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View Full Version : Can you Backup without Touching Anything?



quarkrad
02-14-2011, 03:10 PM
My mother is 80 and had a mac mini for about a year. She likes it but things like drag and drop is a bit too far - basically she surfs the net and uses email, just about! I would like to get her some sort of backup via a usb connected HD but from what can make out she is either going to have to 'do' something like launch a program and click on things (too much for her) or have something scheduled like Superduper/Time Machine. My issue is that from what I can make out the Superduper/Time Machine utilities have set schedule like every hour but she is not on her mac that long. It is going to be a pain if she has to use her mac at certain times. I have set her husband up with a Linux machine that backs his environment up when he Power Down so he doesn't have to do a thing. It is all automated. How can I do something similar on the mini mac? Backup either the whole machine (image) or specific user files without mother having to do anything? Many thanks.

louishen
02-14-2011, 03:28 PM
Time machine is your best bet. It will be easy to set-up for you, and it will back up when the mac is on, and will not take long, basically, once set up just leave it alone to back-up whenever the machine is on for an hour or so.

The first Time machine back-up may take longer, but if you set it up that will not be a problem. After the first set-up, you can walk away, confident it will do its thing in the background without anybody's intervention.

robduckyworth
02-14-2011, 11:02 PM
Time machine is your best bet. It will be easy to set-up for you, and it will back up when the mac is on, and will not take long, basically, once set up just leave it alone to back-up whenever the machine is on for an hour or so.

The first Time machine back-up may take longer, but if you set it up that will not be a problem. After the first set-up, you can walk away, confident it will do its thing in the background without anybody's intervention.

+! for this. Time Machine is absolutely no hassle.

quarkrad
02-15-2011, 04:36 AM
Thank you. What I cannot find out is this.... Say we have done the first backup and set the scheduler to backup every hour. Typically she goes on every day, checks mail and does a bit of surfing - probably spending 15, maybe 20 minutes on her mini. She is never on for anything like an hour. Does this mean time machine will never kick in or does it work on the 'real' clock. So to ensure you get backups you have to hope that when you use your mac it happens to coincide with X o'clock otherwise Time Machine is going to kick in. Hence, as per my Linux machine, I was hoping the mac could backup every time she uses her machine without her having to do anything.

McBie
02-15-2011, 05:49 AM
Time Machine will do hourly backups by default.
Hourly backups is different than " on the hour "
It might be that TM kicks in after 10 minutes of starting the OS.

You could also leave the Mini running after you are done with it and let it go to sleep after xx minutes.

Give it a go and see how it works out.

Cheers ... McBie

bobtomay
02-15-2011, 05:51 AM
It will back up when she turns it on as it would have been longer than an hour since the last backup.

It really is a mindless backup tool requiring nothing from the user once it is set up.

She will not even know it's running unless she looks at the desktop and happens to see the icon sitting there during the backup process, which for what liitle she's doing with it, likely will take about 1 minute.

quarkrad
02-15-2011, 10:28 AM
Ah.. this sounds exactly what I want. So if Time Machine is set hourly and she goes on once a day it will automatically do a backup because it has been more than an hour since the last backup. Is this how it works? If so my question has been fully answered. One last question - if she does a little surfing and email I guess at worst a few mail messages will saved and perhaps cache increase (is it easy to configure Safari to empty it cache when it closes?) will the Time Machine incremental backup only be the size of the changes - (extremely small in this example)?

Oneironaut
02-15-2011, 01:33 PM
The first backup is the complete one, and subsequent backups are incremental. You could also have her leave the computer on for at least an hour, you never really need to turn your Mac off anyway. There is also an Time Machine icon in the menu bar that animates as it's backing up; you could tell her not to shut down the computer until the icon has stopped moving.

EndlessMac
02-15-2011, 02:17 PM
I don't leave my external hard drive Time Machine backup plugged in all the time so I can't tell you how good the automated feature is but doing a manual backup is real easy.

If you notice the automated backups aren't working then just get your mother into the habit of manually backing up before she turns off the computer or is done with it. It's so simple even a 4 year old can do it.

1. Click on Time Machine icon in top right menu bar (looks like an analog clock with a round arrow)

2. Select "Back Up Now" from the drop down menu

3. Wait for the icon to stop spinning and your done (Since your mother doesn't do much on her computer the backup should be very fast. In your situation make sure to leave the external hard drive plugged in all the time and turned on.)

I do believe the automated feature of Time Machine will do what you want but what I have just described is in case it doesn't work.

quarkrad
02-16-2011, 04:37 AM
I appreciate your replies - looks like Time Machine is the way to go. As incremental backups are ging to be small is there a way of having a script that will run TM at Power Off?

bobtomay
02-16-2011, 08:26 AM
I appreciate your replies - looks like Time Machine is the way to go. As incremental backups are ging to be small is there a way of having a script that will run TM at Power Off?

There really is no need of that in the case for which the particular machine you are asking about is to be used that I can see. If the machine is on for 5 minutes and it's been over an hour since the last backup, it will already have run a backup all on it's own.

My machine starts a backup every morning after waking it from sleep after maybe 2-3 minutes - many times the last backup was only minutes before going to sleep the night before.

You're really over thinking this now. This is not some mission critical server that requires up to the second backups. She's surfing the internet and getting email.

Oneironaut
02-16-2011, 08:51 AM
Right, plus without power, how can the computer be backed up?

Aqua
02-16-2011, 02:39 PM
There are many scripts, addons etc to add functionality etc to tm. Here is a program (I know there are others out there also, just can't remember them at the moment) TimeMachineScheduler - set the backup interval of Time Machine (http://www.klieme.com/TimeMachineScheduler.html) Keep in mind, depending on what interval you have it set on, TM will start when the computer is started, external drive is attached or TM is turned on and set, so maybe she could start it up, give it a few mins to do it's thing.. Keep in mind, a mac can be left on for days, even weeks unlike MS machines (which tend to have more problems) and therefore when it is woken, it will do the backup it missed overnight or when it was shut down.

McBie
02-16-2011, 03:08 PM
I appreciate your replies - looks like Time Machine is the way to go. As incremental backups are ging to be small is there a way of having a script that will run TM at Power Off?

Mate, relax .... sit back and don't make this more difficult than it is.
Forget scripting, use the built-in functionality of the OS and give it ago.
Monitor and then evaluate.

Cheers ... McBie

alexsd123
02-17-2011, 11:50 PM
If all she does is surf the web and email, why does she need to backup her HDD?

Seems kind of unnecessary unless her emails aren't stored on some web server.

Doug b
02-18-2011, 03:30 AM
I tried backing up without touching anything, but in the process, I knocked over a vase, chair and stepped on my cats tail. Eventually, my back was against the wall. Guess not.

I'm gonna go read this thread now.

Doug

Edit: boy do I ever feel silly now. Ah well. :Lips-Are-Sealed::D