A couple of months ago yet another AirPort Express Base Station died on me. Since that was the main device sharing out my Internet connection through the house I decided it was time to move up to an Airport Extreme Base Station. I hoped the more powerful Airport Extreme would provide a better signal.
Time Machine backups by firewire
When Leopard came along I also cleaned up a 300 Gb external hard drive and used it with Time Machine. That worked too, whenever I plugged the hard drive into my MacBook Pro, adding a fourth cable to the tentacles already hanging off it1.
It all worked, but wasn’t terribly satisfactory.
The backups on my MacBook Pro were erratic because they depended on my remembering to plug in the external drive. My partner didn’t have access to my external hard drive for her backups. And although I’ve been trying to keep my MacBook ‘lean and clean’, it also wasn’t part of a backup strategy.
Wireless backups become possible
Then Apple announced Time Capsule, a single device to provide wireless, and including a hard drive that could handle backups of multiple machines via wireless. Our order went in.
Time Capsule setup
A new 1 Terabyte Time Capsule arrived yesterday. I spent a while reading the included booklet and making screenshots of all the settings for the previous Base Station. I installed the software from the included disc.
Then I carefully plugged in the ethernet cable from the cable modem, followed by the power cord — as per the instructions.
Import the settings from the previous device
I didn’t take careful note of the next steps, but it amounted to the software asking if I wanted to import settings from a previous setup. I selected the settings from my previous base station and was done. We were all set up and working.
The first backup
My partner and I both set our respective copies of Time Machine to back up to the new device and left them to work. I’d seen suggestions to do the first full backup via ethernet. Now I think that may have been a good idea. Backing up the two machines simultaneously via wireless took maybe 18 hours for my partner’s MacBook and almost 24 hours for my MacBook Pro.
It didn’t really matter, as were able to continue using the machines during backup, but if you were in a hurry an ethernet connection would be advisable for that first time. Today in fact I backed up my own MacBook’s Home folder only, via a wired connection. It took around an hour.
Physically the Time Capsule has a surprisingly bigger footprint than the Extreme Base Station. It was extremely easy to set up and seems very easy to use so far. I now have a barely-used Extreme Base Station for sale, and an external hard drive I can turn to another purpose. Any offers for the old Base Station?