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Backing Up in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: Enabling Time Machine

System requirements: Mac


Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" introduces a new feature for automatically backing up data on your computer. For more information please visit Apple Support -

Once Time Machine is activated, all free space the Time Machine drive will be used given enough time.  This is the case since Time Machine keeps as many versions of a file as there is space for.  If a computer has Time Machine enabled on a 500 GB drive and backs up data stored on an 80 GB drive, yes the backup drive can be used to store other files, but this will become difficult as the backup drive keeps multiple copies and takes up even more space than the original drive.  It is advised to use a drive that you can devote to backing up and will remain connected to the machine for long periods of time.  In this case, Time Machine provides the convenience of being able to quickly repair mistakes and problems.  However, Mission Critical data should not be backed up by Time Machine alone, and it is the client's responsibility to ensure this data is backed up via another method. 

Please read the entire document before attempting to restore files via Time Machine and make time to practice these steps before you have vital information lost.

How to Get:

  • Mac OS X 10.5.x
  • A drive with enough free space for the items you wish to back up (such as an external hard disk, secondary internal drive, or a flash drive)
  • Time Machine Enabled before documents were lost

How to Use:

Enabling Time Machine

  1. Connect the drive to the computer if it has not already been. If you see a message when connecting an external drive to your computer that mentions using this disc as a Time Machine Backup, then simply choose "Use as Backup Disk" and skip to step 6 for more configuration steps if the backup drive is smaller than the data to be backed up. Enable Dialog
  2. To enable Time Machine, click on the Apple Menu and select System Preferences... Open System Preferences
  3. Select Time Machine Time Machine
  4. Flip the Time Machine switch to ON and then click Choose a Backup Disk... Time Machine Options
  5. Select the target drive you wish to use for your backups and click Use for Backup. Below, the Data drive has only have 26.5 GB free space. Select drive
  6. Here, the Backup failed because the 26.5 GB of free space is not large enough space to backup the disk with default settings. If your backup succeeded, you may proceed to Restoring with Time Machine or continue reading for more options. Backup Failed
  7. To disable backing up of some items, click Options... Click Options
  8. Notice the Total Included is larger than the space free of our backup disk. Click the Plus Button to exclude some files from Time Machine. Exclude Data
  9. Select the items that you do not wish to backup. Suggested files that may be excluded include, Applications, System, and Library folders. While, these are important for day-to-day computer operation, most of these things can be reinstalled from the original disks. MAKE SURE YOU CAN REPLACE OR REINSTALL YOUR APPLICATIONS OR OTHER DATA BEFORE MAKING SELECTIONS. Click Exclude and repeat as needed. If you added something to the Do not back up list, then select it and press the Minus Button. Select excluded items

Disabling Time Machine

If you want to completely disable Time Machine, select Choose Disk... like before, select None, click Stop Backing Up, and turn the switch to OFF. Disable Drive