Backup Mac to Windows over a network.

Many people (read ‘geeks’) have heterogeneous environments with a Mac and/or Windows and/or Linux box running in their homes.

I have a similar one and I wanted to backup my mac’s /Users directory (I used to do it on my iPod, but my music got bigger). So I thought, well, I have about 100gigs empty on the windows box, why not use it!

So I tried the simplest thing. I shared a folder on windows (gave full permissions to it for the account I use, no one else.) Then mounted the folder in OS X, and started copying the /Users folder on it. It worked happily for a while, but then failed while it was trying to copy a file with a name like “abc|def.txt” — problems with file name characters. I had to look for other options…

What I needed was to format a portion of that NTFS formatted hard drive as HFS and that would do it. So I reached for “Disk Utility” and followed these steps:
– Mount the windows shared folder
Tip: If possible try to connect over a wired Lan. I tried to create a big image (about 20gig) over the 802.11g network and it timeout twice. I connected the two via ethernet cable and it worked fine and fast. (obviously)
– Start “Disk Utility”
– Hit “New Image”
– Save As:
(name of the image you are creating i.e. it will be .dmg)
– Size: GB
(Tip: I read somewhere, that if you want to pre-allocate disk space for backup of files, a rule of thumb is allocate 3 times the space you currently use. It sounded reasonable and I did so.)
-Encryption: none
-Format: read/write disk image
-Hit “Create”

This will effectively:
-Create a volume called /Volumes/ that is visible as “Mac OS Extended” of the size that you created.
-You will see a file .dmg in the windows share.

Now I had the bytes ready, in the format I wanted, I just needed a tool transfer stuff. I tried a few but am currently using iBackup:
iBackup – pretty good: you can select specific files/folder to backup
– rsync: I have previously used rysnc in shell. Works great, very powerful with the switches e.g.: rsync -av –delete –exclude “temp” –exclude “.Trash”
RsyncX – basic UI for rsync; but can’t exclude sub folders
– Other software I’ve heard raves about are SuperDuper, CarbonCopyCloner (CCC), etc.

The whole thing is pretty cool, so I thought I’d share it. Hope it helps …

Works great – Notes

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