­sources, you can sim­ply pick the most pow­er­ful Mac in your home to act as the server and make sure it’s left switched on 24/7.

Server costs £14.99 from the Mac App Store and re­quires that the host ma­chine is run­ning the lat­est ver­sion of OS X. Once in­stalled, it will make your Mac vis­i­ble on your lo­cal net­work. It’s up to you how many of the Server ser­vices it opens up to other users, but you can also use it as a Soft­ware Up­date repos­i­tory that down­loads up­dates once and makes them avail­able across the lo­cal net­work, a shared cal­en­dar ser­vice, mes­sag­ing server and so on.

Once the Time Ma­chine server is run­ning you need to tell your lo­cal Macs to use it as the back-up des­ti­na­tion. Open the Time Ma­chine pane in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, click the switch to turn it on and se­lect the server ma­chine from the list of des­ti­na­tions in the roll-down win­dow. Click Use Disk to con­firm and Time Ma­chine will set about cre­at­ing your first backup. Sub­se­quent back­ups will then hap­pen au­to­mat­i­cally.

OS X Server lets you cen­tralise all of your com­put­ers’Time Ma­chine back­ups across your net­work.

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