How-To: Configure Time Machine with Windows Home Server 2011

(UPDATE 04/11/2011 – Corrected error with sparseimage. Should be sparsebundle. Directions corrected.)

Note: These directions will not work with Mac OS X Lion as Apple has removed the necessary components to allow this functionality to work.

In today’s how-to, we’re going to setup Time Machine for a Mac client with the backups being stored on Windows Home Server 2011. These same steps should work with Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials as well. (P.S. If after reading this, and you agree with me that setup could be easier, go here and vote.)

Step 1: Create shared folder on server


  • Click the Shared Folders and Hard Drives tab


  • Click Add a Folder, and fill in the details then click Next


  • Click Specific People, and then assign Read/Write permissions to the user account you wish to use on your Mac.

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  • Click Add Folder,and then when the process is finished, click Close.

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Step 2: Enable Network Volume Support and create SparseBundle file

  • On each Mac that you wish to back up, go to the Applications folder, then Utilities, then open Terminal and type the following command then press Enter.
    • defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

Screen Shot 2011-04-10 at 12.20.04 PM

  • We need to determine the MAC address of the Ethernet port (en0) to properly create the sparsebundle file. (NOTE: Even if you are using a wireless connection to backup, you MUST use the MAC address of the Ethernet port.) To do so, in the same Terminal window, type ifconfig and press Enter.  Look for the line starting with en0, and then look just below that for the line starting with ether and make note of the address on that line.

Screen Shot 2011-04-10 at 12.20.42 PM

  • Now we will create the sparsebundle file that Time Machine will use. In the same Terminal  window, type the following command and press Enter. (NOTE: For the hard drive size, it needs to be the size of your hard drive. If you have a 160GB hard drive, then it will be ‘-size 160G’.)
    • hdiutil create –size <Hard Drive size>G –fs HFS+J –volname “<computername> Backup” <computername>_<MACAddress>.sparsebundle
      • Replace <Hard drive size> with the size of your hard drive
      • Replace <computername> with the name of your computer (Can be found in System Preferences –> Sharing) (Note: You may want to change the name to make it something short and simple.)
      • Replace <MACAddress> with the MAC Address you made note of in the previous step, leave out the colons in the address

Screen Shot 2011-04-10 at 12.21.54 PM

Step 3: Copy Sparsebundle to server and enable Time Machine

  • Close Terminal, then go to the Go menu and click Connect to Server, and type in smb://<ip address or name of server>, then press Enter. Choose the Shared Folder you created and click OK.
  • Browse to the location that the sparsebundle file was created in. This will most likely be the root of your user folder. (/users/<your username/)
  • Drag this sparsebundle file to the shared folder on the server

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  • After the file finishes copying, open System Preferences, and then click Time Machine

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  • Click Select Disk and select the shared folder on your server

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  • When prompted, enter the user name and password you wish to use and click Connect.

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  • A countdown of 120 seconds should begin, and then once that countdown finishes, your backup should commence.

Screen Shot 2011-04-10 at 12.46.06 PM  Screen shot 2011-04-10 at 1.01.47 PM

Congratulations! You’ve just configured Time Machine with Windows Home Server 2011.

Windows Home Server Vail now with Mac OS Support

Screen shot 2010-08-14 at 1.21.21 AMWith the exception of having Windows Media Center on the same PC as Windows Home Server, having Mac OS Support has been a top feature request of mine since the announcement of Windows Home Server back in 2007.

Today, this request has been fulfilled. In the August Preview release of Windows Home Server Vail, the Client Connector for Mac OS has been included.

From what I can tell, there is going to be support for backing up a Mac OS client to Windows Home Server by means of Time Machine. (Backup has not yet been implemented in this release.)

Just like its Windows counterpart, there is a Launchpad component that enables users to manage backups, access Remote Web Access and shared folders on the server.

What’s not clear yet is if there will be any method for accessing the Windows Home Server Vail Dashboard on a Mac OS client. Another thing not yet clear is how restores of Mac clients will work. I’m confident that in time we will find out the answers to these questions.

If you are a Windows Home Server Vail beta user and have Mac clients, I highly encourage you to download the August Preview and test the Mac OS Client Connector.