Use Time Machine To Backup To A Windows Or Linux Computer

Use Time Machine To Backup To A Windows Or Linux Computer

If you are a Mac OS X user, you will be familiar with Time Machine. If you are reading this site I would hope you are, as it is the super-easy backup solution that is built into the OS.

The premise of Time Machine is you plug in an external hard drive, your Mac detects it, and off you go backing up without having to do much of anything.

However, what happens if you don’t have an external hard drive, but you have another computer, particularly a Windows or Linux machine, on your network that you want to use for your backups?

Lifehacker has posted a guide (two actually) on how to accomplish this.

It is not for the faint of heart or people who don’t like messing around in the Terminal, but long story short you:

  1. Create a shared folder on the Windows machine
  2. Change a setting in the Mac to open a hidden Time Machine option
  3. Do some Terminal trickery to get Time Machine to start doing the backup to the Windows machine

I recommend you read this Lifehacker post first so that you know what is going on, and in particular read the comments which provide some additional input.

Then, if you want to go for it, read this Lifehacker post which has a shell script that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you.

Remember, this all adds a layer of complexity over and above simply plugging a drive in, so I would recommend being careful and test your backups regularly.

Do you have any other Time Machine hacks? Let’s hear them in the comments.

(Photo by AdamL212)

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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