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I am not familiar with the right jargong or semantics but will try to explain it as well as possible.

I have a Time Capsule which I use as an external drive to save media. I use a MacBook to access the data.

My problem is that my MacBook isn't always "fully" connected to my Time Capsule.

So what do I mean by fully connected? When I use Finder to access some file in the Time Capsule there is a considerable lag at first. So it is obvious that my computer is connecting or starting up the Time Capsule to browse its library of files.

Why is this a problem? I could live with the small lag, but the problem is that every time another drive is activated my Crashplan software search through all my drives to backup files. I really don't want this action activated this way.

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Your Time Capsule has that "lag" because the drives spin down (goes to sleep) if there has been no activity for a certain amount of time.

This is also the reason that it gets disconnected after a certain amount of time. The drives go to sleep for two reasons: one, it's to save power; there's no point in spinning drives that aren't being used, and two it's to maximize the life of the drive.

I wouldn't recommend this method for sharing and/or storing files as the TC was meant for backups. If you need storage for your files I would definitely recommend a NAS like the Synology or an external Thunderbolt drive. I personally use the Synology with my Mac and have no problems whatsoever.

"Hack" to Keep the Drives Spinning

Since the drives spin down when there is no activity for a given amount of time, a quick and easy hack would be to access the drive for some minor operation to create activity. A simple bash script would work perfectly:

#!/bin/bash
# Script to create activity on time capsule to prevent drives going to sleep
# It creates an empty text file named tempfile.txt then removes it

touch /Volumes/<Time Capsule Volume Name/tempfile.txt
rm /Volumes/<Time Capsule Volume Name/tempfile.txt

exit

Save that bash script as keepalive.sh or something that makes sense to you in a easily accessible location like a "Scripts" subdirectory in your Documents folder. Make sure it has the "executable" attribute by issuing the command chmod +x keepalive.sh.

Now, using crontab you can easily set this script to run every X mins, hours, days, etc.

  1. Open crontab for editing by issuing the command crontab -e
  2. add the following line to your crontab file:

    */15 * * * * /bin/bash /Users/<username>/Documents/Scripts/keepalive.sh

  3. The time is set for every 15 minutes. If the lag is still present, you will need to adjust that value to something smaller. Just use crontab -e to edit.

NOTE: most likely your "editor" environment variable defaults to vi (default). It's not difficult to use, but it's definitely not intuitive for new users. Use nano instead by invoking the crontab editor with this command (pay attention to case):

env EDITOR=nano crontab -e

You will then be able to use Ctrl"Key" combinations (i.e. Ctrl"S" for "Save"). The commands will be at the bottom of the screen.

  • Thanks! I know that I need a NAS for proper storage. But meanwhile, this is the solution I have. So I was hoping for a hack. So the drives wants to go to sleep. If I force them wake all the time that might be detrimental, if I don't, then Crashplan won't backup my Time Capsule with all photos, etc. Dilemma. – MacProGirl Jun 20 '16 at 1:28
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You could add the folder for Time Capsule to the startup items and it will attempt to mount each time you log in. You would then want to consider if you want to reconfigure CrashPlan to not backup the Time Capsule Volume. Really two separate tasks, but that would be the game plan.

For the automatic part - search the Mac Finder help menu for the string "Open items automatically when you log in" and it has step by step instructions.

You can surely have actual files stored on a Time Capsule drive and if they only are stored there, you will want Crash Plan to back them up. It's flexible to use the way you wish to set things up.

  • Thanks a lot for these advices! I am a little puzzled by what you mean by "log in". I usually have my Mac on for days, without logging out, but it seems I get disconnected automatically from my Time Capsule after some time any ways. Is this solvable? I will look into the other suggestion too. THANKS! – MacProGirl Jun 19 '16 at 18:49
  • Regarding not backing up the Time Capsule volume. That is not an option since I have critical data there. I am wondering if all these troubles are because the Time Capsule isn't supposed to be used as a media storage, but only used for Time Machine. – MacProGirl Jun 19 '16 at 18:53
  • @MacProGirl correct. The Time Capsule is made for backups using Time Machine. A network drive over Wi-Fi isn't made for storage. Consider getting an external HD for that. – At0mic Jun 19 '16 at 19:59
  • @MacProGirl I edited my answer. It's fine to have crash plan back up time machine data on the time capsule. It's also fine to have crash plan backup the files you store on the Time Capsule volume manually. I'm not sure if iron craft man is saying an external HD has faster performance than time capsule. That is generally true, but there's absolutely no reason not to store files using finder and storing them on the time capsule. Apple designs time capsule to act as a network storage device for multiple computers. – bmike Jun 19 '16 at 23:42
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    I have several Time Capsule that work exactly as I mentioned, @macprogirl . I even have one that's enabled for internet use using Back To My Mac signed in to it. They aren't speedy, but they are dependable in my experience. If you have requirements on IOPS or bandwidth - that might make them a poor choice, but from your question, there doesn't seem to be a reason to dissuade you from your plans. – bmike Jun 20 '16 at 2:36

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