Regardless of the operating system, you are running on your computer you should perform a system backup on a regular basis just to be safe. If you have recently started using a Mac or if you have not made a backup up until now, you might want to get familiar with the built-in program which is cleverly called Time Machine.
This is going to work with the Mac as well as an external drive in order to save precious photos, documents, along with other important files. Besides backing up your files, this software will also keep an accurate record of how the system looked when you have made the backup so it is quite easy to do a full system restore.
Prior to getting started, you will want to make sure that the external drive you plan on using is compatible with the Mac. To do this you’ll have to format it with the Mac file format. You should know that Time Machine can be found on all Macs running at least OS 10.5 (aka Leopard). When you select the hard drive, make sure that you pick one of which you have plenty of space so there will be enough room for the backups.
The first step that you need to take is to connect your external drive via FireWire, USB or Thunderbolt. The Mac will most likely recognize the hardware so a pop-up window is going to appear which will ask you if you would like to utilize this external drive to perform a backup by using Time Machine. Once you click on Use as a Backup Disk, the process of performing a full system backup is going to start. You should know that the first time you do this it will take some time (several hours), but from there on the backups will take a lot less due to the reason that the drive is only going to update where there are new files. You should know that if this external hard drive remains connected to the computer all of the time, those scheduled hourly backups will be done in just a few seconds. Keep in mind that by default, in the menu bar you will notice a Time Machine icon which looks just like a clock that has an arrow that is running counter-clockwise. You have the possibility to prevent this icon from appearing if you fiddle with the software’s preferences as well as the System Preferences, whichever you like using.
If the software will not launch automatically, if you would want to set up a wireless Time Capsule or if you have several HDD options, you will have to perform a click on the Time Machine icon which is located in the menu bar. Once you do this a pop-menu is going to be shown and from there you will have to choose Time Machine Preferences, followed by a click on the button called Select Disk. Now, you’ll have to select the drive on which you will want the backups to be saved and after doing this you must highlight it and then click on Use Backup Disk. In the second part of the article, we will be discussing how to configure and customize the backups.