Aperture and Time Machine Follow Up

by Steve Simon

Further to the Time/Machine backup issue, Inside Aperture viewer Bill Cheeseman is on top of this issue for us, commenting on my last post about new information that Apple has posted.

You no doubt saw the warning that “Running Time Machine backup or restore operations while Aperture is running may lead to inconsistencies in the Aperture database.”

The fix was quite simple and just before writing this, I dedicated an empty hard drive as my Time Machine Backup Drive and excluded my Aperture Libraries. Apple suggests you keep this disc only for Time Machine backups and nothing else.

It was very easy following Apple’s directions for excluding Aperture Libraries from automatic back ups. I simply followed Apple’s updated instructions.

“If you use Time Machine with Leopard, be sure to set Time Machine to exclude the Aperture Library from automatic backups. To do so:
1. Open Time Machine.
2. Click the Options button.
3. Click the "+" button in the Do not back up window.
4. Use the resulting file browser to navigate to the location of your Aperture Library. The default location is ~/Pictures/Aperture Library (where "~" represents your home folder).
5. Click the Exclude button.
6. Click the Done button.

Note that this means that your Aperture Library will not be backed up by Time Machine. Be sure to manually back up your Aperture Library.”

If you have any external Hard Drives plugged in, they should automatically be listed in the “Do Not Back Up” window. However, I have two drives inside my G5 Tower, one with my system on it that I want backed up, and a larger drive with Aperture libraries that i don’t.

Time Machine Exclude2.jpg
Your external hard drives that are plugged in and the Time Machine disc itself should also show up along with the Aperture Library you have chosen not to backup.

So I hit the + button again, and navigated to my second internal drive and excluded that drive as well from Time Machine backups.

Once you’ve set up your disc for Time Machine, when you click on the icon in your dock, (if it’s not there, check your Applications Folder) your screen takes you on a very cool journey into a deep space desktop, where you can go back in time to restore lost information easily. It’s a very cool interface. Just press escape to get back to where you started.

I’m still using managed Aperture libraries on external hard drives with vaults, a simple backup solution that works well.

But I like the idea of having my entire library of referenced images with high quality previews with me on the road and I’m thinking of going the referenced route. But with referenced libraries, I will have to have my own backup workflow instead of letting Vaults do all the work.

I hear good things about certain backup software like Chrono Sync, but I would love to renew the discussion on how you backup your Aperture Libraries in light of this Leopard/Time Machine issue. Post your comments here.


Thomas Pindelski
2007-11-01 07:52:55
Any back-up that involves remembering to do things will eventually fail. The user will forget.

I use SuperDuper! and clone the external drive with the Aperture library to a second external one. This is done with a pre-set schedule in SD! and runs at 2am. Nothing to forget.

Let's face it, Time Machine is simply not ready for prime time and is too dangerous to use in its current configuration.

Thomas Pindelski
2007-11-01 07:53:43
Joe Samuels
2007-11-01 09:03:59
I don't need hourly back-ups. In almost 24 years as a Mac user, I've never lost a file that I wanted. I rely on bootable back-ups and, for Aperture, immediate back-up to Vaults after I've done the first cut and editing of new images. So I like to run Time Machine when I want it to run. I use it manually.

After running TM, I turn it off and minimize the TM System Preferences window onto my Dock (click on the yellow button at the top left of the window). When I update an application, or add to my Aperture Library, or add important documents, etc., I bring up the TM System Prefs window, turn on TM and it runs almost immediately.

This way, I have no problem including my Aperture Library in the TM back-up.

2007-11-01 09:19:31
My backup routines are:

1. Double vaults for each library, saved to seperate drives.
2. Chronosync backups (non-incremental ie. whole lib copy) of each library to different drives.
3. 3-6 monthly archive of work to offsite hard drives.
4. Super duper to clone boot drive
5. .mac backup for Application config/plist/user data.

I'm watching Time Machine's implementation with a mixture of wonder and horror. Wonder because for Joe Soap, this is revolutionary and so easy to get a second chance when disaster strikes. Horror because of Aperture 1.5.6 and Leopards release without testing of Time Machine BEFORE release to users.

TM is great for scattered documents etc, but not for great hairball databases/files (Aperture, vmware virtual machines etc). Foghorn Marketing without the necessary caveats once again.

Michael Curtis
2007-11-01 13:57:20
I personally don't use a vault. I use referenced file and use Super Duper to back up to another drive. This also means that Time Machine will backup those referenced files. I also do a full clone of my boot drive every Friday night and patch software on a Saturday.

My wife on the other hand uses a vault. She also used Super Duper. This means she gets backup of her Aperture library and has a vault. This does mean, she tends to run out of space on her backup drive as she has basically two copies of the library. She also does a full clone on a Friday night.

Yann Michel
2007-11-02 01:44:06
My aperture backup routines work as follows:
I use an external myBook (1TB) set up as a RAID 1 for my photos. For some (active) projects I use the library as their storage until the project is "done" and is exported to the external myBook. Meanwhile I us a vault (on that myBook as well) to backup my library. I do this every time I finish my work with aperture. Once in a week I do a rsync backup of the myBook to a second external single drive, that is placed offsite, e.g., in my works desktop. So I don't have to panic if my mirror breaks or any fire or burglary happens.
One I have migrated my Mac OS X to 10.5, I will surely use time-machine to backup all my other docs on a third disk (RAID?)
Aaron G. Peabody
2007-11-02 08:32:19
I have a double-vault backup that I run after every import and after every editing session. In addition to that I use .Mac Backup to backup different slices of my computer (including my Pictures folder) to different external hard drives and different times.
2007-11-02 17:04:47
"Let's face it, Time Machine is simply not ready for prime time and is too dangerous to use in its current configuration."

FUD. You can't do automatic backups of your Aperture Library with TM, but other than that Time Machine seems to work wonderfully. For the time being, the answer seems to be "do whatever you were doing before" when it comes to Aperture backups. I'm sure we'll see some update (either in Leopard or Aperture) that will eventually let TM and Aperture play nice.

Me: I have one external drive that I use for Time Machine backups, and I use Vault to the same drive for Aperture. Nice and simple.

Steve Simon
2007-11-03 07:44:09
It's very interesting to me to hear about other people's backup strategies. Speaking of which check out part 1 of Josh Anon's excellent article on the subject. A great primer for people deciding which way to go.
Pierre Bourgeois
2007-11-04 14:47:04
with respect to backup, I will likely continue to use superduper to do periodic clone backups that will include the Aperture library. I hope that Apple will fix the issue with Time Machine as having a clone backup will not help me if I inadvertently deleted an image.
2007-11-13 07:47:08
i really see that lots of people miss a feature in aperture that would allow to also back up the referenced files in a vault. I would love to have that feature. If the referenced files are available, the vault should include them, keep the backup on "unfinished" until it has all the referenced files found once.

I love to keep the previews on my macbook pro and don't want to use the managed library for exactly that reason - too little space on the internal hard disk on the macbook. I think that's the main reason for not using a managed library. And I think lots of people are using Aperture that way.

So a feature like that for vaults would definitely help, what do you think?