Thursday, February 14, 2008

Using Leopard Time Machine with Network Share

I just upgraded to Leopard. I want to use Time Machine to back up my laptop, but the only hard drive I have with extra space is an external hard drive currently plugged into my Mac Mini.

My first problem is that I don't have an open partition of the right size. To solve this I have created a 50 GB disk image. I setup that disk image with no encryption and a format of "read/write disk image." It took a few hours to create this image.

Then I mounted this image on the Mini and shared it through AFP (Personal File Sharing). Then I mounted this shared drive on the laptop. I could not tell Time Machine to use this network share... it did not appear. The solution was to change a system preference via the command line:

defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

I heard about this technique here.

Then I told Time Machine to start backing up now. It failed with the error message: Time Machine Error The backup disk image could not be created. Eventually I found this thread. It advised me to:

1. Start Time Machine backup. Wait a little.
2. On the server, make a copy (cp -r) of the in-progress disk image.
3. Let Time Machine fail and delete the image.
4. Rename (mv) the copy created earlier to the same name of the deleted Time Machine sparsebundle image.

This worked!


stand said...

I'm doing something similar for my mini. It's not clear to me whether or not it is possible to restore from a network backup though. The things I've read say no but I haven't checked lately.

I'm assuming that they will eventually enable network backups and restores as a fully supported option, but in the meantime, I'm still backing up important files separately.

Toph said...

That's a good question... I haven't completed my first backup yet, thus I have not tried a restore yet. I'll get to that sometime this weekend I suppose. I'll post a follow-up once I do.

arsen said...

worked! thx :)

Toph said...

BTW, I have tested the restore and that works too.

Emanuele said...

Thanks for the tip. It worked for me...

joop said...

thank you!!!

kelly said...

the Buffalo LinkStation Live has a configuration option to set up the base files for you, makes it pretty easy. Documentation isn't great, go into the NAS, configure the Time Machine options, you need your Mac's hostname and MAC address. note, appears time machine always uses your ethernet MAC address (took me a couple failed tries to notice. if you're not familiar with command line, you can grab your MAC address from Apps->Utilities->Network Utility, the Info tab, would be the hardware address for en0. you do have to enter it hex with colons)

kelly said...

oh... i was using model LS-CHL firmware v1.00, looks to have been available since Novemberish.

Aaron said...

Has anybody managed to get this working under Snow Leopard? I'm having some difficulties and it's behaving slightly differently than described.

First of all, the sparsebundle image it creates does not have my ethernet MAC address. It's just Mymac.tmp.sparsebundle. If I try to rename my sparsebundle Mymac.sparsebundle, then it creates another tmp Mymac1.tmp.sparsebundle - and keeps giving me the 45 error regardless. Either way, no luck in tricking it into useing a locally created sparsebundle

Eddie said...


It's happening exactly same problem as yours. anyone working for you under snow leopard? Please help me out

Chris said...

I am still on Leopard (sans Snow)... sorry, no help.

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