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I do Time Machine backups from my laptop to an SMB network drive. No doubt this is inherently unreliable because mounting a disk image over a network connection can result in the disk needing repair if either of the 2 machines turn off, fall asleep, or otherwise disconnect. I currently address this by using 'just-in-time' mount and unmount; and by relying on Alsoft DiskWarrior about once a year when something goes wrong and fsck can't fix it.

My question: I have kept the Time Machine image on HFS+ because DiskWarrior doesn't support APFS. But maybe APFS is a more robust design than HFS+ and would survive network disconnects? Does anyone know, or else how could I find out, other than by a 2-year experiment with my backups?

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  • APFS is more robust than HFS+. But detail matters. What macOS version on laptop? On what is the network share running (hardware, operating system, version)?
    – Gilby
    Feb 18, 2023 at 21:45
  • I’ve just upgraded to Ventura. The share is SMB from a windows server Feb 18, 2023 at 23:06

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Why not both? Even with HFS+ when a Time Machine destination has corruptions, it goes read only. I always have two destinations that I cycle in and out once a quarter or if I have a big change (major upgrade / major project / other big change about to happen) - I'll connect both and get dual backups.

In your case, make one of each. I'm all in on APFS for my destinations - ever forward. Thankfully, I haven't needed Disk Warrior / Drive Genius or other third party tool since before the transition started.

Spare bulk drives are cheap, my time or a wrong guess aren't so I spend on resources to insulate me from a single failure on the backup side. Also I would consider a direct backup instead of network - they are more reliable in my testing and experience - but I'll assume you have a very good reason why network backup is your thing.

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  • It's a laptop, so network backup is more convenient - when it works!
    – Gilby
    Feb 19, 2023 at 1:38

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