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Using Time Machine to Backup to an SMB or Windows Share - Leopard

posted Apr 15, 2010, 12:44 PM by David Eagle   [ updated May 13, 2010, 5:39 AM ]
UPDATE: THERE IS A BUG IN SNOW LEOPARD THAT IS MAKING THIS PROCESS UNRELIABLE
After working a few times successfully, you get a '-36 error, can't copy'. Apparently, the version 10.6.5 update will address this issue, until then, you can't backup reliably to an SMB (windows) share. I haven't tried this to an AFP share.

In Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), the old method of creating a sparsebundle "drive" on a remote SMB share that you mount in Time Machine no longer words. Below is the solution to how to use Time Machine to backup to an SMB or Windows Share on the network.

  • Open Terminal.app
  • Create a disk image named the same as your machine's computer name (not sure that this is crucial; you can find it in System Preferences » Sharing). This example is for a 500GB (max size) image for a machine named snowy: 
                hdiutil create -size 500G -fs HFS+J -volname 'Time Machine Backups' -type SPARSEBUNDLE snowy.sparsebundle
  • Create a new text file, and copy and paste the below code (everything between #### and ####), inserting your machine's hardware UUID in the noted spot (replace the bold text with your UUID copy and pasted from System Profiler-- you can find your hardware UUID in System Profiler.app. Save the file on your Desktop as com.apple.TimeMachine.MachineID.plist.
 ####
  <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
    <key>com.apple.backupd.HostUUID</key>
    <string>YOURUUIDHERE</string>
</dict>
</plist>
####
  • Copy this newly created com.apple.TimeMachine.MachineID.plist file into your disk image directory:
 cp ~/Desktop/com.apple.TimeMachine.MachineID.plist snowy.sparsebundle/

  • Copy your disk image file to your mounted backup drive (on the network or another external SMB share.
  • Open Time Machine Preferences. Click "select disk," and your share where you put your sparsebundle file should be available. Select the share, authenticate access, click OK. Unmount the drive where the sparsebundle file is and then you should be all set to go.
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