Using Time Machine in OS X

Users of Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 (or above) operating system have the option of using Time Machine with an external hard drive. Time Machine is an easy-to-use and completely automated incremental backup for your computer. This page covers getting a drive setup to work with it. For usage instructions use the Help menu on your computer and search for Time Machine.

Using A New Hard Drive

As soon as OS X detects an external hard drive attached, it immediately asks if you would like to use it with Time Machine.

TimeMachine1

Clicking Use as Backup Disk will automatically enable Time Machine and begin the initial backup of your computer. You can also tell it was successful because your hard drive icon has inherited the Time Machine icon.

TMicon

Using An Existing Hard Drive

If you've previously declined to use your external hard drive for Time Machine and now have changed your mind, you can enable it via the Time Machine System Preference.

  1. From the Apple Menu, open System Preferences... locate the Time Machine icon and click it.
    TimeMachine2
  2. Click Choose Backup Disk...
    TimeMachine3
  3. Select your disk and then click Use for Backup. Clicking Use for Backup will automatically enable Time Machine and begin the initial backup of your computer.

    TimeMachine4

Caveats

Time Machine is only intended as a backup & data recovery service for the computer it is installed on. If you get a new computer that is a different model, Time Machine may restore the entire operating system to it, but due to differences in hardware, your new computer may not boot or have problems with some of its features. CTS does not support restoring a Time Machine backup to a new computer.