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7/11/2011
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OS X Lion First Look: Time Machine

Time Machine is better, but improvements are under the hood.

BYTE -- OS X Lion ships with improvements to Time Machine. Most are under the hood. Here's an look at some features that aren't immediately obvious.

Local snapshots If you are away from your Time Capsule or backup drive, Time Machine will automatically keep a spare copy of all files you create, modify or delete on your Mac while on the road. If you accidentally delete a file, just recover it from the local copy in the Time Machine archive.

Combined timeline When you return from your trip and connect your Mac to your Time Machine backup drive or Time Capsule, Time Machine will display everything you did while you were away together with all other existing Time Machine backups. The combined timeline makes it look like you never left at all

Encrypted backups. Time Machine now supports encryption on an external USB or FireWire drive, supporting FileVault 2. That means secure backups.

In this example, I've set up my external drive "Untitled 1" for encrypted backups. Select the checkbox to activate encryption.


As in prior versions of Time Machine, selecting a drive to use is easy. Toggle Time Machine on and you'll be prompted to set up your Time Capsule if one is connected to your computer.


Once you are set up, you'll see the following.


Advanced settings let you exclude data from your Time Machine backups.


Entering Time Machine to recover files looks different now that the background changed.


Time Machine doesn't look much different in OS X 10.7 Lion, but it has some deep new features built in. They'll improve backup and recovery tasks.

Based in Houston, David W. Martin is a BYTE technologist. Email him at David.W.Martin@BYTE.com

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