MAC’s Time Machine backup is the ultimate backup solution. In its own way, it’s as revolutionary as the introduction of graphical interface was a couple of decades ago. It defies any comparison to any Windows backup utilities or software, and is completely unique. It provides the complete solution to backing up files by making the whole process both intuitive and fully automatic.

In a nutshell, the Time Machine creates a “snapshot” of your system and then makes it possible for you to “go back in time” and retrieve a setting, program, folder or file from any time in the past – be it last week or last year. Technically, it’s a system that makes incremental backups – it makes a complete copy of your system, and then when there is any change it backs it up.

The Time Machine runs conveniently in the background, and within a 24-hour period makes backups every hour. At the start of each following 24-hour period, you then start with a full backup from the day before, and the process starts over again. Daily backups are each saved for a full month. At the end of each month, the system saves the last backup in increments of a week. So you can access any backup older than one month during that week.

The amount of storage space used by the Time Machine is dependent on the capacity of the external storage device used for saving your backups. If, for instance you have used about 80 GB of your Mac’s hard drive, a 1 TB external drive would let you save almost three months worth of backed-up data. In effect, if today were September 8, 2010, you would have the ability to retrieve files or programs from as far back as June 21, 2010. As your backup device becomes full, the oldest data is discarded in order to make space for the more recent.

As soon as your new external drive is plugged into your Mac, the Time Machine plugs itself into it immediately. The initial backup will obviously take some time, but after that you can let tit just do its thing in the background. You’ll see an icon at the top of your desktop on the main menu bar. When the Time Machine is bust backing up, the icon, which is in the shape of a small clock, will appear to run backwards. To enter the main program, simply click on the icon.

Retrieving a lost file is a simple process. Just open the folder where it was located, open Mac’s Time Machine backup, and you’ll see a number of Mac folders in decreasing sizes open up. Open the window that contains the program or file that you want to restore by clicking on the time bar, on the right hand side, then then click on the object you want to restore, and it will immediately be restored to its original location. If you have a more recent version of a file, you can choose not to overwrite it, but to instead save two versions. If you can’t recall the file’s original location, just use the Spotlight finder and then start up the Time Machine.