So, you were all happy that the new HP MediaSmart home servers finally gave you a choice other than the anti-trust Time Capsule to do backups remotely… in the home. And, you are now ready to run out and buy one, blindfolds on to any compatibility issues.
Sorry, I once again have to burst your bubble.
The folks at mswhs.com found HP’s white paper on the new HP MediaSmart servers. I’ll quote the most depressing line: “Note that the “Restore System from Backup” feature of Time Machine is not implemented.”
What that means is, while you can restore individual files that were accidentally deleted… you cannot recover a Mac from a catastrophic failure (won’t boot, lost, stolen, damaged, defective, etc).
And, while the white paper doesn’t say why… I know why, and I’ll tell you. See, what HP did to enable Time Machine to work with Windows Home Server (WHS), was to patch the way WHS handles SMB stores. Then, on the Mac, they tweak a few settings to override Apple’s backup restrictions. This allows the Mac to see SMB file shares (like, WHS file shares), and then HP’s intermediary on the Mac mounts the special patched SMB file share mount.
And, if you’re running Mac OS X 10.5.5 or later, that works great. The problem is, the Mac OS X install/restore disc is not using 10.5.5. It’s usually at 10.5.0. Worse, HP can’t patch the install disc to “see” the Windows Home Server anyways.
There is a workaround, what HP would have to do is slipstream their patches onto the Mac OS X disc. That’s really complicated, and well, they’d have to hire someone… like me… to write a utility that would let someone insert a Mac OS X install/restore disc, and then a blank DVD, and create a custom restore disc that would work with Windows Home Server.
Will I do it? Sorry, I don’t have time. But, if HP wants to hire MechaWorks to do the consulting on it… I’m sure something can be arranged…
Another workaround that I’ve come up with would be to copy the Time Machine store to a Mac-formatted hard drive, once you need to do a full system restore. That would allow the restore disc to see it. I’m surprised HP doesn’t document this solution as being a supported workaround… it certainly would save a lot of users frustration when they realize they can’t do a full system restore (and then HP tells them it isn’t possible, when it in fact is).
Have you tried the workaround you listed (copying to a mac formatted drive)?
I would be interested to know if anyone has done it successfully.
I haven’t tested it on a MediaSmart server, but this is the Apple-conceptualized workaround.
On a normal Mac, Time Machine builds Time Machine backups in a folder. However, when on a non-HFS+ drive, Time Machine builds a sparse disk image, and puts the Time Machine backup inside of it.
Luckily, the Mac OS X Installer detects the sparse disk images when at the root level of a drive, and mounts them accordingly. As such, by copying the sparse disk image from the MediaSmart, to a Mac hard drive (say, a USB hard drive for the sake of this discussion), then it should work.
Bottom line is that it will work, so long as the MediaSmart does the Time Machine backup properly in the first place. Considering HP is promoting this feature so much, I don’t doubt that it does backup properly.
Hopefully by now you know that a full bare metal restore of a Mac is possible:
How to find and download the updates if you have an older MediaSmart server here: