Yes, It Really Can be that Easy and Painless!
So Shortly after I purchased my Apple MacBook Pro 17″ laptop Apple announced a new device which I thought was ultimately Cool. The Time Capsule, a network backup device which works well with their backup tool Time Machine, a sort or ‘Set-it and Forget-it’ backup. It also provided for Secure Wireless Router capabilities. By April I had saved up enough to purchase one of these… the 1TB version.
When this arrived, I plugged it in, setup the preferences for both Time Machine backup and for an extension of my home Gigabyte wired network with a new wireless connection point. Now I would have my MacBook Pro backed up automatically when ever I was home and on the network. My family would be able to use there computer just about anywhere about the house as well as their friends.
Time marches on… We come to 2009 and Apple releases Snow Leopard, an awaited upgrade to the Mac OS. My friend Diane and I stopped by the New Naperville Apple store (Main Place) and picked up two copies of Snow Leopard and then headed back to her place for Bears Football, NASCAR, and OS upgrading! Upgrading Diane’s laptop went really well, leaving me promise that mine would too go well. But I would wait ’til I had more time at home to do my upgrade… and After I backed up my laptop. I had plenty of data, and such I wanted to ensure I had backed up before I started.
I returned home, did some J-O-B search effort’s on Monday and other work, letting the laptop get backed up. By the time Monday Night Football Started, I was ready to begin my upgrade to Snow Leopard. With 23-minutes left in the 1-hour+ install/upgrade process… my hard disk had other ideas. It Died a Hard Death. There was NO mechanical sounds coming from the laptop other than the fan. It was after 11PM so I would have to reach Apple for an appointment with the Genius Bar first thing in the morning.
Reached Tech support in the morning. We walked through a number of different tasks and tests to confirm/verify the situation. About 20-30 minutes later he had confirmed my thoughts, the drive was dead. Set up an appointment for later that afternoon at one of the local area stores.
After a few days (they also replaced my LED screen, since it had a Bug (YES, a real Bug) Squashed behind the screen!) I picked up my laptop and once again (oddly enough) found myself over at Diane’s for Dinner and a Packer Football game.
I had brought my Time Capsule device with in anticipation of starting the restore after dinner. So plugging my MBP directly into one of the three TCP ports on the back of the Time Capsule, I would be able to communicate with it directly.
Booting from my Snow Leopard DVD, selecting Utilities–>Restore System from Backup and then basically just following the prompts pointing to the backup device and selecting the backup to restore from. Honestly, this really couldn’t be much easier.
After nearly 4-hours of spinning activity doing the restoration, it told me the restore was completed. This restore time window is dependent upon the amount of data and size of files being restored. It does provide an Hour:Minute count down during the process which is constantly adjusting (based on data activity I am sure), so you know just how much time left in the process. At 01:05 I rebooted the laptop, and after a few extra minutes of start-up time… Things started to look familiar again. My hopes were really raised when I saw my background appear on the screen.
The Sun Crystal Logo I got while I was still employed there. (Really, I hold no real grudge, since it was a business decision that cost me my job, and Not my performance! If given the opportunity I would certainly welcome the chance to return to employment there… even though they will be know as Oracle very soon.) At any rate eventually it finished booting. Even my numerous Finder windows I use daily all reappeared. Checking the amount of free space left on the disk, this was approximately what was free at the time of the crash as well. Two more test I wanted to run to really put me at ease; Mail and Browsers.
I had read that Time Machine does not back up items which can easily be recreated such as caches and indexes. So an application such as Apple Mail would rebuild local cache/index files when it was 1st started back up, but all the messages should remain intact, as well as configuration data. So I fired up the mail app… after just a few short minutes everything was rebuilt and I was downloading the New Messages I had received over the past few days. Cool!
Browser tests… Opening Safari and selecting History –>Open All Windows from Last Session, a few short seconds later all my previous Safari windows started to open and load. Very Cool again! Firefox was next, and it too also would restore my last session and open all my windows. Great!
Over the course of the rest of the weekend (besides a visit to the Faire on Saturday!!!), I used other applications and even both version of Command and Conquer I have installed on my laptop (C&C3 and Red Alert 3) I have not found anything non-functional or missing from what was defined to be backed up. (you can define file systems to be skipped)
So Overall I am extremely happy and more than satisfied with both Time Machine and my Time Capsule. I will gladly give up 4-hours of restoration time knowing that I have 100% of my desired data backed up and recoverable. These two tools working together in harmony are a tremendous burden off my mind. One Big thing less I have to worry about when I sleep… whenever that is.
Despite a small intermittent and short performance slowdown (depending upon the amount of data turn over, especially if you are creating large files) I would easily and strongly recommend this solution to anyone desiring a carefree solution to providing backup for their laptop, or even any Apple desktops. It’s quiet, once set up… it Runs, and simply put, it works well!
In the end, I have back my laptop in the same condition, just better, than it was a week ago. And the New LED… just icing on the cake… Working on my photographs in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop is grand again since I don’t have to constantly move the image to ensure the ‘spot’ isn’t the squashed bug!
Thank You Apple!
I am actually eying the 2TB version now… he he he he!
All Images Copyrighted © 2009 michael T. sedwick