Living with Leopard

Living with Leopard

Time Machine. Leopard's new backup system, Time Machine, is an odd piece of work. Designed for the Average Joe, Time Machine - when in its default setup - backs up your entire Mac to one folder on one external drive.

 

Using it couldn't be easier. When you plug in an external drive for the first time, Time Machine ask you if you want to use it for backup, and if you say yes, it starts backing up everything on your Mac.

 

Time Machine then takes hourly snapshots of your Mac, and backs up any changes; it then wraps those hourly changes into a daily backup until it has a month's worth, at which point it wraps the most recent week's backups into a weekly backup, and so on until you run out of hard-drive space. Then it asks you whether you want to delete the older backups or start afresh with a new external hard drive.

 

One man's fine design is another man's pure, unmitigated cheesiness. Mmmmm, gouda...

 

You access your timed and dated backups through a full-screen interface in which you click on arrow-shaped buttons to move back and forward in "time." (Why you can't use your mouse's scroll button puzzles me - seems like an ideal use for it.) The "Lost in Space" design of this interface is ... well ... let's say one can love it or think it's hopelessly cheesy, and put me down as a member of the latter category.

 

Restoring a file is a simple matter of highlighting it and clicking the (cheesy) Restore button and returning back to your Mac by clicking the (cheesy) Cancel button. In my tests, everything worked like a charm.

 

In System Preferences > Time Machine, you can, if you'd like, tell Time Machine not to back something up, be it a volume, folder, or even a file. To me, this works a bit in the reverse of how I usually think of backups - it'd feel more comfortable telling a utility what to back up, and not what not to back up.

 

This exclusion methodology also unfortunately suffers from the same buggy forgetfulness as does Spotlight's Privacy exclusion system (System Preferences > Spotlight > Privacy) - meaning that it sometimes forgets that you told it to exclude something, and backs it up anyway.

 

The more-major quibble with Time Machine is that your backups must all reside in one folder on either one external drive or on an extra internal drive in a tower Mac; since Time Machine just needs access to that folder, the same drive can have other stuff on it, as well. If you have a setup like mine with around a terabyte stashed into five separate primary volumes, Time Machine will force you to use an external drive of around a terabyte to perform even your first backup.

 

That may not seem too onerous of a burden, since you can find terabyte drives for under five hundred bucks these days - but remember that Time Machine takes snapshots of changes on the hour. If, for example, you have a 20GB password-protected DMG in which you keep, say, your business records, and you frequently modify files in it, you're going to be adding 20GB to your total backup every hour, on the hour. That'll eat up any drive quicker than you can say "Where's my MasterCard?"

 

And then there are Macs with multiple users (a user doesn't need to be logged on to have his or her account backed up, by the way). If a user has his or her user area protected by File Vault, that entire user area - and not just the files changed within it - is backed up each time that user logs out, since a File Vault user area is essentially the same as the password-protected DMG file I mentioned previously.

 

Your Time Machine backup drive gets a nifty new icon.

 

So how big should a Time Machine backup drive be? The answer is, sadly, "It depends." If all you use your Mac for is email, small text and spreadsheet documents, and the like, you're going to be fine with a Time Machine drive not that much larger than your main drive. If you do a lot of image editing, however, those large image files are going to add up quickly, and if you do video editing, the accumulation of backup snapshots will accelerate even faster. As with almost anything on your Mac, you can't go wrong with getting the biggest Time Machine drive you feel comfortable paying for.

 

More Time Machine details:

 

• No, a Time Machine backup isn't bootable. If your main drive crashes, you'll need to boot using your Leopard Install DVD. Choose Utilities > Restore System From Backup, and proceed as directed.

 

• Despite rumors you may have read on the Web, Apple claims that the appearance of the Time Machine interface can't be altered. Did I just hear a gauntlet being thrown?

 

• Yes, multiple users on multiple Macs can back up to either a server or a network attached storage device (NAS).

 

• No, you can't back up to a USB-attached AirPort drive. Although this sounds like a terrible limitation - who needs backup more than mobile laptop users? - the Apple rep with whom I spoke didn't have a reason for not including this feature other than "We didn't include this feature."

 

• Your external Time Machine backup drive can be connected to your Mac over FireWire, USB, eSATA, or Fiber Channel — and, as I mentioned above, over Ethernet to a NAS or server.

 

• Time Machine can be directly addressed through the Finder, Address Book, Mail, and iPhoto, but not iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand, iWeb, or other Apple apps.

 

Click the Next link below to read on.

 

Next: iChat

 

If you want to skip around, click on one of the links below.

 

1. Introduction

2. The Finder & the Desktop

3. Screen Sharing, Stacks, & Spotlight

4. Quick Look & Spaces

5. Bugs

6. Time Machine

7. iChat

8. Other Apps (Mail, Safari, Preview)

 

29

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

bagseshopping

Carrying fair look and long life, the Replica Louis Vuitton is the choice of every lady. Bags-eshopping.com is a trusted dealer of these bags and is well known for its assured after sale services and fair prices. http://www.bags-eshopping.com/

avatar

bagsoutlet

Hi, We offer Discount can be found online for prices that you would never believe you could pay. You can buy authentic discount Louis Vuitton Handbags on the Internet for reasonable prices at : http://www.discountbagsoutlet.com/

avatar

ammarvvip

nice all
شات صوتي, دردشه صوتيه, شات مصريه, شات دردشة دردشه دردشة موبايل شات دردشه

avatar

benet

Every little chat Salon 1000 ah!replica watchYou are my best's buddy
kdc

avatar

mixmagtmb

Its a good idea. I wont too more GB's for my new game spore spore.

avatar

Leopard Tips

Visit http://osxhints.wordpress.com for daily posted Leopard tips for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 users!!!!!

avatar

Brian Knoblauch

Relieved to see I'm not the only one out there that has crashes while emptying the trash! I'm on PowerPC. Intel users that I know haven't seen the issue yet (they don't also seem to have the TimeMachine issues either that I do).

avatar

Anonymous

Mine's locked while emptying the trash now. I'm on Intel, so sadly, it's an issue with both. What's the safe way for me to shut down with it like this? The x button isn't responding.

Thanks

avatar

Белая оптимизация

eSATA PCI card, manufactured by Promise Technology, that was bundled with their drive (and I concur)y.

avatar

Steve

I want the biggesst HD I can get which is 250 GB but it is has a 5400 rpm drive. I do mostly picture editing. How much slower is this drive than the 200 GB 7200 rpm interms of real world performance. Is the differance
Many Thanks, Steve

avatar

Sequoia

While the features in this system are nice (I, for one, feel that Stacks has some great potential in the future) I really wish I could actually *USE* it.

Installed it on my Dual Core 2.3 G5 last night... I shouldn't have, it just plain refuses to work there, I've seen the "Your computer has to be restarted" screen about a dozen times...

Oh Apple, why have you forsaken me and my PowerPC?

For the record while it is still buggy it sure works a lot better on my Core2 MacBook.

My advice would be to wait, especially if you have a PowerPC. I just hope that a significant update is in the pipe soon because I really don't want to have to muck with going back to Tiger...

Okay, venting over...

Sequoia

avatar

A Proud Christian

You wrote that "There's no way on god's green earth..." Don't you think that the Creator of the universe deserves a capital letter on His name? Or maybe you California poeple try to keep His authority at arms-length.

avatar

A Humble Catholic

I'm sure the lord can forgive the occasional un-capitalization of his title (god is not a name). Think about how many times You've had to reenter a password because You failed to hold the shift key. Or think of how many typos You see on this website. If god has the capacity to forgive such a transgression then why can't You?

BTW: I am a practicing Catholic. Previous uses of "Lord", "His", and "God" without proper capitalization are not meant to deride God, but to contrast my intentional disregard for capitalization to the author's possibly accidental disregard for capitalization (Run-on sentence. I know. Lay off.).

Oh, and directly to "A Proud Christian." If you really wanted to draw attention to the fact that the author disrespected God, then you should have used "you california people."

avatar

Jon Angel

I was really disappointed with stacks. I loved how the dock used to respond to folders, as a matter of fact I put the whole hard drive down there and was able to navigate quickly though subfolder after subfolder. You can no longer do this BOOOO!
Jon

avatar

Hunter McConnell

Maybe I missed the mesage somewhere along the line but does Leopard not support Classic applications?

avatar

Rik

Hunter McConnell asks if Classic is supported in Leopard. Sadly, the answer is no. The last version to support Classic was Tiger -- Classic has gone the way of the dodo.

avatar

Fred

Right. Apple announced this WELL in advance of the Leopard release, that is, that Leopard would no longer support the 'Classic-within-OSX' feature.

Meanwhile, Rik, I discovered a bug related to this--my mirror-drive-door dual 1 GHz G4, which is Classic-bootable, wouldn't boot in Classic after Leopard was installed. And it wasn't a nice refusal.

Upon setting the Startup Disk to OS 9.2.2 and restarting, I got the dreaded blinking-"?" Mac icon. After finding out how to open the drive door with MacOS not running (hold mouse button down during startup--thanks, Apple, for the paper manual!), I used my Apple-supplied OSX CD 1 of 2 (which says on it that I can "boot from this disk"), but it wanted to force me to INSTALL 10.2. Maybe at this point I should have tried the Leopard DVD, but instead I started up my iBook G3 in Target Disk mode (hold "t" key during startup) and FireWire'd it to the G4, setting my startup disk to the iBook's HD (with 10.3.9), and that worked. I reset my startup disk to the G4's 10.5 and restarted successfully. Phew!! Lucky I had a spare Mac handy!

So Leopard apparently doesn't recognize a Classic OS system partition as bootable, and locks up (or out, actually). Yet it allows you to set your startup disk to that Classic OS and thus lock you out of your machine. This is a bug, plain and simple, and a somewhat nasty one at that.

Makes me wonder what the 10.5 installation did to my Classic to disable its bootability. And why.

avatar

Neil

Hi there,

There used to be two problems with e-mail from Mail when viewed in Outlook. #1 there were question mark symbols throughout when more than one space was used between sentences. This is fixed. #2 is that the HTML font was not set in an HTML e-mail. In the 2.5 years since Tiger, this still hasn't been fixed?! I just checked by e-mailing Outlook on XP.

...Neil

avatar

Anonymous

In your spotlight screenshot of the list of Beatles songs, "Gerald R. Ford" was the user listed in the menubar.

And I thought he was dead.

avatar

JonV

Of two glitches I've come across in Leopard so far (one being the trash issue), Permissions Repair seems to go on endlessly....they will repair from the OS X Leopard Disc "Disc Utilties" folder, but not from the Disc Utilities Folder on the Hard Drive.

avatar

Karl Rowley

Thanks, Rik, great review. You mention the 4 possible connections for Time Machine and the fact that a NAS will work fine. I'm in the process of buying one (4HD-RAID1) for my small business and I'll probably hook it up by Gigabit Ethernet to maximime speed... Does that mean that yes, TM could work on such NAS but no, because it's through Ethernet? Weird. I'm presently hooked up by USB2 and frankly, it's too slow for our 2 macs sharing it from an AEBS. (is eSata faster?) Thanks.

avatar

Rik

In answer to your questions, Karl, about Time Machine backup-drive connections.

1. Yes, you can most certainly use Time Machine to back up to a NAS over Ethernet (and to a server as well, for that matter). Thanks for pointing out that lack of clarity in my write-up -- I asked Roman to post a clarification.

2. Yes, eSATA is a lot faster than USB 2.0 - even faster than FireWire 800, in my experience. If I could only get my Seagate eSATA drive running under Leopard...

avatar

Anonymous

I finally tracked down a solution for the Seagate Promise card installation under Leopard and thought I'd share since Seagate doesn't seem to care!

From the install disk, pull the eSATA300.pkg file from the eSATA300.dmg image to the Desktop. Right click and choose "Show Package Contents". In \Contents\Resources\, delete the file called "VolumeCheck". Run the installer and everything should work without the annoying "Index 17" message.

VolumeCheck is a file that checks the volume to see if it can accept the installation and apparently the Seagate installation doesn't find the correct checksum under Leopard.

Also, you can use the eSATA ports for Time Machine backups, but if you have to reinstall an entire volume using the Leopard boot disk, the Disk Utility in there won't see the eSATA ports to restore, so you have to use USB for restoring when on the Leopard boot disk.

avatar

Luc

It's good to see I'm not the only one having problems with my eSATA hard drive working under Leopard. I have the WD My Book Premium ES hdd. I've had no problems before I had upgraded to Leopard. Now, I just get all these errors.

avatar

Rik

I've been in communication with Seagate about my eSATA woes, with the result being that they're certain that the problem lies in a Leopard incompatibility with the driver for the eSATA PCI card, manufactured by Promise Technology, that was bundled with their drive (and I concur)y.

Both the exceptionally helpful Seagate tech-support guy (kudos, Alan!) and I tried to get satisfaction from Promise, but got nowhere. I gotta hand it to Seagate though -- when it became clear to them that trying to get an updated driver from Promise was a no-go, they offered to swap my eSATA drive for a higher-capacity FireWire drive.

I'd prefer to have a high-performance eSATA drive, of course (that sucker flew!), but Seagate is to be commended for giving me a drive that actually works in exchange for my not-happenin' eSATA drive. Call me one happy customer.

avatar

BeatleMike

Maybe Leopard simply realizes that The End is truly the final showcase of all 4 Beatles talents in one song. Gotta admit no other Beatles song allows 4 separate solos. But of course there's that damned reverse logical order that stsacks uses as well lol.

avatar

mindless123

If I ignore the feature of platform independence for the time being, I find Apple products including the Leopard & other Mac OS pretty convincing in their design, look & feel. However there have always been some performance issues with every Apple product. Apple never works to make its products platform independent. Users have to arrange seperate softwares & drivers if they are planning to use an Apple pc or a laptop. Even the highly efficient open source products like the premium wordpress templates need to have various modifications in order to run on a Mac OS.

avatar

Mymac4ever

Could you maybee share that image of the shared desktop crash in a bigger format ?

avatar

The_Major

I find all of this very fascinating. I'm new to the Mac. Got my very first Mac on October 21st. I've enjoyed this week with it very much. I'm using my laptop less and less. And I got an iMac. I'm gonna get Leopard despite these bugs. I'm not some geeky kid. I don't know nearly as much about computers as I'd like and even less about Mac. Thank you though. I'll know what to expect when my dad orders me a MacBook. I've gotta call Apple. Gotta re-decide on which to get... a high high end MacBook or a high high end MacBook Pro... I'll bring up some of these bugs and see if I can't weasel a general idea of when they should be out of Leopard while I'm at it.

I'm a Tiger user... 20-inch iMac (250GB Hard Drive, 1 GB of RAM, 2.0 GHz CPU) and I noticed an issue with Pages. It may be in Leopard or it was just me. It got all glitchy like my second or third night with my iMac. I saved my work and closed it... then reopened the app. Still all glitchy. Closed it again and shut down for the night. Went back to it the next day and had no problems. Wasn't bad and far less than what I got use to with Windows. Anyone know if problems like that are more common in Leopard?

Log in to Mac|Life directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.