Time Machine Basics

1. System Requirements   If your Mac OS version number is 10.5.0 or later, your computer is ready to set up and use Time Machine for backups.  Time machine is used to automatically do incremental backups, so it is much less labor intensive than remembering to drag/drop folders, and it saves many more versions of a file.  If your operating system is Mac OS 10.4.11 or earlier, you should schedule a time with HCS to upgrade your operating system so that you can use Time Machine.  Time machine will backup your entire user directory - so should you have a hard drive failure, it is relatively straightforward to move a complete copy of your files, email, photos, iTunes library etc. to a new computer or drive.


2. External Hard Drive   To use Time Machine you'll need an external drive - around 1 GB capacity or more is good.  You'll want to purchase a drive that says it is Mac OS compatible - many drives work with both Mac and Windows and are called dual platform.  If the drive is only for backing up, a USB connection (like the cable you use to connect a mouse to keyboard) is fine.  Drives using a firewire connection are also good it you have a firewire connection to your computer.  If you get a "passport" type drive these are small and portable.  The bookstore sells some drives, but you can also get them at Staples or Costco as well.  Let HCS know if you need help finding a drive.  


3. Connect your external drive to your computer   Use either a Firewire or USB cable (depending what your computer and drive uses), then turn the drive on.  You should see an icon for the drive appear on the desktop.  You should get a dialog asking if you want to use the drive with Time Machine - say yes.  Time machine will begin copying files.



4. Retrieving files    If you are on your dock you should see a TimeMachine icon that you can click on to start the application:




There also should be an icon in the top menu, this will rotate if currently backing up files.

if you rollover the icon, and click on Enter Time Machine you will start the application:




5. Retrieving files    (1) Click on a date to view finder window as it appeared on that date, then (2) click on the file to select it, then

(3) click on Restore button in the bottom right to copy that file to your desktop and to exit Time Machine.  Click Cancel button on left

to quit without restoring and exit Time machine.