Using Time Machine with a Time Capsule

Q6.  How do I back-up my Time Capsule and/or Air Disk?

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That depends to some extent on what you want to back up, and where it is.


It's generally not a good idea to try to back up your Time Machine backups.  If there's a problem with them, it will be copied to (and perhaps magnified on) the copy.


See  Time Machine FAQ #27  for some suggestions.


Since Time Machine cannot back up your Time Capsule's internal hard drive, or a USB drive connected to it, if you have other data there, you'll need a different method to back up that other data.


In a pinch, you can disconnect a USB drive from your Time Capsule, attach it to your Mac, and copy or back it up that way.

There is a procedure that will let you "archive" the Time Capsule's internal disk to a USB drive connected to it.


But it's not quick;  all users will be disconnected from both the internal HD and the connected USB disk while it's running (but the network will remain usable);  and it's "all or nothing" -- you can only use this procedure to copy the entire contents.


NOTE:  if you have an early version of Airport Utility 6.x, it doesn't have the "archive" button.  But it was returned on version 6.3.  Obtain it from http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1664


Attach a USB drive with at least as much free space as the total amount of data on the Time Capsule's internal HD (see  Time Machine FAQ #5, for formatting instructions).


Turn Time Machine "Off" via Time Machine Preferences.  Stop all processes that may be accessing the Time Capsule's disk.


Then follow this Apple procedure:  Using AirPort Utility 5.3.1 or later to make a copy of the Time Capsule disk.



Once that's done, you can continue backing-up to the USB drive while it's connected to your TC, or directly to your Mac, by selecting it via Time Machine Preferences


If you don't continue to back up to the copied backups, you can still view and restore from them, via the Browse... option, per Time Machine FAQ #17.

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Other options are the CarbonCopyCloner (about $40, 30-day free trial)  or Chronosync (about $40) apps.