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Is it possible use Dropbox as my OSX Time machine backup drive?

I am thinking of getting Dropbox Pro.

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Dropbox themselves say it's not possible.

Time Machine uses a special way of "pointing" files to each other, which means that every snapshot of your system as available in Time Machine is not the same on the disk. For example, a file you created a month ago will not be duplicated in your current backup, but there's a "pointer" to the old file in another folder.

Dropbox however doesn't offer a way to represent these file links in their system. That means you can only upload actual files to their service, and not those links.

As a consequence, you can't recreate the file system layout of a Time Machine drive in the Dropbox when pulling it from another Mac or looking at it online, even though your Mac would appear to create the backup just fine.

If you want to spend money on online backup services that fit well with OS X, check:

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cool thanks for this and I can't use iCloud? – TheLearner Jun 11 '12 at 13:59
To my knowledge, iCloud only backs up data from iOS devices. – slhck Jun 11 '12 at 14:03
What about creating a disk image in Dropbox? – daknøk Sep 13 '12 at 7:52
@RadekSlupik Time Machine uses Sparse Bundles and I'm rather sure they don't translate well to the Dropbox system – that being said, I've never tried it and it could be worth a shot, but I could imagine that it won't work out of the box. – slhck Sep 13 '12 at 8:03
@slhck you can put the sparse bundle in a non-sparse disk image. :) – daknøk Sep 13 '12 at 10:32

Yes, here is my guide

Backup to the cloud

You first need to create a disk image in disk utility, first open disk utility, then click new image, fill in the details

Save as: The name of the image

Choose your cloud service as saving location ex dropbox, jottacloud

Name: The name of the disk

Size: Click the dropdown and select custom, choose a size, Note that your cloud service need to be able to hold it

Format: Choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

Encryption: If you want to lock it that you need a password to open it choose 128 or 256 bit encryption higher bit more secure, but slower

Partitions: Choose hard disk

Image format: Choose read/write disk image

Click create

Wait until it is done

Wait until it is fully uploaded to the cloud, this may take a wile, you have to upload the size of the image

Check on your cloud service’s website to see that it is there

Unmount/Eject the disk

Double-click the image

Select the drive there you choose witch drive to use with time machine or your backup program

Backup to this drive To restore

Set up your mac

Download the image from the cloud

Double-click the image

Open migrate assistant and continue

If you need to boot from the drive or the restore process above do not work

Download the image from the cloud

Double-click the image to mount the disk

Open disk utility

Click the image’s disk to the box to the left Note, do not click the image, but the disk underneath

Click restore in the tab

Source: Drag the image’s disk to the box Note, do not drag the image, but the disk underneath

Destination: Drag an external hard drive to the box Note, do not drag the top part, but one of the partitions underneath

Click restore Note, the external hard drive will be erased

When done: Open migrate assistant, your backup program or boot from it and continue Note, The name of the drive will changed

Truls Zhong Konstali

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