Windows Home Server & Time Machine Fall Apart

Despite what Microsoft said, Windows Home Server and Leopard Time Machine won’t work together. You cannot use your Windows Home Server shared storage as a backup target for Time Machine. Microsoft had said they were a “great drive share for Time Machine”, so what happened?

Apple killed SMB (Windows Sharing) support for Time Machine, that’s what. So, basically, Time Machine can’t see the Windows Home Server shares… or any other PC drive shares. Support has been scaled back to AFP (Mac OS) file sharing only.

Worst of all, this means you can’t (as Apple announced) use your AirPort Extreme with the USB port as a Time Machine drive. AirPort Extreme, despite being all-Apple, uses SMB for file sharing (hence all the AirPort Disk software on PC and Mac… to sniff out the SMB share).

Insiders in Apple tell me the main reason was bugs… Time Machine crashed like crazy when using SMB. Having tested this, and stared at the constant kernel panics, I can certainly understand that. However, the good news is, AirPort Extreme could prompt Apple to restore this feature, now that Leopard is out, they have some time to fix it.

Of course, you can only help it happen with feedback… I’d advise you hit Apple where it hurts, in their product matrix, and ask for Time Machine to support AirPort Disk mode… the rest will follow naturally.

5 Responses

  1. Mac Leopard and WHS do NOT Play Nicely « MS Windows Home Server
  2. Jon
    Jon March 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm |

    iTimeMachine… check it out. It works great with any version of Windows, including Home Server.

  3. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price March 12, 2008 at 8:25 am |

    iTimeMachine simply tells Time Machine on your Mac to ignore Apple’s whitelist of approved Time Machine storage devices… it does not make those unsupported devices work any better.

    This has to be the number one misconception with iTimeMachine, as everyone thinks it’s a godsend. It’s not, it’s just a program that makes a one-line edit to a settings file, and tells Time Machine to back up to any mounted drive it can.

    Just because Time Machine then says it’s backing up properly to WHS, doesn’t mean it is. And, most of the time, Time Machine will even balk errors out telling you that it isn’t working.

  4. Maximiliam
    Maximiliam July 7, 2009 at 2:16 am |

    I did the following:

    “defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1″
    Type the above in Terminal. That will enable network volumes in time machine. It’s what iTimeMachine did.

    I’m now using my Airport Extreme with a USB hdd for TimeMachine and it is working. I used TimeMachine when I upgraded the hdd in my MacBook.

    I’m also testing to use my WHS as backup, so far no problems.

    BR//Max

  5. Christopher Price
    Christopher Price July 8, 2009 at 12:07 am |

    Maximiliam, the problems occur when you try to restore. With a WHS box, the risk is minimal/non-existent. But, with AirPort Extreme, there is a high risk of write buffers being overrun. AP Extreme, unlike Time Capsule, does not have the technology to go back and re-request packets.

    I’ve run into this bug myself, so I can confirm Apple’s technical rational. Problem is, even if they couldn’t patch the firmware (debatable), they should have made the right business decision and offered people a swap-out program. Instead, they illegally brushed their warranty obligations under the rug.

    Still, your data protections is more important than that. Don’t backup to an AirPort Extreme. It’s just not worth it when you want to do a restore… only to find your files are actually corrupted.

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