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My wife and I have a mixed Windows and Mac household. A couple years ago I purchased a HP MediaSmart server with Windows Home Server on it. HP provided software to get Time Machine on Leopard to work with the server. It was a pain to get working in Snow Leopard, but we did manage it. Now, it's completely busted in Lion, and the sparsebundle method to use a network share is also busted.

My question is, what should I do?

I'm not keen on the $300 entry fee for an Apple Time Capsule since I've already got this server and two N wifi access points. I would love it if there were a way to run an AFP server on the MediaSmart box, but the only options I've seen there are enterprise class and ridiculously expensive. I'm not opposed to putting Ubuntu on the MediaSmart if that helps since HP abandoned MediaSmart and Microsoft barely remembers it has a WHS product.

My fallback plan is to just buy a cheap external hard drive and use it. I don't like that because inevitably we won't get around to plugging it in on a regular basis and making backups.

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Apple dropped support for the authentication method used by these servers (article talks about NAS, but this should be similar), and your other vendors gave up on their products. It looks like you used an officially unsupported method, and it broke. I expect you won't like the answers you'll get. – Daniel Beck Jul 24 '11 at 17:13
I already don't like my options, so I didn't figure it would get any worse by asking other people for their suggestions. :-) – Tyson Jul 24 '11 at 17:16
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Netatalk 2.2 supports AFP 3.3 and so Time Machine will work with it, but you'll need to use a POSIX host.

In case anyone is interested, I installed VMware Server on the MediaSmart box, downloaded and ran a copy of TurnKey Linux (the Core app), and installed and configured Netatalk on it. This will work for now until Apple breaks it again.

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+1 "until Apple breaks it again ...". Somethings are dead certainties aren't they? – LRE Jan 9 '12 at 22:06

I haven't been brave enough to try this myself, but you could install OSX Lion server on the mediasmart. See

That's the only reference I've found to anyone doing this though. If anyone does have a go, I'd love to find out how they go.

For now I've switched my Macs to backing up on a 1TB usb external HD plugged into my airport. The mediasmart is just backing up the PCs now.

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Had to bump this answer because it's a good find. Thanks! – Tyson Sep 1 '11 at 13:29

I wanted to provide a pointer to another solution for this problem. What I like about this approach is it allows the MediaSmart server to continue to run Windows Home Server while also hosting the Time Machine network share, allowing OS X Lion to successfully back up to the WHS.

A user on the wegotserved forums has posted a detailed walkthrough that shows how to set up coLinux as a Windows service on the Windows Home Server. coLinux then runs netatalk and hosts the Time Machine file system and network share.

I've done this on my MediaSmart and other than taxing the Celeron processor a bit, it seems to be working great!

Thanks to SJ_UnderWater for figuring this out!

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this seems to be the best and simplest option at this time. Since this answer is months newer than the original accepted answer, this is probably the best answer at this time. – mohlsen Jan 19 '12 at 12:49

I've ran in to the same problem, the only difference being I'm running WHS 2011. WHS uses the SMB protocol to share folders so I thought it would be a good idea to set up an NFS share to see if that fixed the problem. Sadly, it seems that OSX Time Machine in Lion only supports the AFP protocol... (wow that really sucks!)

So as we're seemingly stuck using AFP for Time Machine backups I think the following options are available:

  • Use Extremez-IP (WAY too costly (may as well get a time capsule))
  • Virtualise your server, then run FreeNAS on it. Sadly, FreeNAS doesn't support the correct version of AFP. I've tried the 8.0.1 Beta 4 and it doesn't work but apparently it will in the full release (whenever that is...)
  • Revert back to Snow Leopard on OSX machines
  • Surrender needless costs to Lord Jobs and buy a Time Capsule (I'm also running a similar hardware setup)
  • Don't use Time Machine for backups, use rsyncd or something similar

Personally, I've reverted to running Snow Leopard for the time being.

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Yep, I reached a similar conclusion. It looks like Time Machine will recognize the newest version of Netatalk (2.2b4 at this time), so I'm either going to run a small version of Linux in a VM or just scrap WHS altogether. – Tyson Jul 25 '11 at 0:32

I just bought a new 2011 Mac Mini ($600 version) and loaded Lion Server. Knowing nothing about OSX server, I went to main server screen, added a couple of users, went to the Time Machine button and turned Time Machine ON, and selected a partition on my FW800 RAID drive. BOOM! That's it, done! It automatically shared the drive using AFP.

All I had to do was open time machine on my two MBPs and select the server drive and hit start.

We'll see if it works. Its putting both sparebundles in the same backups folder, which sounds pretty scary (I thought each TM had to have its own partition). Like I said, we'll see if it works, but right now it sounds pretty simple and COOL!

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ubuntu 11.04 running netatalk 2.2 will allow lion time machine backups flawlessly. i had to give me and everyone read only rights inside the sparse bundle then time machine app was fine.(system had set to no access for some reason and time machine app wouldn't open.)

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