Monday, July 20, 2009

Time Capsule's nearly Fatal Flaw

Apple customers need more spine. This fanboy isn't nearly ballistic enough (emphases mine)...
Mac 301: Time Machine backups after your Mac's brain surgery

... Replacing the logic board is essentially like getting a whole new Mac; though all the data on the hard drive is identical, the new logic board will have different hardware identifiers (specifically, the MAC address) that will tell your Time Capsule, "This is a new Mac that's never been backed up before. Please treat it as such." The Time Capsule, doing as it's told, will fumble along and create a new Time Machine backup while ignoring the old backups completely.

Your options then are these:

1. Scrap your old Time Machine backups and start fresh. There may be an allure to this, but it's almost certainly unnecessary, and you can lose months of perfectly good backups. Plus, you then have to deal with the incredibly long first Time Machine backup all over again.

2. Hack your Time Machine backup using the following procedure, which will allow you to resume Time Machine backups as though your logic board was never replaced.
So you send your machine to Apple to get fixed, confident that you're fully backed up with Time Capsule.

Your machine returns in great shape with a wiped drive. No problem, you think, you've got Time Capsule ...

Oops. Your backup is worthless unless you can hack the backup image...

Excuse me, I need to breathe into a paper bag now.

Ok, I'm back.

Apple's forums have lots of threads on the topic, like this one. It seems poorly documented, but if you have the Time Machine icon in the menu bar (set via Time Machine preferences) and you option-click on it you get a "Browse Other Time Machine Disks" option.

I found one kb article with some information for Time Machine and another for Time Capsule ...
Restoring an existing Time Capsule backup to a new Mac
When your new Mac starts up for the first time, you are asked if you want to transfer information from another Mac or volume (in the "Do You Already Own a Mac?" window).
Click "From a Time Machine backup or other disk."...
... Time Capsule appears as a Backup Volume. Select it, then click Continue to proceed.
Enter the password for your Time Capsule...
Except that doesn't make sense. What if there are multiple machine backups on the Time Capsule?

I suspect there are workarounds, but it confirms my feeling that Time Capsule is half-baked.

BTW, there are interesting issues with FileVault such as ...
Note: If you use FileVault, your Home folder is backed up only when you are logged out.... If you use FileVault, you cannot browse for individual items in your Home folder. However, you can restore all files and folders by using the Restore System from Backup feature of the Mac OS X Installer

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