Feb 21

Back in April, 2010 we started using Apple’s Time Machine feature of Mac OS X to automatically back up the hard drives of our iMac and MacBook Pro computers to our QNAP TS-109 Pro NAS server.  Since earlier versions of the QNAP firmware didn’t have built-in Time Machine support, we used some command line magic to make it happen. Overall, we were pretty happy with the solution and we were able to demonstrate how we could easily restore the complete hard drive of our iMac using one of the back ups.

We have since updated to firmware version 3.3.0 Build 0924T, a version that includes built-in support for Time Machine. I figured why not try out the built-in support and move away from the earlier command line-based approach.

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Jul 04

I finally bit the bullet and performed a test of our Time Machine restore process by reinitializing the solid state drive (SSD) in our iMac and restoring from the Time Machine backups housed on our QNAP NAS server. For background on using a QNAP NAS server to hold Time Machine backups, see my post on setting up Time Machine with a QNAP TS-109 Pro NAS server.  Thankfully, the process worked without a hitch and I was able to restore the internal solid state drive (SSD) of our iMac with a recent system backup.

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Apr 24

Part one in this series covered the failure of our iMac’s internal hard disk drive (HDD) and my investigation into the prospect of using a solid state drive (SSD) as a replacement. Well, we received the SSD and 3.5″ to 2.5″ drive bay adapter yesterday and got them installed last night. Everything worked out fine and the iMac is back up and running. As reported by other users of SSDs in their own systems, system start-up, application launching and desktop navigation performance dramatically improved with the replacement of the HDD with an SSD.

SSD Attached With Velcro

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Apr 21

In the past few days our three-year-old 24″ aluminum iMac started acting pretty flaky. Among other things, the machine would freeze and the bluetooth wireless mouse wouldn’t be recognized. It finally got to the point where the system wouldn’t boot past the gray Apple icon screen. Using the Disk Utility from the Snow Leopard install disk told me that the hard disk drive (HDD) had issues. Unfortunately, the Disk Repair feature was unable to correct the problems. Given the age of the machine, I decided to replace the HDD with a solid state drive (SSD) rather than reformat the existing HDD or install a new HDD.

OCZ Vertex SSD

The good news is that we store all of our important documents and images on our QNAP NAS server which is a key part of our overall home storage and backup solution: all files are backed up to a local mirror drive attached to the NAS server and the mirror drive is rotated off-site each month with another external drive. Apart from gritting my teeth while disassembling the beautiful iMac, the main pain will simply be reinstalling and configuring the apps of interest after we install Snow Leopard from scratch.

This post covers how I decided on a specific SSD to replace the failed HDD. A follow-up post covers the installation and results.

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Apr 21

I recently needed to install Windows 7 and one or more Linux distributions on my MacBook Pro. Normally I’d run these other OSs as guests or virtual machines (VMs) in VirtualBox with Mac OS X as the host, but I was having problems accessing a specialized USB device from Windows 7 in VirtualBox. Plus, I needed to be able to boot into a bare metal Linux-based Xen virtualization environment. All of this led me to set up Apple’s Time Machine feature of Mac OS X to regularly back up my MacBook’s disk.

Note: We recently migrated to using the built-in Time Machone support found in the more recent firmware versions for the QNAP TS-109 NAS server.

Mac OS X Time Machine

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