Time Machine Wipe & Start Over

A bit ago I covered my plan for a comprehensive backup plan for my Mac. I thought when OS X Mt. Lion (10.8) came out that being able to use 2 Time Machine drives would fix my, one-in one-out, process. However it did not. When you swap back in the drive that’s a month out of date it still doesn’t always pickup where it left off, and to add to that you get a notice every couple days that the other drive is unavailable for backup. So 1 drive at a time is best in my experience.

After swapping the drives most often it freaks out saying the drive is full and seems unable to actually do house cleaning or pickup where it left off. My guess it regards the drive a new backup not a continuation. So I find it best to start anew each month. After swapping the drive, follow this procedure to wipe the newly back in service Time Machine drive and start off a fresh new month of back up data.

Correct swap in a new Time Machine drive that has been used before:

  1. Stop using the backup drive in Time Machine: Open System Prefs, Time Machine, Select Disk, Click the disk that is active, ‘Remove Disk’. Confirm ‘Stop Using This Disk’.
  2. Stop time machine: Open System Prefs, Time Machine, click the big ‘Off’ switch.
  3. Eject the Volume (if it won’t eject, see “Force Eject Time Machine Drive“)
  4. In Disk Utility: Erase drive, “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)” Erase.
  5. Then remount the drive with disk utility and turn back on time machine, you’ll have to reselect your drive, and let it rip.

Force Eject Time Machine Drive:

Terminal: hdforceiutil eject -force [drag drive here]


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Comprehensive Mac Backup Plan

A good backup is incremental and protected “off-site” (or as near as possible).

Time Machine built into Mac OS X since Leopard (10.5) is an all around good backup of your system and data. It’s only shortfall is that it backsups to a connected or internal drive. If that drive should fail, theft, fire, or other natural catastrophe then you’re out of luck. My solution is to use two Time Machine backup drives. One attached, one safe and swap them on a monthly basis. I put the detached disk in a fire safe box just in case. This is a pretty good method, in the worst case you’d only loose at most 1 months of data.

On a monthly basis I have an iCal reminder set to remind me to swap. Simply eject your time machine drive and disconnect it. Then reattach your other drive. Open Time Machine prefs and point it to the newly attached backup drive. It will pickup where it left off.

I found this blog article with more in depth info and process on the matter. It’s good to see others are using the same strategy.


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From windows to a mac

window-mac-logosI just stumbled across a reprint of an article originally published on computerworld titled “A Windows guru spends two weeks with a Mac” His experience is very similar to mine and I thought it interesting the article’s conclusion:

“What did I learn after several weeks of living with the Mac?

First off, I had expected there to be a longer learning curve, and had thought that in the long run there wouldn’t be much of a difference between the Mac and a PC. After all, an operating system is just an operating system.

To a certain extent that’s true. When you use productivity applications themselves, there’s not a great deal of difference between using them on a Mac versus using them on a PC. However, when it came to the operating system itself, there’s certainly a difference, and a substantial one. Mac OS X is simpler to use and easier to configure, yet has more bells, whistles and “eye candy.” And much of that eye candy, such as Exposé, is not just elegantly designed and entertaining, but quite useful as well.

That’s not to say that every aspect of the Mac is superior to the PC. Vista’s Network and Sharing Center, and especially the Network Map, is an excellent, simple, all-in-one destination for networking that Mac OS X would do well to emulate.

Overall, though, Mac OS X beats Windows. There, I’ve said it. And lightning hasn’t struck me yet.”

Read the full article »

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Notes you can access from anywhere

Visit evernote.com »

I, like many, have spent several years trying to find a good way to create and access notes no matter where I am. In fact having notes and my calendar on my at all times is a driving factor in getting an iPhone. A couple of years ago Thrillist did a piece on an application called Evernote which I’ve been using ever since. It’s available on Mac, PC, iPhone, and now Blackberry.

It auto-magically sync’s your notes through a free account you can setup through their website. The free account allows you to store several image formats and files in your notes (including JPG, GIF, and PDF’s). They also have premium paid account that allows you sync anything and any format, large data storage cap, as well as SSL encryption, no ads in the desktop client, and more.

I’ve never needed to upgrade from the free account and I use it quite a bit. I find it extremely useful for packing lists, home improvement project diagrams, cellphone pics of something to match at the hardware store with notes, etc.

While so many are complaining about the lack of notes sync on the iPhone, I find it a moot point, since I’ve been using Evernote to do that since they released the iPhone App.

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