Author Topic: Backing up Pre-OS X OS's to Time Capsule A1302  (Read 63 times)

Online MacOS Plus

  • Gold Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 330
  • The 9serve Lives!
Backing up Pre-OS X OS's to Time Capsule A1302
« on: February 14, 2018, 10:02:41 AM »
This is partly a suggestion and partly a question.  I'll describe what I'm doing and you guys can see if you can think of any better way:

  I recently found an A1302 Time Capsule/Airport Extreme unit at a thrift store for a couldn't-say-no price.  I decided to take advantage of its built-in Time Capsule disk to facilitate automated backups of my OS X machines so that I wouldn't need to keep a full-fledged computer powered up all the time for the task.  But then I got to wondering about accessing that storage for a similar purpose from OS 9 or earlier machines.

  It seems well established that the Time Capsule cannot be directly connected to as a server by OS 9 due to AFP version conflict.  If there is a direct way to resolve that issue then please let me know.  I wanted to come up with a solution that was completely automated for doing regular backups from my Pre-OS X machines also.  What I've done is the following:

1. Install Personal Backup (macintoshgarden.org/apps/personal-backup) on the older OS's.
2. Mount a shared drive from a 10.5 machine that itself is backed up automatically with Time Machine.
3. Have Personal Backup automatically schedule backups to the shared drive on the 'middle-man' computer, after which that drive will itself be backed up to the Time Capsule with Time Machine.

  The cool thing about Personal Backup is that it can be set up to automatically mount and unmount the OS X shared drive by server IP address and do this on a schedule.  As long as both computers are on at the scheduled time, the first data relay will complete.  The second relay will happen at the next Time Machine scheduled sync.  All of this will happen without any manual involvement.  An added bonus is that the OS X local drive retains a redundant copy of the data such that I'm actually creating two copies of the backup.  If I need to recover files, I don't need to draw from the Time Capsule if the OS X redundant copy is intact.  I can just mount the OS X share from the OS 9 computer and copy back from there.

  It's possible the OS X machine can be set to wake from sleep when the network share is requested such that it can stay in low power mode as often as possible.  I don't know how far back in Mac OS versions you can go and still be able to connect the OS X share on 10.5, but I will experiment given that Personal Backup works on much older OS versions than 9.  It would be great if almost all of my older machines could auto-backup through this same mechanism.  If necessary I could use an older version of OS X on the middle-man machine to extend the share mounting support.

Offline GaryN

  • Platinum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 744
  • active member
Re: Backing up Pre-OS X OS's to Time Capsule A1302
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2018, 04:24:37 PM »
I have a couple of observations.

If you have Personal Backup actually backing up the OS9 volume to a drive, isn't then backing up that drive to the Time capsule redundant?
You say yourself that you end up with two copies of the backup, so what's the point of "backing up the backup"? Sure, it's double security, but that's a different objective and not the point of using the Time Capsule. It seems like personal backup does everything you need in an automated fashion without having to "two-step" the files with Time machine. All you need is an accessible backup drive.

Obviously, this won't work on all older Macs, but if your OS9 machine dual-boots then you can just use Time machine from the OSX side to backup both the OSX files and a separate OS9 volume…

BUT, (and this applies to your two-step scheme as well) this is not a good idea!

Backing up OS9 files and/or volumes with TM is a risky process. TM is designed to backup a primary OSX volume and any other files / volumes owned by that OSX install. It is not intended to be a "universal" backup alternative to other 3rd party backup solutions. It is sensitive to the permissions on every file it backs up and goes to great pains to keep them assigned to "their" OSX volume and owner. This is obviously a requirement to backup multiple computers say, in your household to one Time Capsule or Time Machine drive and keep everything separated and secure. So what happens? It is very possible and very likely that restored OS9 files will appear but they'll be unusable in OS9 because they will have locked permissions that you simply cannot unlock. They will appear unlocked and read/writable by all in OSX but locked read-only in OS9.

How do I know this? How do you think? I found out the hard way. OS9 drive fails / put in new drive / restore from TM / spend ridiculous amount of time hair-pulling and searching for non-existent information about it because nothing works!

Note that this is a weird anomaly caused by differences in ≥OS9 and OSX permissions, so while it almost always happens, other times it might not or only partially, possibly related to file type. Either way, it's no way to make a reliable backup.

There may well be a reason and solution for this that I don't know about but FWIW, I did my damndest to research and fix the issue with zero success. I now use a Time Capsule for all things OSX but I backup my OS9 volume separately with Carbon Copy Cloner.

Online MacOS Plus

  • Gold Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 330
  • The 9serve Lives!
Re: Backing up Pre-OS X OS's to Time Capsule A1302
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2018, 10:40:23 PM »
Thank-you for the insight.  At this point it's just an experiment to try to make more use of an existing asset.  I'm only backing up non-critical things for now as proof of concept.  In the one direction it is working correctly so far.  I will test restoration of the files from the TC soon and verify permissions issues as you've warned about.  If I have to containerize the files first to protect their original state then I will, but I'd prefer to have a way to automate that part of the process also.  Redundancy will actually be a very desirable feature for what I really want to store if and when I move on to more important files.  I've learned the hard way never to trust a single disk or even a single RAID device alone when it comes to irreplaceable files.