MacBook win

15 Apr 2008

One new hard disk later, and my MacBook is up and running again. The previous hard disk was from a reputable brand and only 9 months old – but still it went. Let that be a warning to all those of you who haven’t backed up recently!

I was very impressed with Time Machine, Mac OS X’s built in backup system. The main sell for Time Machine is that it stores many old copies of your files – so if you change a file, save it, then regret it – no problem, Time Machine will let you get the old version back. You changed it last week and want that copy back? No problem, assuming you give it a big enough hard disk to back up on to. this is all done through a nifty little user interface (see above link). Time Machine basically will kick on once an hour and copy any changes you’ve made to an external disk, assuming it’s there.

However, in addition to letting you get back individual files, you can also do a complete restore, and this is how I’m now on a MacBook that looks no different to how if did last Wednesday when the hard disk went. The real beauty is that Time Machine kits in every hour – before Time Machine I backed up my MacBook’s hard disk weekly, which is good, but here I had a back up that was correct as of less than an hour before my disk failed. Rock on!

The only downside to using Time Machine is that it takes a while to get back up and running – I suspect my restore of 100 gigs of data took two to three hours. If I’d been using my old backup software SuperDuper (which I also heartily recommend), then I’d have a bootable disk backup that’d have had me up and running in moments, but it would have been a few days out of date.

My advice for Mac users? Do both if you can – external disks are dirt cheap. For Windows/Linux users – I’m sure solutions exist for you too, but just make sure important stuff is backed up somewhere, as you never know when a disk might give up the ghost. As they are fond of saying on MacBreak Weekly: “Data doesn’t exist unless it’s stored in at least two places”.