Backing up becomes a breeze. I can vouch for that, and it does so wirelessly, for two separate MacBook Pros on the same Time Capsule.
So, backing up is a cinch, but how about restoring? Those of you who’ve ever had the experience realize that if getting stuff — the right stuff — backed up properly isn’t always a cinch, restoring can be even worse. Which file? If it’s the data or settings/preferences for an application, even if you’ve identified the right files to back up in the first place, how do you know for sure which incremental backup to restore?
I’m happy to report that even this is quite simple and functional in the Time Machine – Time Capsule environment. First, it backs up your entire system anyway, by default, so you don’t have to wonder about identifying particular data files and making sure you get everything you might need. It manages the space on the drive automatically by deleting older backups as space is needed for new ones. Still, I’ve been backing up for a month, now, and the half-terabyte drive isn’t yet half full, and that’s with two complete systems.
But here’s what’s cool. In the process of moving from using Entourage as an email, contacts, calendar application that syncs with Exchange Server at the office, to Mac Mail, Address Book, and iCal, I ended up getting some of my contacts chewed up and deleted. In conventional restoration of a backup, I would need to identify the location and file that holds the address book data, then find the backups of those files, then try each one going back until I reach a state where all my contacts are present. However, with Time Machine – Time Capsule, I simply open the Address Book app, then hit the Time MAchine button. Then I simply click back in time, with the app itself open, until I get to where my missing contacts show up. Click restore and you’re done. Alternatively, you can simply select individual contacts and restore those rather than the entire file. I presume it would work similarly for the calendar. Rather than moving back to a complete past data file, you can simply restore one or more appointments or events within the app itself. So, what I wonder is how widespread is this functionality. Could one, for example, use it to restore single emails that might have been deleted that, though they may be in your deleted items folder, it’s quicker and easier to view past states of your inbox until you get to the particular email, and just restoring that single one.
I’m sure I’ll find out, in time.