Apple's Time Capsule can act as both a backup drive and a network shared drive at the same time. Can it backup its own data to incremental backups? I can't find this information anywhere. I've not used Time Machine so I don't know if it can be configured to backup shared drives (independently of whether Time Capsule has the option).

I would like this to be a feasible way of freeing up some storage on an older MacBook Air by keeping large media such as photos archived on the drive like you would a USB external drive. But having the only copy accessible throughout the house and not backed up would make me nervous. I like the idea of having a good router, network storage and backup in one box, although obviously it's safer to backup the Capsule itself to USB occasionally too. Other solutions to this are of course welcome if this is not possible.

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Time Capsule is pretty much a router + HD and it won't really back up by itself - its always a computer causing the backup.

Backing up to the same drive helps in cases of file corruption but not obviously if there is a hard drive failure.

However if you can get hold of an external USB hard drive, you can archive any and all data from the TC. This is just a straight copy, not incremental backup but it would probably serve your purpose. Just click on archive in the airport utility.

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  • I understand that the computer initiates the backup. But, for example, if I have a network share set up on the computer, can I back up that to the Time Capsule? I thought you could - and, hence, it should be possible to backup part of the capsule itself. – Sam Brightman Feb 26 '10 at 8:10
  • I think you would need OXS on the partition, if you're willing to do this then yes you could. Don't know if there's a cut down OSX. Another possibility is some freeware that would allow you to change the partition you're backing up from - I'm not aware of any that do so at the moment. I suspect the partition would need to be 'hard link' aware as a minimum - is it OSX Journalled or NTFS/ FAT? You could quite easily clone it - but that wouldn't give you versioning. – alimack Feb 26 '10 at 9:15

I asked in the Apple Store and the guy said it's not possible but I'm not sure he understood. He said it didn't make sense - I disagree. In the case of failure, multiple copies on the drive increase the statistical likelihood of recovery, but more importantly having these backups prevents loss through user deletion and allows a certain degree of versioning. For real safety, the Time Capsule can copy itself to USB external drive. Has anyone got experience of actually trying this?

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