Computerworld: Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard’s ‘Time Machine’ is truly remarkable

“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.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple Mac OS X Leopard’s ‘Time Machine’ vs. Microsoft’s ‘System Restore’ – August 07, 2006
Take a ride in Apple Mac OS X Leopard’s ‘Time Machine’ – August 07, 2006
Apple posts Steve Jobs’ WWDC 2006 keynote video – August 07, 2006
Apple previews Mac OS X Leopard featuring Time Machine, Spaces, enhanced Mail & iChat, and more – August 07, 2006


  1. I do regular backups, so not so much of a concern. But I can see how this is pretty easy to use.

    I have three concerns though:
    1. Will it be as fast as is shown in the demo?
    2. Will you be able to shut off certain apps, or file types from getting backed up? At least for me, I can see utility in saving past iterations of FMP, Address Book, Mail, MS Word, docs from the occasional Save/Save-As oops or deletions/alterations…However, after downloading digital pics into iPhoto, I trash the bad ones. I really don’t want them wasting space on my hard drive, or back up drives.
    3. Will it “time-machine” to external firewire drives? Not all of us have humongous internal drives, especially on older power books.

  2. Instead of a space background while one is going back in time, apple should use a DeLorean background for traveling back in time. How off of the hook would that be?

    How many of you have Back To The Future on your iPods? I know I do!!!

  3. My question is:
    How much of your HD is it going to eat up?

    Media files are getting larger as resolution increases. An HD program can take gigabytes per hour with the current codecs. Does Apple plan to ship new Macs with Dual HD’s, each with 250-500 GB capacity? What about laptops? Maybe the micro drives used in iPods are the answer.

  4. maczac…

    1. Yes, it will be as fast as what you see in the demo. The “demo” was not an animated emulation or movie, it was the real deal happening.

    2. Yes, you can save back up HD space by being selective in what you back up.

    3. Actually, you MUST have a separate drive, not just a partition, and being that most iMacs only have 1 internal drive, the most common configuration for Time Machine will be with an external Firewire drive. You can also back up to a networked drive.


    True, but since Time Machine uses a separate drive for back up, it is unaffected by a head crash on another drive. I would just be sure to backup everything. This is not as large as it sounds because Time Machine makes one large initial backup and then just saves the changed files thereafter. And it is very possible to fully recover from a head crashed HD; a Mac can be booted from a Time Machine HD, and will automatically create an all new main HD from its contents.

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