I like to do backups via Time Machine since my TimeCapsule vaporized after 3 years of service. It's only the power supply which is broken but Apple can't fix it they tell me in an Apple Store. A little ridicolous, but anyway...

I like to use a normal USB HDD to do my backups now and I like to plug that into my router so I can do it via WiFi. Problem: My router (and a short research of mine says it is not only my router) is not able to deal with Mac OS Extended format. He only recognizes FAT and NTSF. Time Machine however always asks to reformat the HDD to Mac OS Extended. I read an article about how to deal with that but it is kinda out of date and didn't work under Mountain Lion. So my question:

Is there a way of getting Time Machine using a FAT formatted HDD to make backups on?

  • AFAIK, Time Machine depends on some features (hard links) of the filesystem that FAT does not provide – Josh Hunt Mar 18 '13 at 9:30
  • How does the router share the disk - ie which protocol does the Mac mount the disk under? Which router is it most can't connect to USX drives as they only do network connections – mmmmmm Mar 18 '13 at 9:35
  • @DavidPearce I just read (a german) blog entry from 2010 where they explained that the feature to use FAT drives was disabled by Apple but could be enabled. But if you say so, it seems that Time Machine does not provide that capability any more. – DaPhil Mar 18 '13 at 10:21
  • @Mark I can see the USB HDD in finder IF it is formatted as FAT 32. IF it is not, I can't see the HDD. I could be able to get access via FTP I guess. And I don't know what a USX drive is... – DaPhil Mar 18 '13 at 10:23
  • SOrry USX was a typo – mmmmmm Mar 18 '13 at 10:37

Time Capsule (networked Time Machine) relies on the share being AFP. If you can get your router to share the file via AFP everything should work. My guess is that that will take quite a bit of work though. You might start with DD-WRT.

  • I have a Vodafone EasyBox 802. How can I check if this is supported by DD-WRT? It is not listed in their router database... Does this already mean it is not supported or is it because Vodafone is not the manufacturer? – DaPhil Mar 22 '13 at 9:47
  • DD-WRT is hours and hours of work with unless you're working with a specific set of routers, and the likelyhood is that your router doesn't support it. You're probably better off replacing your power supply manually, though that's obviously an undertaking of itself. If I were in your shoes I would consider these my only viable options: 1) get a new TC; 2) replace the power supply of the existing one manually; 3) put together a linux box with USB of some sort (DD-WRT on a supported router would be enough) and install netatalk; 4) find another AFP-capable server; #3 is not for faint of heart. – zwerdlds Mar 22 '13 at 15:16
  • Hi. 1) Too expansive (+ lost faith in Apple products lately). 2) I guess I could try that but I have another quest: I like to have access to my computer via internet from work. I like to do wake-on-demand which lead me to DD-WRT anyway... 3) That's what I like to try, although I don't know netatalk. 4) No. Question: With a router and DD-WRT, would that be able to mount a HFS+ HDD? Or does that rely on hardware? – DaPhil Mar 22 '13 at 16:01
  • See this page for USB support on DDWRT:dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/USB Good luck! – zwerdlds Mar 22 '13 at 17:33

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