[See update below posted Jan. 16, 2013 at 18:20 GMT -8]
Anyone who has tried to work with Apple’s “backup” software (Time Machine) knows that it pretty much sucks. There is little user control, an insistence that only drives formatted to Apple disk specs can be used, and so on. I thought we had solved these problems when we acquired our QNap NAS box. One of the many, many features of this little device is an option to use part of it for Time Machine backups. And, as far as I can tell, the space on the drives is allocated dynamically between Time Machine and other uses. Terrific — except for the lousy Apple software. This article is about the latest Apple Time Machine mega-fail.
It began a few days ago with the dialog box shown above. Frankly, I have only a few ideas about what that might mean. Apparently something has gone terribly wrong with my Time Machine backups. OK, I can live with that. But what I can’t live with is the choices I’m offered. Either consume several hours right now or wait until tomorrow. Hey, Apple, I don’t have a couple of hours right now and I won’t have them at this time tomorrow either. How about adding a scheduling option? They maybe — just maybe — Time Machine will get a bit of respect in the computer professional community.
Nah, our stock price is still in three digits, we can ignore our customers a while longer. (Apple stock closed today at $506.09 per share, down about $200 per share from its recent high.)
Update: Apple support has an article about this at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4076. A better explanation is at http://pondini.org/TM/C13.html. In brief, you can hold down the Option (Alt) key while clicking on the Time Machine icon in the menu bar (top right of my screen, may be different on yours, look for the little clock face, no it won’t work from System Preferences). You’ll see this:
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Select Verify Backups and the dialog box will open.
Tell me again about how Apple products are intuitive and have really good help. They’re only intuitive until you need to do something moderately difficult. Then … well, good luck.