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davidf

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I am about to purchase a Time Capsule to use with my MacBook to do day-to-day backups of my work.

My question is, what happens in the future when I have to replace my current Macbook with a new machine. I transfer / migrate all my files etc. from my current machine to the new machine, but what happens when the new computer links to the Time Capsule ? Does it continue as before ; does it consider it a new computer and start backing up afresh; does it "archive" the original files and back-up the new computer to the "spare" space on the hard drive ?

 

I just want to know what to expect - it might alter what capacity time capsule I purchase.

 

Any guidance would be appreciated.

 

DavidF

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Time Capsule is intended to be able to keep backups for several Macs at the same time, without confusing them. So, without actually having tried what you plan, I would expect Time Machine/Capsule to treat your new computer as exactly that, and make a new backup for it.

 

I can think of two things that might change that, slightly, but I'm speculating in absence of experience...

First, if you Name your new Mac with the same name as the old one, it might think it's the same machine (Time Capsule may not care about the name, though, and might use a h/w identification such as the Ethernet's MAC address.) Either way, Time Machine would see it as a different disk, and treat all your files as needing a new back, so it would still copy everything again.

 

If you migrate to your new Mac by restoring your old Time Machine backup from the Time Capsure, TM might treat it as the same machine and same set of files for continued incremental backups. The only time I have tried to restore an entire machine from a TM backup, I did it to the same Mac it originally came from. In that case TM continued incremental backups from there. I don't know how it would work out using a different Mac.

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Time Capsule is intended to be able to keep backups for several Macs at the same time, without confusing them. So, without actually having tried what you plan, I would expect Time Machine/Capsule to treat your new computer as exactly that, and make a new backup for it.

 

I can think of two things that might change that, slightly, but I'm speculating in absence of experience...

First, if you Name your new Mac with the same name as the old one, it might think it's the same machine (Time Capsule may not care about the name, though, and might use a h/w identification such as the Ethernet's MAC address.) Either way, Time Machine would see it as a different disk, and treat all your files as needing a new back, so it would still copy everything again.

 

If you migrate to your new Mac by restoring your old Time Machine backup from the Time Capsure, TM might treat it as the same machine and same set of files for continued incremental backups. The only time I have tried to restore an entire machine from a TM backup, I did it to the same Mac it originally came from. In that case TM continued incremental backups from there. I don't know how it would work out using a different Mac.

 

Time Capsule will not pick right from where your last machine left off even though it is called the same. This also applies if your computer gets a motherboard replacement. Time Capsule hides some NIC (network interface card) information about the computers that it backs up in the sparse disk bundle images. So what does this mean in English you might ask? It means that there is a MAC address for each hardware interface that your computer has, example: en0 & en1, the first being the wired ethernet port and the second being the wireless card if your computer has one, this also may include en2 and so on for firewire port as Macs can get on local network and internet that way as well. So no matter if your Mac is wireless in the living room or sitting next to the router plugged directly in via ethernet, the Time Capsule backs it up as a single machine as it recognizes the network data associated with the hardware in your machine. You will have to start your backups from scratch with a new Mac, but transfer of your old data to your new Mac is super easy. Upon initial startup of the shiny new Mac, find the option where you can restore from your Time Machine backup. At that point in time Migration Assistant will take the backup that you have on Time Capsule and "restore" that backup to your new machine. Whola, and you're done. Painless process. Also note that you need to be wired in using a Cat5e patch cable. Let Time Machine do it's thing and in a few hours or less you're in business.

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I am about to purchase a Time Capsule to use with my MacBook to do day-to-day backups of my work.

My question is, what happens in the future when I have to replace my current Macbook with a new machine. I transfer / migrate all my files etc. from my current machine to the new machine, but what happens when the new computer links to the Time Capsule ? Does it continue as before ; does it consider it a new computer and start backing up afresh; does it "archive" the original files and back-up the new computer to the "spare" space on the hard drive ?

 

I just want to know what to expect - it might alter what capacity time capsule I purchase.

 

Any guidance would be appreciated.

 

DavidF

 

The old sparse disk bundle image of the first Mac or any Mac that has backed up successfully will reside on the Time Capsule. You can treat the TC as a mere NAS (networked attached storage) device. It is simply a file server. If you want to allow access to files and folders for anybody on the local network, those permissions can be granted provided that they are on the network and know the login credentials for accessing the files on the internal 500 or 1TB hard drive. When you connect the new Mac to the TC, the old file will stay on there until you delete it. I would leave it there for several months just for safety, You never know when you need to recover a file from your old system. You can continue to fill up the TC with TM backups and general file storage, (iPhoto or iTunes server for example) until the drive is filled up. I have the 500GB model as that was what I could afford at the time. The TC can have a larger SATA hard drive in it. It is simply a matter of disassembling the TC and replacing the hard drive with a new one once you clone the old HDD to the new HDD via Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner. There are instructions on the net on how to upgrade the TC hard drive. They can better explain that process better than I can here. To "future proof" your investment, I'd go with the 1TB model especially if you have multiple Macs backing up to it and you decide to turn the TC into a general file server. It will fill up quickly.

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