Can I achieve the same functionality with an Airport Extreme and a USB HD?

QA Apple Time Capsule

QA Apple Time Capsule

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4 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    Yes. Time Capsule is simpler to set up, but you can connect an external USB drive to an AE, format it as Mac OS Extended Journaled, and then use the Airport Utility to designate the disk as a shared disk under the Airport Utility. Make sure you use "Secure Shared Disks" with accounts and use strong passwords to protect each disk. Then login to the disk through your Finder (entering the user name and password that you created) and then go to the Time Machine settings. Time Machine will recognize the usb drive connected to the AE as a acceptable drive (blue), select it as your Time Machine backup drive and it will start. Make sure you have at least 3x as much space for your TM drive (500GB computer -> 1.5 TB Time Machine drive) so that Time Machine will have enough room to make incremental backups.

  • Listen to CE and his/her post of 18 May 2010. Of course you can use an external USB drive with an Airport Extreme. CE has good advice. My gosh folks, research your responses before you lead people astray.

  • Not quite. You can use an external HD connected to an Airport Extreme to manually save and share files wirelessly within your network; but, Time Machine will not backup wirelessly to an external HD that is connected to an Airport Extreme. Time Machine will backup to an external HD besides a Time Capsule, but it has to be connected directly to your computer. If you want to backup wirelessly to an external HD the only way to do that is with a Time Capsule.

  • No. Although an external hard drive can still be shared on the AirPort Extreme wireless network, Time Machine will not perform a backup to an external hard drive other than Time Capsule. (It may appear to be backing up, but most likely is not doing it in a way that you can access the files if you should need them.)