As you use your Mac, you may have noticed an application called Time Machine either on your dock or in your applications folder. Time Machine is a very simple tool on the Mac which allows you to take an external hard drive and make an exact backup of your computer. Not only will Time Machine make a backup of your Mac if you should ever have a computer failure but it will also keep versions of your Mac. Let’s say you accidentally delete an important document and emptied the trash. Without Time Machine that file is gone. With Time Machine, you can go back in time and find that file and restore it.
How to Get Started
- Locate and select Time Machine in your System Preferences
- If you have never used Time Machine it will be turned off. Click the button to On
- If the On/Off button is grayed out, you will need to click the padlock at the bottom to make changes
- Once Time Machine is turned on, press the Select Disk button. Select the external hard drive you plan to use (be sure the external hard drive is connected)
- Once you have selected your external hard drive, you can select Options and pick anything you might want to exclude from your backup. Most of the time just leave the default setting unless your hard drive is not big enough and you need to remove some things like applications.
- Before you close this screen, select the “Show Time Machine in the Menu bar” option. It will show at the top in your menu bar (this is for ease of access).
- Close the window and in several minutes to an hour. Depending on the size of your files, your back up will be finished. Let the backup finish completely.
- Keep your external hard drive connected as much as possible each day to be sure you are saving multiple versions of your computer and documents
Access Deleted Files from Time Machine
- Click the Time Machine icon in the menu bar at the top
- Select Enter Time Machine
- Navigate to the day/week/month when the file existed and restore that item back to your Mac
- Quit Time Machine and resume normal activity