“One of the most talked about features in Apple Computer Inc.’s upcoming operating system, Mac OS X 10.5, also known as Leopard, is the built-in backup tool called Time Machine,” Ryan Faas writes for Computerworld.

“Anyone who’s seen Apple’s demos or screenshots of Time Machine can tell that this is not a typical backup application. When you need to access a backup of any file, folder or item tucked away inside a Time-Machine-aware application, you simply select the appropriate window (such as a Finder window of the folder containing the items you need to recover) and then click the Time Machine icon in the dock,” Faas writes.

Faas writes, “The window you initially selected remains on display but with two arrows (backward and forward) next to it and with translucent images of the window disappearing into the background of the screen. Each translucent window indicates a previous-generation backup of the selected folder. Using the arrow keys, you can move back or forth through each backup. As the interface implies, you move backward or forward through the files on your computer based on time.”

“This approach is not only visually amazing — it does look like something out of a science fiction movie — but it is also incredibly intuitive and easy to navigate,” Faas writes. “What is truly remarkable… is that you don’t need to be concerned with where the files are stored. You don’t need to restore the actual files that Address Book uses to keep contacts information. And for many applications, a majority of users don’t know where to find the files anyway, so with traditional backup applications, they wouldn’t be able to restore them. That’s because until now, backup tools have worked only at the file level.

Faas writes, “There is a great deal of reason to be excited about Time Machine. It will truly offer users backup abilities that have so far been limited primarily to larger organizations — and it will do so at only the cost of storage space. More important, it will offer a uniquely easy-to-use backup solution, one that users will be able to access without needing to really think about complicated configurations that have until now been part of traditional backup applications. The fact that this powerful tool will be included free with Leopard puts it at the top of the list of changes coming to Mac OS X — at least among the features announced so far.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: See a QuickTime movie of Time Machine in action here.

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