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TMO Quick Tip - Time Machine: Customized Backup Schedules

by , 9:30 AM EDT, September 17th, 2008

Apple's Time Machine is a great feature in Mac OS X 10.5 because it makes it easy for anyone to backup and restore their important files. The downside is that Time Machine does its thing every hour without the option to change that interval, which doesn't fit everyone's style. Of course, when there's a need, developers can't be too far behind.

Thanks to the resourceful Mac developer community, there are two free utilities that pick up where Apple left off and add the ability to change Time Machine's backup interval: TimeMachineEditor and TimeMachineScheduler.

TME
Time Machine Editor

TimeMachineEditor allows for pretty flexible backup schedules including daily, weekly, and monthly settings, and only changes Time Machine's preference files. TimeMachineScheduler lets you Time Machine's backup interval anywhere between 1 and 12 hours and lets you set a time window where backups don't happen, but it disables Apple's utility and installs its own. Both seem to work well, but try only one at a time since their scheduling may interfere with each other.

TMS
Time Machine Scheduler

Time Machine's default hourly backup schedule may work just fine for some, but it's nice to know that for everyone else there are ways around that limitation -- and those options are free.


Jeff Gamet is TMO's Morning Editor and Reviews Editor. He lectures, teaches and speaks on Mac OS X and design-related topics, and is the author of The Designer's Guide to Mac OS X from Peachpit Press.

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