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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Time Machine with Multiple Drives (2 drives at two locations)

Time Machine with Multiple Drives (2 drives at two locations)
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vwgtiturbo
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Oct 30, 2007, 02:10 PM
 
I read that Time Machine could be set up to use multiple drives, for the purpose of off-site backups. I was wondering...
When I am at home and connect my first Time Machine drive, I set it up and it mounts to the desktop, the icon is the correct green/blue TM icon, and the Sys Pref pane for TM shows the drive as good to go. Backups proceed as normal.
However, when I am at work and connect my second Time Machine drive, it also mounts to the desktop, the icon is the correct green/blue TM icon, and the Sys Pref pane for TM shows the drive as good to go. But, when TM is scheduled to run, it fails with a 'Drive not found' error (it's looking for my home drive, I suppose?). Now, if I manually 'Change Drive' and select the new drive, it works.
The odd thing is that when I get home, I have to manually 'Change Drive' again, as it will give me a 'Drive not Found' error (I guess it is now looking for the drive at work). Is this something that you have to do manually every time you connect different drives?
Man, I nifty menu-bar app/shortcut would be snazzy for this...
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schalliol
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Oct 30, 2007, 10:40 PM
 
I too am looking for an ability to do this. It doesn't seem that there's an option to select multiple points for time machine. This scenario is common, a laptop at home and at work, so it would be nice to see a way to make this function.
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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Oct 30, 2007, 11:04 PM
 
Yes, this is an odd one. I have a Macbook that I use at home and take to work (with an external drive at each location), and this is messy. I just got home, plugged in my home external drive, changed the drive, and for some reason, it is not even starting any more. Geez... So, beyond the scope of the original discussion, is there a way to manually force Time Machine to start?
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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Oct 30, 2007, 11:47 PM
 
http://rondeagle.com/mac.stuff/time....t.starting.png

Odd... It never shows that a 'Next' backup is going to take place (as referenced with the above pic). HOWEVER, if I select another drive, let TM set it up, then go in and change the drive again BACK to the original TM drive, it counts down like it is going to back up, but then nothing happens. It just returns to the pic above.

Sometimes I HATE being an early adopter...
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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Oct 31, 2007, 01:28 AM
 
Okay, well... Time Machine is broken now. It SAYS that it is performing backups, but I created some test files to make sure, and they were not backed up.
Honestly, I don't think TM is made to handle multiple drives (across multiple locations).
It's time for me to downgrade back to Tiger until they get TM and iCal sorted out (among others). At least Tiger worked well...
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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Oct 31, 2007, 11:55 PM
 
Okay, it seems that I am partly an idiot. When I would connect the second external drive, the 'Next Backup' would say '-----' so I thought something was wrong. Well, the computer needs to be plugged in for TM to work. After plugging it in, everything is golden, and TM is now scheduling the backups properly. Now, if I can get my iCal woes to go away, we may be onto something...
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kman42
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Nov 1, 2007, 12:00 AM
 
You mean plugged in to power? Why would that be necessary? It handles interruptions well.

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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Nov 2, 2007, 07:28 PM
 
I think being plugged into power is required just to prevent the system from dieing in the middle of the backup... not sure, though.
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schalliol
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Nov 5, 2007, 10:51 PM
 
Bringing the topic back, is there any way to use time machine in two locations with two drives? It seems like a common need.
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schalliol
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Nov 16, 2007, 10:26 AM
 
I still can't find a good way to use TM at both locations, anyone else?
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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Nov 16, 2007, 12:48 PM
 
Well, it seems that the only option is to go into the System Preferences>Time Machine, and 'Change Disk'. Select the newly attached TM drive, and let it do it's thing. Garbage... What I would like to do (man, if I could only program!) is have a tiny app that sits in the menu bar, and when I fire up the system at the new location (with the different drive connected), click the icon in the menu bar. When clicked, a drop down list would appear, showing both drives. When I select one, it would do the work of 'Change Disk'. I can't believe that they didn't think of that... Hell, it would be really nice to be able to script it based on the time of day (i.e. at 7am, while at work, check to see if the TM volume is mounted. If so, change the TM disk to the mounted disk , and after 5pm, while at home, check to see if the home TM volume is mounted. If so, change the disk, etc...). I guess this idea would be based on time and HAL events (or whatever automounting setup OS X uses, I am not familiar enough with it...).

IDEA: what about using Do Something When? Name each TM drive something unique, then have it run in the background. Set up two rules (based on both TM drives). Created two Automator apps or shell scripts to 'Change Disk' (I haven't found yet how to do this). Based on what is mounted, have DSW run the appropriate Change Disk app/script. Man, I need some terminal resources for Time Machine...
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denpet
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Nov 17, 2007, 02:30 AM
 
Can you confirm that changing disk is in fact working. I.e. not only look like it does, but also maintain backups properly.
AFAIK time machine keeps track of changed files to backup, once they are backed up, I guess, it "forgets" about the list of files and starts on a new one. That should mean that changes made between disconnecting disk1 and connecting disk2 will be backed up on disk2, but these will then never be backed to disk1 when connected back to again.
I.e. TM can't handle two disks unless it's designed to, which it seem not to be. Am I wrong here?
     
vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Nov 17, 2007, 03:25 AM
 
I can confirm that it SEEMS to work properly with two disks. I have created files on the disk at work and at home, and everything works as far as restoring properly, etc.
I am not positive, but it MUST keep a record of files to move (that have changed) or else the backups would definitely NOT be as quick as they are.
Wait... I read your post again... Using the disk1/disk2 analogy, here's how it seems to work for me. Whether it's right or not, or good or bad, I don't know.
The changes in the analogy don't seem to happen like the example. What happens in my case is that the files that are changed since disconnecting disk1 are moved to disk1 the next time I attach it. Same thing happens with disk2... This may result in my backups taking a little bit longer, and some files get transferred twice, but it does seem to work. It also results in two close copies of the backups, instead of one copy being a bit behind the other (if I am thinking of this correctly...).
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schalliol
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Dec 7, 2007, 02:10 PM
 
This doesn't seem to work very well for me in the two locations. Here's the suggestion I made to Apple, of how to deal with this:
Use the same kind of functionality available to auto-sense what printers are available in Leopard depending upon your location. If the backup is available, it will back up to it, and if more than one is available, we could use a 3D view fitting with the existing interface. With two backups, imagine that you have a Y point of view (person is at the base of the Y), you go back in time and then travel right and left to move to a new "cosmic trail" at that point in time. With 3 sources, imagine another trail, etc.
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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Dec 7, 2007, 02:36 PM
 
Wouldn't that require that one actually changes their 'Location', or can you set it up to sense the location based on printers or wireless network availability?
If there were some sort of location autosense, and subsequent backup drive swapping, that would be the bee's knees...
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schalliol
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Dec 7, 2007, 05:18 PM
 
Well, in the existing form, the software checks to see if it's able to connect to the backup volume and does if it can and doesn't if it can't. It seems that it could just see what's available and backup to those that it could and restore from those that are available.
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schalliol
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Dec 7, 2007, 05:22 PM
 
Ooh, I've got it, use cover flow style interface within time machine to flip right and left.
( Last edited by schalliol; Dec 7, 2007 at 05:53 PM. )
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vwgtiturbo  (op)
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Dec 7, 2007, 05:26 PM
 
I fully agree. TM, as it stands, at least can handle multiple backup sets. For that, I am grateful. However, it could use a shot of elegance and maybe even a little sense...
The coverflow idea is great. Do you mean flip right and left between two available backup sets (if both external drives were available)?
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schalliol
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Dec 7, 2007, 05:53 PM
 
I just worked up a crude rendering of an example of my concept:
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schalliol
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Dec 8, 2007, 01:34 AM
 
While we're at it, let's have a Mozy and .mac Backup section for Time Machine with encryption. Certainly this can be done.
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