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Bonus Review: Apple's Time Capsule

It only took some three decades of personal computing, but when Apple's Time Machine software arrived as part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard last fall, we finally had a backup program easy enough for anybody to use.

But as I noted at the time, Time Machine requires a second, high-capacity hard drive, which many people still don't own. So in January, the company introduced Time Capsule, a box that combines a fast 802.11n WiFi router and a massive external hard drive in an enclosure no bigger than a regular AirPort Extreme router.

This two-in-one design allows you to back up every Mac in the home over your home network, eliminating a great deal of clutter and complexity. The pricing is also pretty good, if still higher than the cost of a separate hard drive and router: A 500-gigabyte model Time Capsule sells for just $299, while a one-terabyte unit goes for $499.

Apple loaned a 1-TB review model in March (note that its actual capacity was 929.5 GB, according to Mac OS X), and since then its primary trait has been a near-complete lack of drama.

The initial 92-GB backup took much longer over a wireless connection than when I had the Time Capsule connected via an Ethernet cable to the Mac--although I didn't sit there with a stopwatch, the job took at least a day and a half. But afterwards, it worked the same over a wired or wireless link.

(My colleague Liz McGehee, however, wrote that she returned a Time Capsule that wouldn't finish an initial backup session in multiple tries: "I'd get exactly 38.1 MB into it, and then it would get interrupted." I could not duplicate this problem on the review hardware.)

The only obvious cue of the Time Capsule's existence was noise. Its cooling fan made a distinct, if subdued, whine when beginning each backup session, as if a very small jet engine were spooling up behind the computer, and then smoothly whirred to a stop a few minutes later.

It also drew a little more power than the combination of a regular AirPort Extreme and the older FireWire external hard drive: 22 watts during backup sessions, 14 at other times.

For a single-Mac home, Time Capsule is probably overkill (although if you keep your router in a separate room from the computer, it might spare you the agony of having your computer and your backup drive stolen in the same break-in). For a home with more than one Mac running Leopard, though, I can't think of a simpler, easier backup system than Time Capsule.

In March, Apple provided another way to backup multiple Macs to a networked hard drive. A set of updates for Time Machine and AirPort Extreme routers issued then enabled a feature once promised for the first release of Leopard: the ability to plug in a hard drive to an AirPort base station and use that "AirPort Disk" as a Time Machine backup.

To test that, I connected an external hard drive to the Time Capsule's USB port (which can also be used to share a printer) and set Time Machine to back up my data to that volume. Apple has called this option unsupported," but it appeared to work just as well as Time Capsule's own drive.

If you've been using Time Capsule or an AirPort Disk to back up your Mac, how has that been working? What combination of hardware and software would you suggest to provide some of the same features in Windows?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 29, 2008; 11:50 AM ET
Categories:  Mac  
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Comments

We have 3 macs- a new ibook (intel-based), an older 15-inch powerbook (powerpc), and a mac mini. We bought the Time Capsule about 3 weeks ago. Easy install, and like the review, here, the most significant thing involved is zero drama. No issues, no problems, nothing happening, except backups without any effort whatsoever!

Posted by: Tiffany | April 29, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Online backup (e.g., http://www.mozy.com), in case your computer is stolen or your house burns down. The initial upload of the 85GB on my Mac took two months, but talk about peace of mind...

Posted by: mizar | April 29, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

The only issue I've had with Time Machine was when I did an OS re-install from a Time Machine backup. (The result of a system crash during a Boot Camp re-partitioning.)

Some file permissions were wrong (chown -r from /Users/me fixed that, and why couldn't Time Machine do that?), and I had to re-authorize the iMac on iTunes. Otherwise, no problems.

Hit the new Apple store in Fair Oaks last weekend. 500GB drives are now down to $140 or so. Still planning on getting a pair of small (physically) 250 GB drives so that I can do offsite backups of photos, iTunes, e-mail, and other stuff I want to preserve for a long time.

The plan is: Plug drive in, run a script that copies over the relevant directories, unplug the drive and put it in the safety deposit box at the bank. Rotate drives every month. Between that, and Time Machine, I should be relatively protected. Beats the heck out of the Old Days (circa 1990) when I was hanging tapes on a VAX.

Posted by: wiredog | April 29, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the additional post.
From Nature, a review of "Internet Alley: High Technology in Tysons Corner, 1945-2005" from MIT Press. I like the description of Tyson's as being "the largest accretion of mediocre architecture and spies on the planet."

Posted by: wiredog | April 29, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Ordered 500GB Time Capsule in mid Jan. and received it in early April. Used ethernet cable on initial backup and all went well. Three weeks later, it just died. Apple Care did all they could and finally asked that I return it to the nearest store. The Genius Bar folks could not find the problem and gave me a replacement. Let's hope this replacement is good for the long haul.

Posted by: paul larson | April 29, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

I am hopelessly paranoid:

1. I have a RAID-1 config on my computer, with two 160GB HDs.
2. I have a 500GB external HD (WD MyBook)for on-site backup via Norton Ghost, which runs when I sleep.
3. I have MozyHome, which backs up the crucial stuff on the Web, while I sleep.

Your initial Mozy backup is slower than slow, but subsequent incremental backups are faster.

Is any of this perfect? No -- but I have REASONABLE confidence that I have some protection in case of catastrophic failures or house fires or thefts or whatnot. I have a neighbor who lost six years of pictures on a failed HD, with no backup. We managed to recover most of it, but not all.

Posted by: TMU | April 29, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The biggest complaint I have heard about the Time Capsule is the time it takes to do the initial backup of a computer. Lots of reviews on the mac website complain about this. It seems like that initial lag time is necessary for any backup system though. Am I wrong about this?

Posted by: TG | April 29, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I am a network engineer with over 20 years experience. I just added a 1 terabyte unit to a mixed Mac/PC environment in my house. I like the Time Capsule very much and have only a couple minor complaints.

First, as an advanced user, I would love to have more tools to tinker with the device. All of the configuration tools are simple, but limited. It is a good thing for the average consumer, but I like looking under the hood to see what is going on.

As a matter of fact, it was so simple to set up that it confused me. I just plugged it in, followed the on screen instructions to replace my existing 802.11g router, and it did the rest. The green light came on, I looked at it and thought "It can't be this easy". It is that easy.

Second, if there has been no drive activity for a while, the drive shuts down to save energy and minimize wear on the drive. The problem is that when you go to access a file, such as a movie, you have to wait for the drive to spool back up. This will be a problem for people who need access to the drive "right now". I am talking about maybe 10 seconds of latency. Once the drive is spooled up, data transfer rates are fine for most applications.

Third, movie playback over the wireless sometimes skips. The skip is usually only a second. The screen will freeze for that second and then continue. Wireless networking is not the best choice for real time applications, so you cannot fault the Time Capsule. You can however fault the playback software (Quicktime) for not realizing that it is getting the data from a system that could have latency issues.

There are a few things that you can do to avoid this problem. One is to be as close to the unit as possible. Make sure that no other wireless devices are on that could be interfering with your signal. Another is to connect to it with an Ethernet cable. Lastly, copy the content to your hard drive prior to playback.

Vista's built-in backup software will not recognize the Time Capsule (or a lot of other NAS devices for that matter) due to a "security feature". The backup software for XP works just fine.

I don't think that there is a way to add it to a PC only environment. I think that Apple needs to make this clear. So I caution PC owners to do their research.

Regardless of my complaints, it is an excellent device. I would highly recommend it to almost anyone.

Posted by: BSOD | April 29, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Doctor Who | April 30, 2008 5:54 AM | Report abuse

I first added the TC to my 802.11g network, which was slow at transferring files like you said. I then created a dual-band network (a real 802.11n network for my TC, new MacBook, and AppleTV, then a 802.11g network for my old iMac).

Wow! 802.11n is fast! I can transfer a 500 meg file to my TC in about 90 seconds!

That's the key... create an "n" (5 GHz) network!

Posted by: Aaron | April 30, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"What if we want to use NFS?"

You will need to get Bonjour up and running to be able to access it from Linux and Unix systems.

http://developer.apple.com/opensource/internet/bonjour.html

Configuring the Time Capsule with anything but an Apple system may be difficult. I have not seen a way to configure it with a non-Apple system.

Posted by: BSOD | April 30, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Like TMU, I could be called paranoid about losing data. What if a fire or theft were to cause me to lose the computer AND the backup drive? Since my desktop computer is a Powerbook and I usually take it to work with me, I've begun doing regular backups (every week or two) on an external drive I keep at the office as well. Easy offsite backup without the cost and time involved with uploading to a remote location. I feel much more secure now that I have backups in two places.

Posted by: Randy | April 30, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

From the article: "It also drew a little more power than the combination of a regular AirPort Extreme and the older FireWire external hard drive"

How do you connect an older FireWire external hard drive to a Apple Airport Extreme base station that does not have a FireWire port? (Air Disk uses USB.) Are you using some kind of USB->FireWire converter, or are you attaching it via USB and just made a mistake and put FireWire in the article? Or is there some version of the Airport Extreme that had FIreWire of which I am unaware? Or are you talking about doing backups to a FireWire drive connected directly to your Mac? If you are comparing power consumption of wired vs. wireless backup, it is a confusing and irrelevant comparison.

Posted by: Brant Sears | April 30, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I purchased the 500GB version a week before they actually began shipping as my wireless router at that time had just died anyway. When we first got the TC, it was easy enough to set up. The problems started when I did backups of the two older Macs in the house. I'm not using Time Machine as both of our Macs are running 10.4 - we use Super Duper which is great and creates a bootable backup. The main problems we experience are the router "dropping" the wireless connection occasionally, which is annoying, but the biggest problem is trying to share a printer off the USB port. If the printer is not on when you send a job to it, it locks up and NEVER finds the printer again until you walk through the entire install on the TC again... I mean, I have to open the Airport Utility, and click "continue" through all the setup screens (which default to the settings already there) and then choose to restart the TC. Once I do that, the printer shows up again, and will work. It has been difficult for my wife who is not a tech person - but this workaround seems to at least keep us going... All in all, I'm somewhat dissatisfied with this product. It has been better since receiving a firmware update a couple of weeks ago, but still, this product is not up to Apple's usually high level of quality.

Posted by: hfsrjakes | April 30, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

There are HUNDREDS if not thousands of posts on other blogs which state that people are having MAJOR problems with time capsule. I am one of them. I am very tech savvy and rarely have issues with anything computer related. I am yet to have it work ONCE successfully, and on top of that, it is slower than my Linksys, which I may hook back up and return the Time Capsule. Not happy with it at all... this blog seems to be incredibly biased (apple generated I'm sure, due to the overwhelming NEGATIVE feedback about the Time Capsule everywhere else online.)

Posted by: hasn't anyone read anhy OTHER blogs about time capsule? | April 30, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

There are HUNDREDS if not thousands of posts on other blogs which state that people are having MAJOR problems with time capsule. I am one of them. I am very tech savvy and rarely have issues with anything computer related. I am yet to have it work ONCE successfully, and on top of that, it is slower than my Linksys, which I may hook back up and return the Time Capsule. Not happy with it at all... this blog seems to be incredibly biased (apple generated I'm sure, due to the overwhelming NEGATIVE feedback about the Time Capsule everywhere else online.)

Posted by: hasn't anyone read any OTHER blogs about time capsule? | April 30, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

At the same time that I installed Leopard on our 2 Macs (Air and MP) I bought a TC.
1.) TC's speed as a router is far superior to the pair of Airport Expresses that I had been using (one as a repeater/iTunes) and has demonstrated startling speed tests, especially for wireless (speeds reaching T1 norms).
2.) Nary a glitch a all with TM. None. I've had it for at least a month.
3.) I do backup daily my docs and email files to Mac.Com and monthly my iPhoto and iTunes files to a DVD. Once you have a HD crash you become far more aware than yes, it can happen to you.

Posted by: Justfine | April 30, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

hasn't anyone read claims: "There are HUNDREDS if not thousands of posts on other blogs which state that people are having MAJOR problems with time capsule.:

Really? Where are they? I have not heard of any.

"I am yet to have it work ONCE successfully, and on top of that, it is slower than my Linksys, which I may hook back up and return the Time Capsule."

So you have yet to have it work at all, but "may may hook back up (the Linksys) and return the Time Capsule."

Here's the solution to your problem: Stop lying. Stop inventing phony stories about problems with Apple products, that you don't own. Quit being a hater. Get out and socialize (and I don't mean LAN parties)

Posted by: James Danielson | April 30, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm really sorry, but this is the first product, that didn't work "in apple way". Is very nice idea but not work well yet.

Posted by: Josy | April 30, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate Time Machine and feel it may be ideal for the majority of users but there are a number of issues to be aware of: these comments apply to a typical system with around 100 Gbytes of storage

System restore times can be quite long - typically 24 hours or longer using Gbps ethernet connection and possibly almost this long with a Firewire drive system just using Time Machine.

Initial backup times are fairly long - typically 8 to 10 hours with a Gbps ethernet connection. The best way to reduce this time is with Time Machine is to use an external RAID 1 configuration disc system directly with a Firewire 800 connection. You may never be able to initially backup in any reasonable time using Time Machine with any wireless connection.

Even the incremental wireless backup can be very slow if the computer is not close to the Time Capsule. Sometimes Time Capsule or an external disc system seems to loose sync with the computer system and it can take a long time to get back in sync. This can be a problem where certain software adds minor data changes within a very large file system and the entire file system then has to be backed up each time.

It can be helpful to monitor performance if there is a problem using the Activity Monitor checking the disc throughput and/or network throughput appropriately.

The biggest problem or disappointment with Time Capsule is that disc throughput performance is 2 or 3 times lower than it could be. Hopefully users will complain about this and Apple will improve it. A Time Capsule with a Firewire 800 interface for disc attachment would provide better capabilities. The USB capability should still be there to attach printers. A Time Capsule with a network bootable file system would also provide better overall recovery options.

Apple should fully support Airport Extreme with disc attachment where this offers greater flexibility for many users. Airport Extreme does work just like Time Machine with a USB disc attached. The Airport disc system does work with Windows XP quite well also. This provides a decent storage system on a home network that is fairly easy to set up and administer using the Airport Utility; Airport Utility sometimes requires you to repeat your configuration efforts but once setup a home network supporting disks and printers works quite well.

A good alternative backup strategy is provided by the freeware SuperDuper software - a licensed copy (costing $27) supports scheduled incremental backups and does automatically fix file permissions for example. The disc image and incremental file backup system capabilities are almost as fast as your disk but fixing the file system permissions can take some time. This approach provides a bootable system image on a firewire drive that allows much faster recovery where you can add the backup drive to any other Mac system (with like processor) and use your existing system almost immediately until your failed system is fixed. You can also test the back up you make with all the files on there very easily in this manner at any time so there should be no mystery why the backup system will not recover when your system fails on you. You can also select your personal drive characteristics rather than a single basic disk in Time Machine that can offer you greater performance (Raid 1) or greater data reliability (Raid 0). Lacie and G-Tech offer a range of such drives that plug in Macs directly with good OS X support.

Posted by: Alan Briggs | April 30, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I have been using a 1TB disk on an Airport Extreme since the Leopard update came out to support it. I could not believe how easy the Airport Extreme was to set up. It even knows about DSL modem routers and can use the DNS in that device.

Once the updates came out everything has just worked. I take the MacBook Pro to work, bring it home and the backups just happen.

I also back up once a week to a firewire drive using SuperDuper so I have a bootable image always available and have all my iTunes music and photos on my iPod.

I would go so far as to say Time Machine and Time Capsule are compelling enough in and of themselves to switch to a Mac.

Posted by: Frank | April 30, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I ordered 500GB Time Capsule about two weeks ago and received it April 28. Used ethernet cable on initial backup and all went well. It worked well for the day April 29. The morning of April 30 it came up with Time Machine Error. I spoke to AppleCare in Australia and I was on the phone to close on 2 hours and we checked all sorts of things but we could not get it to work. I am sending it back to the supplier on Friday, May 2 and they will give us a cheque. I am not going to take a replacement I am going to go back to the old way of backing up all our files. I may consider another one later down the track when they have some of the bugs sorted out.

Posted by: Alastair McLachlan | April 30, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Rob:

Thanks for the review. I've been on the fence about whether to buy one of these puppies for a while, since opinion has been mixed on the Apple web site.

With your review, I'm convinced that this device will work for me.

Jeff G.

Posted by: Jeff G. | April 30, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with james...

@hasn't anyone read any OTHER blogs about time capsule?

I haven't seen them... i've had a TC for a month or so now and i'm backing up 3 leopard macs just fine - haven't had a lick of trouble. Nor has anyone at my office that i've talked to.

So, i think that there will always be people who have trouble with first generation products... just the way life is. I hope you and apple get things worked out.

Posted by: Mitch | April 30, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I got the 1TB Time Capsule last month for me and my wife to use for backups. Two days later, I woke up to find that my MacBook hard drive had died with no warning, just before I was to leave on a trip for a week. Biked over to the Apple Store, they replaced the hard drive free under warranty in a half hour, came back home, set Time Capsule to restore from the latest backup, went off to dinner and a play, came home about five hours later and TC was just finishing restoring all the info that'd been on the old drive. I lost no information and it was a breeze. I used to back up to CD once or twice a month, and my wife never did; if this had happened before TC, I'd have lost more than a week of important work.

Everything seems to be working fine with TC -- the backup just happens every hour for a few minutes, I never have to think about it (nor does my wife) and we both feel a lot more secure now. Since TC has far more capacity than our two laptops, I'm also planning to use it to store music from CDs that I'll then sell. The whole process couldn't be simpler, and I can now vouch for its reliability. Whew!

Posted by: brett | April 30, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I use a Belkin USB hub and have a Lacie USB external HDD plugged into it (amongst many other things). Works like a dream with Time machine. The Belkin program is very slick and it simply connects up to the hub on every boot. The only problem I have is, (seeing as nothing is visibly plugged into the machine) I keep forgetting to eject the drive before I shut down.

Posted by: Alan Downes | April 30, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Got bless Apple for its job, but Time Machine and an external hard drive is the best and inough solution.

With Best Regards from Estonia! :-)

Posted by: iMax | April 30, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

" a single-Mac home, Time Capsule is probably overkill "

I agree with this comment. The Apple store listened to what I had to say and then said that what i wanted was not Time Capsule but a Little Lacie HD and use Time Machine. Do not over buy.

Works like a charm on a firewire connection.

i appreciated the Apple store honesty.

Posted by: Jean le Chasseur | April 30, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm not tech savy at all and this is the first computer I've owned since I swore off of them when I had the Commodore Vic-20! Time capsule is excellent except it fills my hard drive 750gb way too quickly. It would be nicer if we could switch to weekly back-ups instead of hourly otherwise it works like its suppose to even had to retrieve lost phots on a crashed Aperture and found all of them and some extinct emails. I had problems with video on 3X30 inch monitors but time capsule has worked as well as it was suppose to!!

Posted by: Dr. Cliff Leachman | April 30, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I have three Macs backed up on a 1TB Time Capsule. Love it.I come home in the evening, plug in, and all of the day's work is safely stored.
Question: I am screwing up my courage to replace the MacBook Pro hard drive with a larger one...by putting new drive in place, loading Leopard, giving Mac the same name, then asking Time Capsule to restore. Anyone else tried it?

Posted by: Ed Hart | April 30, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Re: Ed Hart's post regarding a new drive...I did just that with my iMac. The drive was over three years old and starting to show errors. I bought a new one, installed Leopard and said yes when it asked if I wanted to restore from Time Machine. All went without a single hitch! Good Luck!

Posted by: Tommy Jackson | April 30, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I replaced my first Airport station with the TC. TC worked OK for a brief period but it gets pretty hot and I am rather concerned leaving it running all the time. In fact, the thing dropped dead without any warning while I was working on my iMac. It was fortunately I was able to get it up and running after doing a complete reset.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 30, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

On the subject of file backup, sharing and storage ...

Online backup is becoming common these days. It is estimated that 70-75% of all PC's will be connected to online backup services with in the next decade.

Thousands of online backup companies exist, from one guy operating in his apartment to fortune 500 companies.

Choosing the best online backup company will be very confusing and difficult. One website I find very helpful in making a decision to pick an online backup company is:

http://www.BackupReview.info

This site lists more than 400 online backup companies in its directory and ranks the top 25 on a monthly basis.

Posted by: Jennifer | April 30, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Just today I sent my Time Capsule into a data center so I could back up to it with Time Machine from anywhere I am. It's also nice knowing that my data is safe outside of my house.

I used Macminicolo.net for their "Transport" service.

Posted by: Michael | May 1, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I recently bought the 1 TB drive to handle a home setup of 1 G5 (the Time Capsule is hooked up by ethernet) and three laptops (my wife's own machine, plus our two work laptops). Despite some minor hitches (I used the TC to replace an old linksys router and some software updating was needed to get it to talk to devices like the airport express already on the network) set up was significantly faster and less annoying than getting the linksys-based wireless network up in the first place and network administration has since been far easier.

Plus we get painless, regular backup. We've only had the device a month, but so far it has actually exceeded my expectations. I would highly recommend it.

regards, Mark

Posted by: Mark | May 1, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Could anyone advise what is the equivalent of time machine in window desktop world ?

Posted by: Michael Tsui | May 1, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I use an Airport Extreme with an external hard drive. It works great. With this setup you can back up over USB if you want to. You have to start the initial backup in wireless mode, but after it finishes the first few megabytes, you can select "stop backing up" and then hook the hard drive directly into the computer and restart backing up. That way it only takes a few hours for the initial backup. Occasionally wireless backups fail, but restarting them fixes the problem. Once it got stuck at 9.8 MB (Which sounds like the problem a lot of people have been having with TC). I simply plugged it in via USB and it finished the stubborn backup. Then I plugged it back into the airport and it's been fine ever since. Other problems can be caused by corrupt internet config preferences (just find and delete com.apple.internetconfig), and wireless interference from your neighbors' wifi (try switching to n-only mode).

Posted by: John Dewar | May 1, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I bought a 500 mg Time Capsule 5 weeks ago and it has yet to perform a backup for my PowerBook G4 running Leopard. Emails and phone calls and reading Apple's support pages (if you want to see complaints, go there) have yielded a "go to the Apple Store and the Genius Bar can either fix or replace it". Well, that's good advice and I expect will be a workable solution, but the closest Apple Store is 140 miles from me so I haven't taken this step yet. I've owned Macs since the mid 1980's and this is the first time I've EVER been disappointed in a product, its performance, or Apple's help. I truly believe this is a "blip on the scope", but if that's all it is, why is it so hard to get a solution?

Posted by: s lee | May 1, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

!!!!!!!!!!*******(SHUT UP S-H-U-T U-P SHUT UP

Posted by: CHEYMIMBEREA | May 1, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

!!!!!!!!!!*******(SHUT UP S-H-U-T U-P SHUT UP) TIME POSTED 5:38

Posted by: CHEYMIMBEREA | May 1, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Backup solutions have been available for Windows PCs for a very long time; you can try the excellent Syncback for free for manual backups of work files or the paid version for a fully automatic solution - well worth the small amount of money. As for system files, System Restore has been available for a while and does a good job, just remember to harden Windows XP and Vista's many other weak points, particularly the boot sector.

Time machine and Time capsule are just fancy words for "easy and automatic whole system backup"; does it sound nicer? Sure; does the marketing gibberish make it magical? No.

What if you have many Mac PCs (yes, Macs are PCs, get over it) and all the info will not fit in the Time Capsule hard drive, even with additional external hard drives attached? Currently the only way to backup selective work folders seems to be a goofy process of excluding everything you don't want; a software revision with more options is needed so it actually "just works".

Posted by: S | May 2, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Tommy Jackson
Thanks for the encouragement, Tommy. I should have mentioned that I use Boot Camp. Was that your situation and, if so, did it work? Time Capsule appears to have preserved everything on the PC drive, too, so I wonder if that will work if I partition the new drive?

Posted by: Ed Hart | May 2, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I also picked up a time capsule in March and it works like a charm. I'm a Tech Engineer for a major internet company and continue to find the device wonderfully hands-off. It just works. I'm using it on two late-model apple laptops (a MacBook Pro from early 2008 and a MacBook from the same era) as well as an older AlumBook G4 from 2004. All 3 work flawlessly each and every time on our 500gb unit. My only disappointment was that it only allows USB2 external disks and I have a 2004-issued Lacie D2 disk that's firewire 400/800 only.

Posted by: DROCK3800 | May 2, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

nTr6Ql doors2.txt;6;6

Posted by: YXRuAlSbHBD | May 2, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Had the printer hookup problem mentioned above briefly with my one TB Time Capsule but, after uninstalling the software and reinstalling with everything hooked up and turned on, has worked like a charm. Even better, when my nine month old MacBook's hard drive died and had to be replaced, took only two steps to duplicate the drive: install Leopard, reboot with TC attached. Absolutely flawless. Took 14 hours to transfer 140GB wirelessly (since I couldn't use ethernet), but happened without any need for human intervention.

Have only recently moved from the PC world where I never had such a smooth transition after a drive replacement. With the PC, even with good backups, had to reinstall each program individually, update the program online where my DVD was not the latest version, then add the old data files. Could take days -- truly painful. The TM/TC combo is awesome.

Posted by: Logan | May 6, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey nice article and nicer comments. Anyone can really get a good idea of the pros and cons of TC.

I just bought one (that I hope doesn't fail because I live in Venezuela and a friend brought it from the US) and I had some minor issues with the initial backup of my desktop and laptop that are behind me now.

The real problem I have right now is some annoying interference with my bluetooth mighty mouse. Everytime TM starts backing up my mouse (pointer) becomes slow and slaggy. I've read about a solution but I can't apply it because I have a PC that can't connect to a 802.11n only network.

Do you have any idea of how to solve this?

Thanks for the help and great comments!

Posted by: Juan González | May 7, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I bought an Apple Extreme Base Station and a 500GB Seagate drive for $99. They work really great. I connected my new Macbook Pro overnight with GB ethernet and i had it backed up. Later, smaller updates are smooth over the wireless. Sometimes with a hickup, i connect the ethernet cable. I added my old Powerbook 12" with it and it works great too. Worry less life now.

Posted by: Muthu | May 8, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I am a hardcore Apple fan, but my Time Capsule has been a huge disappointment so far, because it is incredibly, tediously slow, whatever I do. Anxiously waiting for the software and firmware updates!

Posted by: Ron T | May 16, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I started with a new 3.06 Imac and a 500gb Time Capsule. Worked fair for the first 10 days then major problems. Never could get it to mount that one again. Swapped it for a new 1TB version and tried to get it to do the initial over a ethernet cable. The thing loaded 11bg overnight and locked up the imac entirely...had to do a hard shutdown. The time on the imac even locked up! Terrible product, nice idea.

Posted by: Rodney | May 19, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Well....the Memorial Day weekend gave me time to change out my MacBook hard drive to a larger model. I installed the OS on the new drive, then connected to the TimeCapsule via ethernet to restore. A few things were missed, but easily fixed. Very easy process, but I would love to see, from Apple, a full description of how this procedure should be done. As Tim pointed out, I always had he assurance that I could put my old drive back in should things have gone badly.
Thank a vet today!
Best,
Ed Hart

Posted by: Ed Hart | May 26, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

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