How To's & GuidesBacking up a Mac with an HP MediaSmart EX485...

Backing up a Mac with an HP MediaSmart EX485 or EX487


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Now that the new HP MediaSmart Servers are shipping, I thought I would post something on how to configure your Apple Mac to use Time Machine to back up to your Windows Home Server.

Time Machine is an application that comes preinstalled on a Mac that allows you to backup everything on your computer – a bit like WHS. This includes documents, photos, applications, and more. Time Machine takes hourly backups of your computer and will keep those backups for 24 hours, daily backups for a month and weekly backups until your backup disk becomes full up.

This is essentially a walk-through from installing the software on the Mac, to performing your first backup.

There are a few important things to note however before continuing on.

1 – the Apple Mac needs to be running Mac OS X 10.5 or later.

2 – you need an HP MediaSmart EX485 or EX487, the for previous versions will not work until HP release the software update and there is currently no dates for this.

3 – Backing up a Mac doesn’t work in quite the same way as a Windows client, which I will come onto in a moment, and there is no way to do a complete system restore onto a Mac from WHS, again which I will cover in a moment.

4 – it is assumed that you have already set up your Windows Home Server and configured it just as you would have previously.

Ok, so here goes….

The first thing you need to do, is check that you have Administrator rights on the Mac. To do this, click System Preferences, Accounts and ensure that the Allow user to administer this computer is checked.

Once this is done just pop the Software Installation Disc that came with the MediaSmart into your Mac. Double click on the Install HP MediaSmart Server Software.pkg icon.

Click Continue on the Welcome Screen, then read the EULA and click Continue again, then assuming that you agree with the EULA (you have to otherwise you cannot continue) click Agree.

You now have the option to change the install location should you really want to. When you have changed it, should you want to, click Install.

You will need to enter your Mac account password and then click OK.

The installation will now commence and should only take a moment or two. When it has completed you will see the Installation completed successfully screen – just click Close to finish.

This will bring up the Preferences windows. Enter the name of your WHS and also the Server password.

If it connects successfully you will see the word Authenticated appear above the Apply button. If it fails you will see Validation Error. Just enter the details again. If it still fails, and you are sure that the details are correct, just check that the WHS is online and that your Mac is connected to the network.

The next step is to configure the amount of space that will be used to backup your Mac.

Enter the amount of backup disk space you want to use in GB and click the Apply button. This will then prepare your WHS. Depending on the size you selected this might take a few moments.

Picture 14

You will the be asked if you want to use “Backup to HP MediaSmart Server” to back up using Time Machine. Click Use as Backup Disk to continue.

Picture 15

And that is is – Time Machine will now be used to backup your Mac to your WHS.

There is nothing else you need to do, the first backup will start within an hour. When your Mac is backing up, you will be able to see the progress.

Picture 26

Just as you had with backing up your Windows clients, the first time you backup your Mac it could take a long time, so be patient.

If you want to see information about your backups, for example, when the last backup took place, or when the next backup is due, just open Time Machine.

Picture 28

Time Machine will just continue to run in the background for you.

When you want to restore from Time Machine, you get a cool looking view which allows you to switch between backups and select the files you want to restore.

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As I mentioned earlier, you cannot restore the entire computer in the same way as you can with Windows clients and WHS. If you want or need to restore your Mac, you must first install the Mac OS, then the HP MediaSmart Server Client software, select the disk called Backup to the HP MediaSmart Server in the Preference window and then run Time Machine, selecting the backup you want to restore.

It is important to note as well that the backups are stored on your WHS in a shared folder called Mac, your Mac doesn’t show up on the Computers and Backups tab. It is also important to note that by default, the Mac shared folder has duplication turned off, so if your backups are important to you, you should consider switching on folder duplication for the folder.

If you open the folder, you will see a file the size that you created earlier.

mac folder

And that is pretty much
it. It is simple to install, configure and use to make sure that your Mac clients are backed up, and the restore process is straightforward as well. It is a shame that it doesn’t work in quite the same way for the Mac as it does for Windows, but at least you have everything you need to get your Mac back up and running in the event of a major problem.

Andrew Edney
Andrew Edney
I am the owner and editor of this site. I have been interested in gadgets and tech since I was a little kid. I have also written a number of books on various tech subjects. I also blog for The Huffington Post and for FHM. And I am honoured to be a Microsoft MVP since January 2008 - again this year as an Xbox MVP.


  1. Turning on Duplication on the Mac share seems to lead to false "Disk health Failure" warnings on the server. I belive it's from the files used by Time Machine being "locked" for longer than an hour (the Home Server 'checks' the disk health hourly, and if it can't access the files it reports a disk failure).

    I haven't read many opinions on backing up multiple Macs to the Home Server. Do you create a seperate volume for each Mac or just share the same one on each machine?

    So far the Mac implementation seems a little clunky and not very well supported.

  2. Once I create a size for the backup disk and click create, it takes a few seconds to format, and then the "Backup Disk Status" starts spinning and reads "starting"… for a VERY long time… over 2 hours… is that normal for 125GB of space?

    • Bill – no, that is not right! I just created a brand new 125 GB backup disk on my Macbook, it took about 10 – 15 minutes to create and about 2 seconds to start! Try deleting and starting again?

    • I have the same problem, one mac backs up to HP 485 without a problem, but the other stalls on "starting…".

      • I had this problem and discovered that one of the HP applications "hpVDproxy" wasn't set to "Allow incoming connections" in the Firewall. (System Preferences – Security) Changed the setting and instant connection.

  3. Andrew,

    I'm not a big fan of Time Machine since you can't set the save interval. I'd like it to save less often than every hour. I like to run my backups at night.

    So, that said, I'm interested in whether SuperDuper might work via network backup. Any idea Mr. WHS wiz?

    Also, what is the disk format the WHS uses that allows for windows and mac to save to it. I've noticed some chatter about a new NTFS version that is mutually compatible. Is that used in this case?

    Thanks man.

    • Hi Ed. I cant say I have tried SuperDuper but when I find some time I will give it a go and let you know 🙂
      As for the disk format that is used, its a version of NTFS designed for WHS, or rather tweaked for WHS.

      • Hey Andrew,

        I just wanted to follow up and let you and everybody else know about the backup system I set up.

        First of all, you actually can use a free app called Time Machine Editor to modify the backup schedule for Time Machine.

        The purpose of these backups is solely for user accounts and their documents and data. Quick access to anything I need now.

        Since I'm a big believer in always having a clean as well as an ongoing clone, I am able to use SuperDuper to backup over the network on a scheduled basis. You have to create a sparse image to do so. The app will auto mount, backup, unmount, and quit.

        If I ever need to restore, all I need to do is clone one of these SD images to a USB or FW external drive and then clone to my internal drive and I'm back in business. If the drive failed, I could just work from the external till my new one comes in.

        So I'm running two macs with three windows virtual machines (using VMware Fusion). All have easy seamless backups, enabling me to recover very quickly from anything catastrophic.

        My next step is off-site redundancy, I plan to get another 1.5 TB drive and use it to back up everything on my WHS drives and then store off-site.

        I've gotta say, the WHS is an awesome solution.

        Take er easy,


  4. I get validation failed every time I enter the WHS name and password. I typed it in correctly and i can connect to it via RDC or the media smart app…any ideas?

  5. Yes, same here Authentication using the HP MSS control center preferences fails to log into the backup volume. SMB file sharing works fine. Any thought on why the authentication is failing?

    • Im not sure to be honest – have you tried contacting HP support about it? I hate to suggest it but it is their server and their application, so maybe they might have some insight, if you can find the right person to talk to.

  6. I'm having an issue as well that I haven't been able to find a solution to on other websites.

    Using the new lx195 (640 gigs stock…but I added another 150) server I can create a mac backup disk no larger than 80 gigs (I need about 200) before it gives me a warning to clear more space. The only problem is I have over 400 gigs of free space. Is there a rule where you can allocate no more than 20% of your free hard drive space for the mac file or something?

    One website said they had a solution and that was to turn off folder duplication…but I have never had it turned on.

    I was wondering if anyone has run into this problem and has found a solution before I drop another hundred dollars on an external hard drive in vain.

  7. My issue is that sometimes the Media server share that has the backup mounts automatically while other times it doesn't. I can manually mount the music, photo, etc, but not the one that is HP Media Server that the backup goes to.

    Any ideas how I can mount it every time?

  8. Hi there,

    Just to add to this thread, I have two Windows pc's and two macs all backing up to one ex485 and its a great solution. I had a bit of trouble on the mac side, but the authentication was cured by looking at security in system preferences and then allowing the firewall to accept the media server. I think that I deleted some keychains via the keychain utility as it kept remembering an incorrect password. This then worked great. i find that as you start up a mac you have to give it a few minutes to "mount" the drive and a bit longer to start the backup but unless it tells you there is a problem, leave well alone.

    It is a bit annoying that you have to dedicate an specific amount of drive space up front wheras the windows will just grow over time but it still means that one device does all.

    As stated I set the same thing up again for another mac and just had to dedicate some more hard drive space for that too and I notice there are two folders in the "mac" share.

    I understand that there is a V3 update to the software which has more mac features, lloking forward to seeing that soon

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