Join Nick Brazzi for an in-depth discussion in this video Backing up with Time Machine, part of Mac OS X Yosemite Essential Training.
- The easiest way to backup your Mac is by using Time Machine, which is a utility that does automatic backups. It's also the easiest way to restore files that you've lost. You can restore all of your data in one move or you can restore individual files that you've accidentally deleted. The catch is that you have to use an external hard drive and you have to either leave that hard drive plugged into your computer or at least make sure it's connected on a regular basis. There are a couple ways to set up Time Machine. If you're using a hard drive that you've never connected to your computer before you're gonna have the easiest option.
So I'll start by connecting this hard drive and see what happens. So you can see when I connect the hard drive I get this message. This is what you'll see like I said if you've never connected this hard drive to your computer before. And it's asking whether you want to use this hard drive with Time Machine. I can say Use as Backup, I can say Don't Use or I can just decide later. Most of the time when you connect an external hard drive you're gonna want to say Don't Use because you're using that hard drive for something else. But because I do want to use this particular hard drive for backup, I would say Use as a Backup Disk.
Now just in this case, I'm not going to do this because I want to show you the other way of setting up a Time Machine backup on your hard drive. So just be aware, it is nice to go ahead and hit this button but just for now, I'm going to hit Decide Later. And I'll show you the other way of setting up your Time Machine backup. You can go into System Preferences and inside of System Preferences you're looking for the option for Time Machine that's right here. I'll go ahead and click on that. Now, this is the way that you do it If you've got a hard drive that does not flash that message when you first plug it in.
So all you really need to do to use your hard drive is to select a backup disk. And in this case, I'm going to hit this button, Select Backup Disk, and I'll choose my external hard drive Untitled. Now the other option would be to use a Time Capsule. And this is a special device that Apple makes which is wireless router and an external hard drive all built together. This would give you the opportunity to do backups using Time Machine but it would happen wirelessly to this one device. You can also use a Time Capsule for multiple computers.
So, I'm not gonna set up a Time Capsule. I'm just going to select the hard drive that I have and I'll hit Use Disk. And now you'll see that this switch has been flipped. and it says that Time Machine is on. It also says that my next backup will perform in 90 some seconds. So usually, I'll just go ahead and quit this window and after a while it will automatically start the backup. So while we're waiting for this to start backing up, let's think for a moment about what exactly is being backed up.
Like we talked about before, there's no reason to back up the operating system itself. So, let me jump out of here for a moment and I'm going to open up my hard drive. So, if I look at the root of my hard drive, there's no reason to backup the operating system itself. So it's not gonna backup Library or System. Then there's the applications folder. Many backup tools don't bother with applications but Time Machine does. It does backup all of the applications that you currently have installed on your computer.
Then of course, there's the user content. This is where all of the user accounts are stored. This contains all of the files that you've created and stored on your computer, as well as the files that have been stored by any other users who have user accounts on this machine. So if I go into the user folder, any user accounts that are setup here are going to be backed up. So for example, if I go into my user folder, you see, this will include the contents of the desktop, my documents folder, my movies, my pictures, all of that stuff.
This is all the stuff that we talked about much earlier in the chapter on Finder. And that's really all you need to backup anyway. Now you may notice that this icon from my hard drive over here in the side bar has changed and it's got this little circular arrow which tells me that it's currently doing the backup. If I point at that circular arrow I could cancel the backup by hitting this X but I don't want to do that. Now, just to see how this is working I'm going to go back to System Preferences.
And back to the Time Machine option here. And you can see, while were talking about those other things that backup has already begun. And you can see it's gonna take a while. So far it's only backed up 2.3 gigabytes out of 300 gigabytes. So it's still got a ways to go. The good news is that you can close this window and go about your business, and your computer is generally not gonna run any slower. It's gonna go ahead and perform that backup. You can even disconnect the hard drive if you wanted to and it would stop, and then it would continue the backup again the next time you connect it.
So that's the first task. That's how you start your backup. So now, let's fast forward in time and see what happens when you need to restore data from your backup to your computer. So now I've jumped ahead forward in time a few days. You can see the icon from my backup drive has changed. This is what it looks like after it has completed the backup and its been in service for a little while. So, there are two scenarios for restoring files. One scenario is you've accidentally deleted or you've changed or you've lost a file that's important to you.
And we can go about the process of restoring one individual file. The other process is if you have a catastrophic hard drive failure, your computer's dead or your hard drive's dead and you get a new computer or a repaired computer and you have to restore everything. So let's start with scenario one. I'm gonna go into a finder window and I'm gonna go to my documents folder. I'm gonna go into this folder called Two Trees Company Files. And I know that I had some files in this folder before but now they're not there. Maybe I accidentally deleted them or consider this possibility.
Maybe the files I want are here but I've made some changes that I wanted to undo. So here what you can do. I'm gonna launch the application called Time Machine and I can do that from launch pad or I can just do it from a Spotlight Search. I'll just do it from Spotlight. So I'll open up Spotlight. I'll type in Time Machine and press return. And now I can see versions of this folder cascading back through time. And I can hit these buttons right here to go backward or forward in time.
So if I take a step back, I'll go back in time to a point when those files that I'm looking for are still there. So once I find the file that I'm looking for I can select it, I can hit restore, and it will grab that file and bring it back to the future. So here it is in that folder where I want it and I can go to any folder that I want and do the same thing. If a file has changed or if it's missing I can restore it just like that. So the other scenario is a little more severe.
If your computer is completely broken or your hard drive is completely dead, then you'll need to either get your computer repaired or you'll have to buy a whole new computer. But chances are when you get your new or repaired computer, it will be completely empty. It won't have any data on it. And that's why you'll need to restore the data from your backup. And there's two possibilities with that. Either you're starting up a brand new computer fresh out of the box or you're looking at a computer that's already started up, but you don't have any information on it.
So if you're working on a computer that's already started up, and you're here at the normal desktop, what you want to do is go into Finder, go into Applications. And look for a folder called Utilities. Inside of Utilities, you want to open up Migration Assistant. I'll go ahead and open that and continue. I'll have to type in my administrator password to continue from here. And now a quick note. If you are starting up from a brand new computer fresh out of the box, and eventually you'll come to a screen that will ask you if you want to restore from a backup.
If you say yes to that question, you will end up on a screen that looks almost exactly like this. So, either way you go, eventually you'll end up on a screen like this. The Migration Assistant which will restore everything from your backup. And so, of course you'll need to choose your Time Machine backup here. So I'll pick this option that says Restore from a Mac, a Time Machine backup or a startup disk. I'll hit continue. And I need to make sure that my Time Machine backup drive is connected to the computer.
If my Time Machine backup drive is connected, the Migration Assistant will find it, and then I can select it here. It would be unusual to see more than one backup drives here, but if you did see more than one, make sure you choose the one that you want. And then click continue from here. And again, it would be very unusual to have multiple backups on one drive, but if you did, you would select the backup that you wanted and hit continue here. Now when I performed my Time Machine backup I was backing up a computer that had several user accounts on it.
Your computer might just have one user account or you might have a few. But from here, I want to choose which user accounts I want to restore. Now, I don't want to restore most of these so I'm just going to turn off the check box next to these. But if you have multiple user accounts in your family you might want to restore all of them. So what I'm restoring here is my user account, the one with my name on it, my computer network settings, and if you want you can also choose to restore your applications.
So with those three items selected I'll hit continue and now it will go through the process of restoring my backup to my computer, and this could take a while. So give your computer some time to restore that backup. But once this is finished, all of your data will be completely restored to your computer and you can continue working on it just as that computer was the last time it performed its backup.
- Installing and running Mac OS X 10.10 for the first time
- Organizing your desktop
- Browsing file folders with Finder
- Creating, copying, moving, and renaming files and folders
- Launching and quitting applications from the Dock
- Using Dashboard Widgets and Mission Control
- Saving and searching
- Browsing the web with Safari
- Communicating with iMessage and FaceTime
- Using iTunes, QuickTime, and Maps
- Installing applications from the App Store
- Sharing over a network
- Backing up and restoring Mac OS X 10.10