Last week, I finally turned on the Time Machine in Mac OS X Leopard (now 10.5.2). Before I started using it, I chose to partition my external hard drive to limit the amount of space that Time Machine was going to use. I first had to copy my existing files to another location before the partition, since doing so erases all of the data on that drive. My internal drive is a mere 80 GB, so I capped my Time Machine partition on the external at 110 GB. That should be more than enough. After I completed the partitioning, I turned on the Time Machine. I dragged what Macworld called the “cartoonishly large slider” into the ON position.
The first backup of my data took quite a while. It had to back up around 30 GB and it took most of the night, around 8 hours or so. Fortunately, only the original backup would take anywhere near that long.
I have to say I am impressed. I am now getting my full money’s worth out of my Leopard upgrade. Time Machine works exactly as advertised, running seamlessly in the background. Now, after a week of backups, I can “travel back in time” as I flip through my folders and files. So cool! I think Time Machine could use a lot more options, though. I don’t like that it wants to back up every hour, take-it-or-leave-it. I don’t want my external drive spinning up and down all the time. I have my music library on the adjacent partition of that drive, and I don’t want it wearing out faster than it should.
Fortunately, you can download a free app that will give you more control. No installation is necessary, either. The app is called TimeMachineEditor and it allows you to easily change the intervals of the backups, without using the Terminal. Using the editor, I changed my backup interval to every six hours. Give it a try, it’s great.