How To Use Time Machine with Windows Home Server

Blogger Jeremy Jones has a Mac Mini, MacBook and a MacBook Pro and shows us how to back them all up using iTimeMachine to Windows Home Server.

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  1. It’s worth noting (before you go and buy a 1 TB hard drive to upgrade your main WHS drive), that this has some major pitfalls… in terms of stability.

    In order to get Leopard out the door, Apple neutered Time Machine’s official support for AirPort Disk and SMB (Windows) shares. The former has been replaced with Apple’s Time Capsule and the latter has underlying Samba bugs.

    Time Machine doesn’t crash… unless you’re backing up on a Windows share. And, restoring a full backup using the Leopard disc is not a sure thing, you’ll probably have to copy the image to another hard drive.

    Finally, be sure to update to 10.5.2 if you are going to give this a go. While I haven’t tested it with my WHS box yet (I plan to shortly), I have heard much more positive remarks about this process… though, Apple still has it disabled citing stability problems.

  2. Boss says:

    Major pitfalls… in terms of stability! YES Indeed!

    Jaymz’s blog article pointed out, “You can only copy files smaller than the available free space on the initial DATA volume at any given time.” etc…

    Why would anyone want to backup to WHS, when in fact,
    KB 946676 states data corruption occurs without any work around?

    Doesn’t data corruption defeat the whole purpose here or is it in that those backing up to WHS just don’t care about their data? I suppose these fanboy’s don’t mind playing Russian Roulette with their own documents, photos, videos, digital music and backup images?

    How about fixing the data corruption flaw? When, if ever?
    Why is there no updates regarding this serious data corruption issue?

    Even HP is WARNING it’s customers the following,

    “You should not directly open and/or edit files that are stored on the MediaSmart Server while doing any other activity such as large data transfers or media streaming. If you are doing a large data transfer or streaming and need to edit a file on the server, you should first copy the file over to a PC and then open it for editing.

    There are a few key applications that Microsoft has identified that can cause this issue when files are opened and edited directly from the server. However to be safe, HP recommends that you not open/edit files directly from the server until this fix is delivered.”

    WHS is a joke, because it claims to protect your data, but at the same time it’s the reason and fault behind the actions of causing your data to become corrupted!

    You don’t need WHS just to backup your data anyhow.

  3. Chris Mayer says:

    I have been trying to achieve this without success for a long time now.

    On 10.5.1 I could start the backup, but it would always fail on the first backup about 2/3rds of the way through.

    Now on 10.5.2 Time Machine failes to even create the backup volume.

  4. Robert says:

    This solution, iTimeMachine, is very limited in its ability to perform TimeMachine backups consistently. Apple will address the issue of backing up on a SMB network eventually so in my opinion it is matter of when, not if.

  5. John says:

    Don’t bother yourself with WHS. If you think about how long the WHS Drive Extender data corruption flaw has been around, it’s been about a year now and still no resolution offered by Microsoft.

    It’s cheaper and safer just to backup to an external USB hard drive using such software like Acronis True Image. Fast, encrypted (AES 256 bit) and with many advantages over WHS, such as universal restore to new hardware, and restoring without the Windows operating system booted up. Laptops don’t require additional battery backup devices like WHS does to offer the same level of UPS insurance. WHS has none!

    Another drawback to WHS is that you’ve got to be a Windows only family (proprietary protocols, codecs and NTFS) as examples…

    WHS is like Vista, as they both suck. 🙁

  6. Casey says:

    WHS Drive Extender Technology totally sucks! Because, I’ve got WHS setup with 500gb, 400gb & 320gb drives in it, on an CyberPower Gamer Infinity 8800 Pro SE with 2GB PC6400 DDR2/800 RAM. I am still finding that it spends way too much time balancing its storage to the extent that it affects the performance of WHS media streaming.

    So poor streaming, file sharing and this data corruption bug leaves no real value left to use WHS. I don’t see how $$$ WHS v2 is going to be any better either.

  7. Kim says:

    I pulled this snippet on storage from Paul Thurrot’s site:

    On the server-side, WHS finally does away with drive letters. “No-one gets drive letters in Windows Home Server,” Headrick said. “They’d just forget where they put stuff.” Instead, WHS aggregates all of the storage attached to the server into a single store pool, regardless of whether that storage is internal, external, or a combination. As you add drives to the server, the available storage pool simply increases.

    I asked whether this technology was based on DFS (Distributed File System), but Headrick told me that this was, in fact, yet another example of new software out of Microsoft Research. Data is mirrored at the shared folder level, so that two copies of a folder are always stored on two different physical hard drives. …Of course, the backups are written in a proprietary data format.

  8. Larry Miles says:

    Finally, WHS documentation specifically requires that users hard-wire the server to the host! Wireless connectivity isn’t supported by WHS officially.

    So what’s the point when your told, “Don’t back up your files to Windows Home Server”, as recommended by Microsoft themselves?

    More Proof: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9054178

    A large amount of Microsoft’s profit, in my opinion, comes from selling unfinished software, and then getting money for “upgrades”.

  9. Don says:

    Here’s another example of an unfinished software product by Microsoft. It’s called Windows Vista which was reported by “theregister.co.uk” to take 131+ years to just copy 168 MB of pictures!


    Ok, 168 MB is 168*1024*1024 = 176,160,768 bytes.

    A Commodore 64’s floppy disk, the 1541 runs at 300 baud. So that’s 176160768/300 = 587203 seconds for an equivalent copy. That’s 9786 minutes, or 163.1 hours. That’s 6.796 days.

    The same copy will take Vista 131 years. That’s 47815 days.

    That means that a Commodore 64 w. 1541 drive is roughly 47815/6.796 = 7036 times faster than Windows Vista.

    Now, for a human number. An average typist gets about 50-70 wpm according to wiki. [wikipedia.org] So we’ll call the average 60wpm. Seems reasonable. That’s 60*5 = 300 characters per minute. Since a C64 moves data at 300 characters per second, we can say that a human typist is 60 times slower than the Commodore 64. That means that a human typist is 7036/60 = 117 times faster than a Vista file copy.

    WHS isn’t any better, by the way. The chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.

  10. Tony says:

    This just doesn’t work for me. It’s a nice try but I’ve never been able to successfully backup. Until Apple can come up with a networked solution that doesn’t require their proprietary hardware to backup I’m just going to keep my important data on the Windows side of the universe.

  11. Wayne says:

    Data Corruption was fixed in the power pack.

    ‘Why would anyone want to backup to WHS, when in fact,
    KB 946676 states data corruption occurs without any work around?”

  12. Tony says:

    Wow, talk about a bunch of MS bashing drivel. I am not biased towards Microsoft or towards Apple. I have both, and like them each for what they can do.

    As for WHS, it is probably one of the best products they have ever released, in my own PERSONAL opinion. The price was very low, and it does exactly what it was meant to do.

    It consistently, and without fail, goes out and backs up every windows computer on the network every night, both wired and wireless. And the wireless is a media center computer recording tv. I’ve had two computers go up in smoke in the last year thanks to power supplies, and both times the WHS backups were there to save the day.

    Microsoft has fixed the data corruption bug quite some time ago (after many of these posts). They took their sweet time about it, but the claimed repeatedly that they wanted to get it right. And, amazingly enough, they did. At least they admitted it was a problem and that they were working on it.

    Now if Apple would just admit that they have a serious flaw with their ‘N’ cards being compatible with major brands like DLink, and tell us they were working on it, instead of the constant silence that they are so well known for. /sigh

  13. Radek says:

    Thank you tony , nice comment.

  14. Kelly says:

    Philip, this link is dead.

  15. Hi Kelly – Link Updated.

  16. tim says:

    hello all THIS IS NO LOGER ANY GOOD.


  17. MacGuru says:

    I figured it out!

    All you have to do is format the drive as HFS+, install MacDrive so that windows can access it, share it via SMB sharing, then use the guide on this page


    to create the sparsebundle file!, now it works like a charm!, backing up now!

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