Time Machine with Iomega iConnect

Posted on April 7, 2010

Time Machine logoOk this is an unexpected post, but I just came across an issue with my brand new Iomega iConnect (USB NAS adapter) when I wanted to configure Time Machine on it. It’s a device that allows you to turn USB drives into networked storage areas, you can plug up to 4 USB drives into it. Actually, the Time Machine support was a key point in my decision to buy the Iomega iConnect. I really wanted my macbook to backup on the air and behind the scene without having to plug my external HDD every day.

For what I’ve seen, the Iomega iConnect works fine for HDDs and printers, just plug them and it works right away. But if you want to use your drive as a Time Machine disk, it’s a bit more techy to achieve. But not that long.

First, I didn’t managed to do anything by plugging in my external HDD that already contained my macbook’s backup. Every time I was trying to launch a backup operation, I had an error like it’s not possible to mount the disk image.

Then, I tried to format my eHDD several times to start over from a pure and virgin basis. Every time I had the same error messages as above.

Finally, I found the trick on the Internet (this one worked good for me). These are the steps I followed to work it out (on 10.5 Leopard):

1. Mount my external HDD by plugging it to your macbook. Format it with a single partition taking all the space in HFS+.

2. Open Disk Utility, click on New Image. Then, fill as follows:

Configuration for Disk Utility

  • Save As: $NameOfYourComputer_$macAddress (in my case, something like that: Cyril-Macbook_0123456789)
  • Where: although I’ve not tried, it’s said that it doesn’t work to choose a network location here. I chose my eHDD root.
  • Volume Name: whatever you want, I chose “Cyril-Macbook Time Machine”
  • Volume Size: the size must be less than the available space on your eHDD (for example my eHDD has a 149.1Go capacity, I chose 149Go for the Volume Size value)
  • Volume Format: I chose Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled)
  • Encyrption: none
  • Partitions: no partition map
  • Image Format: spare bundle disk image

And create the disk.

3. Unmount your eHDD from your computer, and plug it into the iConnect.

4. Open http://iconnect/ on your favorite browser and set up your drive as a Time Machine disk. You can set up security settings by securing the access with username/password.

5. Open Time Machine preferences, your networked drive should appear in the list of available disks. Launch the first backup and it should be alright now. Note that the first backup is awfully slow with a wifi connection…

So far I’ve had no problems with this method 🙂 if you experience some, let me know.

Edit 22th may 2010: just got new MacBook Pro with Snow Leopard, and it wasn’t possible to use the same disk as a time machine, as the image’s name contains the MAC address (and everybody knows the mac address is different for every computer), so I did the same procedure on Snow Leopard and it worked too. Phew!

About the author

Cyril Mazur is a serial web entrepreneur with experience in various fields: online dating, forex & finance, blogging, online advertising... who enjoys building things that people like to use.