Schedule Time Machine Backups

One thing I like about Apple’s OS X 10.5 (Leopard) is the built-in Time Machine backup software. I purchased a Time Capsule backup drive to go with it. Although the system apparently works well — I haven’t had to restore anything yet — it is quite slow, and by default runs every hour. It seemed that every time I wanted to log out, restart, or shut down my computer, it was in the middle of a backup.

Unfortunately, Time Machine does not include any settings to control the frequency of backup. Fortunately, changing how often backups occur is not hard to do. There are basically three routes you can take; they all do precisely the same thing (change a particular configuration file):

  • Use a freeware application called Time Machine Editor
  • Use a freeware application called Lingon to edit the necessary file (this is the way I did it; however, Lingon is a powerful program that, used improperly, can totally trash your system, so beware; this is similar to using regedit in Windows)
  • Navigate to /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto.plist and edit the file manually according to instructions here

Michael Prewitt

Michael Prewitt is a creative director who has worked with digital graphic design techniques since 1992. His core skills include highly refined aesthetic taste, exceptional creativity, and highly practical problem-solving ability; he also has complementary skills in related disciplines, including writing and editing, web developing, programming, photography, retouching, and illustration.

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