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Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard
Your guide to making easy and reliable backups in Leopard!
Because of the release of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, this ebook has been revised and re-issued in a new edition called Take Control of Easy Mac Backups.
Take Control of Easy Mac Backups covers Mac backups from a 2010 perspective. It gives you the skinny on backups in both 10.5 and 10.6 Snow Leopard.
iPad & Kindle
About the Author
Joe Kissell has written numerous books about the Macintosh, including many popular Take Control ebooks. He's also Senior Editor of TidBITS and a Senior Contributor to Macworld, and previously spent ten years in the Mac software industry.
Table of Contents
Read Me First
Good backups protect the important information on your computer from many dangers. This book describes an easy yet reliable strategy for backing up your Mac, of which Leopard's Time Machine feature may be one component. This book was written by Joe Kissell, edited by Jeff Carlson, and published by TidBITS Publishing Inc.
This afternoon—a couple of hours before I sat down to type this introduction—I had a surprising experience. I had just downloaded a file from a Web site, and when I double-clicked it, the wrong application opened. When I tried to open it with the right application, I found that the application itself was missing. In fact, a whole folder full of applications was missing that had definitely been inside my main Applications folder a day or two ago.
I have no idea where the folder went. Obviously I must have done something to delete it inadvertently, but since I didn't notice myself doing it at the time, I don't know what that was or when it happened. But—and here's the happy ending—I was able to restore the missing folder, using Time Machine, in exactly four clicks. I've been testing Time Machine for a long time, but it just so happened that on the day I was to begin writing a book that covers it in detail, I had my first experience of using it to recover something I'd lost in real life.
My point in telling you this story is not to say, "Oh look, Time Machine actually works!" (though that's true as far as it goes). The point is, the experience of randomly and surprisingly losing some important file can happen to anyone, even to a computer geek like me. That file might be an irreplaceable photo of your child, the song you've been composing for the last month, or an email message from a celebrity. It was that last one that jarred me out of my own complacency about backups years ago: a disk crash wiped out all my saved email, including a coveted piece of correspondence that I can now never, ever get back or even prove existed.
By including Time Machine as part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, Apple has highlighted the importance of good backups for every Mac user, and has also made it easier to back up and restore files than any previous backup software had done. I couldn't be more pleased to see this crucial issue addressed as part of Mac OS X, and if Time Machine gets millions of people to back up their computers who had never done it before, the world will truly be a better and happier place.
Well, there are a few "buts" here. In the first place, Time Machine, nifty as it is, is not for everyone. Many a Leopard user will discover that, for any of several reasons, they need something different to meet their backup needs.
Second, Time Machine has a few—how can I put this delicately?—curiosities. Some important features are missing, some are hidden, and some don't work the way one might expect. Even the features that do work properly aren't explained well in Apple's documentation.
And finally, although Time Machine elegantly solves certain backup problems, it doesn't solve every backup problem. It is not a complete or foolproof system, and therefore I don't recommend it as the sole means of backup for anyone.
All of which brings us to the reason for this book. Time Machine needs some further explication, without a doubt, and I provide that here. But this isn't just a Time Machine book. It's a simplified look at all the important aspects of backing up your Mac.
Among the many other things I've written about backups is Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, which aims to be a comprehensive guide to the many choices for a Mac backup strategy. That book is much longer than this one, and although I think it's quite good (if I do say so myself), sometimes comprehensive isn't what you want. Perhaps you're a busy person, and understanding the intricacies of backup technology isn't your idea of a good time. You want someone to say, "Look, just do this." Well, in the book you're now reading, I cut to the chase and show you exactly how to make sure you have excellent backups. Not every way to do it, just one very good way.
This book shows you how to get easy and reliable backups, with a minimum of fuss. Time Machine may be an important part of your backup plan, and because I think it's so cool and useful, I've included quite a bit of information about it. Whether or not you use Time Machine, though, your backup strategy needs other components, and I walk you through all of those here—with just enough background information and theory to get the job done.
This book is for people running Leopard. Although parts of it also apply to other operating systems, including earlier versions of Mac OS X, I focus on software and strategies appropriate for Mac OS X 10.5 or higher.
This book is best read in order, as I begin by explaining the strategy I recommend and progressively work through each part of a complete backup system. Even if you choose to skip around, be sure to read Understand Joe's Basic Backup Strategy first.
Version 1.1 is a significant update. Among numerous other things, it includes the following major changes:
There are lots of great ways to read our ebooks on these devices. For more details, please read our latest Device Advice.
Feel free to ask us if you have a question about this title!
This is the first Take Control book I've bought—the announcement came out at exactly the time I was setting up Time Machine to back up my new computer. I just wanted to let you know that it's excellent, especially the information that isn't available—or isn't easily found—on the Apple support site and in the discussions, like the fact that Time Machine doesn't make backups if the computer is on battery. Not even the tech support guy knew that! (Or if he did, he didn't mention it.) Thanks so much.
I bought this book in your MacSanta sale and I am very impressed with it indeed. It answered all my questions (before I upgrade my G4 to Leopard) as I want to back up both my G4 and two Mac minis wirelessly to a separate backup disc. The two minis are used by my kids and Time Machine seems a very sensible way to back up their school work working in the background. I found the style of writing just right—technical but also accessible. I'll be buying more—particularly at these prices.
How could we not publish such kind words? If you'd like to send us your comments (good or bad, though we hope they're all good), just click the Feedback link on the cover of your copy of the ebook. Be sure to let us know if we can publish your comment. Thanks!
September 2011 -- Although we do not intend to update this particular ebook again for Leopard users, Joe has continued to write ebooks about making backups for the Take Control series. His latest, released in late September of 2011, is Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac.
January 12, 2010 --
In MacVoices Podcast #1003, Take Control author Joe Kissell chats with host Chuck Joiner about many aspects of making successful Macintosh backups. Joe talks at length about deleting un-needed files and about how you determine if a file is no longer needed. He also talks about the many reasons to make backups and provides insight on the latest trends and techniques for backups, including his thoughts on USB 3, hardware encryption, and online backup services.
This podcast comes in conjunction with the release of Take Control of Easy Mac Backups.
March 3, 2009 --
Apple today released significantly revised models of the AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule. These new models have three important new features: dual-band networking, guest network access, and remote file sharing via MobileMe.
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