The promise of Time Machine is to be able to take your system back to the state it was in on a given date at a given time. It doesn’t just back up some pre-ordained set of data — it backs up the entire system state. The backup schedule seems to be fixed:
- hourly, for the last 24 hours
- daily, for the last month
- weekly, until your external hard disk fills up
It does need an external (or at least second) hard disk to work, but that’s just good practice anyway. The schedule is one I can certainly get along with, too.
Setting it up answered a few of my questions. You can use a disk with data already on it, and it won’t expire the non-Time Machine data. The first back-up is complete, of course, so be sure you have lots of time on your hands and if you’ve got a laptop you’ll probably want it plugged in. If it takes more than an hour to do the initial full backup it will do an incremental backup right away to catch any changes made in the meantime.
I haven’t had much of a chance to play with the roll-back and restore functionality. With some luck I’ll be able to play with that over the next few days. It has a bit too much eye candy for my taste, but I can handle it if the software does its job well.