By November 9, 2007

More AirPort Extreme AirDisk Issues

As you probably know, Apple quietly dropped support for doing Time Machine backups to USB-based hard drives connected to an AirPort Extreme.

What you may not know is why, and why more than Time Machine may be at risk.

According to information on Roughly Drafted, “The problem is that integrity cannot be guaranteed — the AirPort acknowledges receipt of the data before it’s actually written, and if power is interrupted, the disk disconnected, yadayadayada in the window between the Airport acknowledging receipt and the data actually getting written out to disk, [then] it’s gone forever with no way to recover it or even realize it’s gone missing.”

This was enough of an issue that Apple apparently decided not to support AirPort drives until the problem could be addressed.

By extension, it also means that if you’re using an AirPort drive you could still be at risk, even if you’re not using Time Machine. The mechanism for doing file transfers is the same for the Finder as it is for Time Machine, so it’s possible for your drive to have corrupted or incomplete data without your knowing it.

This could also be the basis for the AirDisk and iTunes problems reported by Jason D. O’Grady on ZDNet.

Given the above, I would not use AirPort-based AirDisks for critical data storage at this time.

Updates for Time Machine and AirPort are scheduled to be in 10.5.1, so let’s hope the problem is addressed soon.

[via Roughly Drafted]


This problem has been fixed. See: Time Machine And The AirPort Extreme: What You Need To Know


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  1. Michael Long says:

    That doesn’t “get it working”. That just let’s you use the drive and gives you the opportunity to experience the problem firsthand. See:
    Time Machine And “Unsupported” Disks