Time Machine with Network drive

I just upgraded my mac book pro from tiger to leopard and was very excited about TimeMachine (only to find out moments later that it only works with attached drives – USB or firewire). After struggling a little and googling, I found following solution. Although, it worked for me, its not a documented way, so be careful and try it at your own risk.0. Make sure that timeMachine is set to off

1. Mount your network drive (check step-5 if you are getting error in mounting)

2. Change the preferences by running following command (open iTerm or other shell)
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

3. Now activate the time machine

4. You will now be able to select your network drive.

5. In case, you loose your network mount, you will need to reset the preference set in step-2, by running following command (open iTerm or other shell)
defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 0

For more detail, read this

~ by sxm20 on December 10, 2007.

38 Responses to “Time Machine with Network drive”

  1. what a tip…. thanks!

  2. Thanks this helped me alot!

  3. does this really work! if it does you guys are my heroes!

  4. Great tip. Thanks

  5. Very nice! you’ve been stumbled. Awesome Thanks for posting this info. I bought a 1TB network-only drive from Western Digital that I can’t use. I’ll try this and see if it does the trick. I wonder though, what will happen if I want to use this with my Macbook Pro? I will “loose” the mount point every time I unplug from my network, right? like when I leave home, and come back later. Will I then have to redo this?

  6. […] found this blog post detailing how to set up Time Machine to work with network drives. Very helpful, […]

  7. Thank you very much!

  8. […] https://smangal.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/time-machine-with-network-drive/ […]

  9. What does this mean “running the following command”? How do I do this?

  10. Hi SaS,

    You do that on command line (any preferred shell, e.g. iTerm or Console). I modified the post also.


  11. gotta keep in mind that Mac OSX will not write to an NTFS formatted disk! other than that, great tip! thanks!

  12. Excellent, saved me a bundle, was getting ready to buy TimeCapsule to replace my MiniMax drive – connected to my AirportExtreme. Works like a charm – thanks!

  13. Thanks for the tip. Will try when I get my network server back up and running again.

  14. Thanks for this great tip!

    Now does anyone have a method to get Time Machine writing to NTFS disks?

  15. Wow-great tip!!!!!!!

  16. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  17. im sorry im missing something !, i did the above command the x11 console on my macbook air, and when i entered this line all i got back was the following ;

    <.apple.systempreferences tmshowunsupportednetworkolumes 0
    unknown001f5bd4d91f:~ subhaspatel$

    im trying to configure my backup to a shared network drive, which was formatted on winxp. will this workl ?


  18. Important hint! But it wouldn’t work with my existing backups.
    This needed one more trick. Found the solution here:


  19. […] Basic Method (essentially a quick terminal tweak to show “unsupported” drives) […]

  20. Thanks so much for this…does anyone know if there is a way to use Time Machine with a Mybook World Edition? As far as I can tell, it doesn’t use FAT or NTFS…

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  21. ^^You have to make a spare bundle in order for it to work…

  22. […] Time Machine with Network drive […]

  23. […] https://smangal.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/time-machine-with-network-drive/ […]

  24. good tip, thanks a lot!

  25. it is great that time machine will now reconize my drive but when i try to back it up it wont there is aways the error the backup disk image could not be created what is happining

  26. You beauty. I have just bought a belkin n+ modem router with usb drive connection and this worked a treat. Many thanks to you.

  27. Brilliant!! My Lacie Network Space is now working with time machine – 30mins tryng myself, 1 minute on google and 30s using your help. Thanks.

    • Correction….I can see my drive but after ten minutes of trying Time Machine gives up. NOt HFS+ and so no go 😦

      • Try reformatting and partitioning the drive. Partitioning drives with a single partition sometimes seems to work. Dunno why. Read about it somewhere. It certainly worked with my drive.

  28. No go for me either, the command lets TM see the share, but since it’s an EXT2 FS on a DLINK NAS (DNS-323) it starts, tries, then fails.

  29. Hello,

    Thanks for the tip. I have come a long way. I have a Macbook Pro. I can connect the networkdrive (a Lacie Network Space) to Time Machine, but each time I get an error from Time Machine. “Backup cannot be made.” Should the network drive be formated? Who van assist?

  30. Thanks for tip! You just save me 🙂

  31. Wont work with Leppard.. IDK what to do.. It just fails… Any way to partition the drive to the correct format?

  32. […] https://smangal.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/time-machine-with-network-drive/ […]

  33. […] Completely copied from https://smangal.wordpress.com/2007/12/10/time-machine-with-network-drive/ […]

  34. Seems to be working with my Lacie Networkspace 500GB. Thanks!

  35. Thanks for the tip! Works like a charm 🙂

    Use it with this advice if you aren’t sure how to map a network drive on OSX to reconnect on startup:

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