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  • Question on Time Machine for backup & restore

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems macOS Question on Time Machine for backup & restore

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      • #2379488
        AskWoody Plus

        I am investigating what I need to do with purchase of a Mac mini. I’ve been a lifetime Windows user. I currently use Macrium for local back up to a Seagate. I also have Carbonite. I am assuming it’s best to use Apple’s native app – Time Machine – for backup, true??

        I will move a couple Macrium backups off the Seagate and run a new Windows back up to a Western Digital drive (it is older and has less storage than the seagate, so I don’t want to use if for the new machine).  I will hang onto the Windows machine for bit, but I don’t plan to use it.

        The Seagate has to be reformatted for MAC.  My understanding is it has to be APFS and Time machine will format it when I run the back up. I read online that Time machine provides a full back up and restore in case of failure:

        but the link below from Apple says this: Important: Time Machine doesn’t backup system files or apps installed during macOS installation.

        Can someone help me understand what the above statement in bold lettering means?  Does Time Machine provide a complete backup for restore?  How do you backup your Mac? Thanks Donna

      • #2379489
        AskWoody Plus

        This might help give you an overview of various options.

        Since the first step is to ensure you have an internet connection, I’m guessing that if you choose the Time Machine option that the OS itself will be downloaded over the internet and that during the OS installation it will add in the backed up files from Time Machine.

        I would wait for one of the Mac experts here to either confirm or refute or add or subtract from what I’ve just said!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2379492
        AskWoody Plus

        I use Time Machine (TM) regularly and so far have had no problems. As long as one does backups at reasonably short intervals (or continuously and automaticall, by keeping the TM external disk more or less always plugged in the Mac). I use an external 2TB HD for the TM backups.

        For example, very recently a directory (folder) where I keep many important files disappeared, having been removed by me accidentally. I connected the TM external HD to the Mac and recovered the folder with everything up to a month ago, when I had made my last backup. I usually do not wait anywhere as long as that to make a backup, but for several weeks I have been snowed under by a series of problems requiring urgent solution, and my regular backups, along with other important but less urgent things, had to be kept on hold. Fortunately the loss of information was minor and unimportant, as I had hardly saved anything recently  in that directory. I connected the TM external HD, opened it, opened the single folder with all the backups in there, looked up the most recent backup, opened its folder and there was everything as it was at the time of my last backup, including the missing folder. One can also access TM looking for a particular item using a specialized interface that makes this easier.

        Something else that might also be of help to know: One can read into a Mac files saved in NTFS Windows format in an external disk (such as a Windows PC backup disk), but not write, modify or delete the files in that external disk from a Mac. For that a disk has to be in APFS format.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. also Intego AV and Malwarebytes for the Mac.

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