The price of HDD declined significantly last years. Today, you can afford a 2TB one for less than $100. Why not take this opportunity to increase the capacity of your Time Capsule?
For that matter, prefer a silent and energy efficient HDD (e.g. “green” products from Seagate, Samsung or Western Digital). These HDD rotate more often at 5400 rpm. That’s enough to do daily backups (not so IO intensive).
Here is a step by step procedure to change your Time Capsule disk in no more than 15 minutes!
Changing the disk
Please note that all data on your old drive will be lost. You’ll have to reconfigure your Mac’s Time Machine once you finished, and start a full backup.
Here is the underside of my Time Capsule
Unscrew all the visible screws (ten that fix the hull and four that fix the HDD) and lift the metal part. Be careful, a fan is attached to the part you are removing. If you don’t want to unplug the fan, place the metal part as in the following image.
Finally, plug and place the new disk in the same way than the old one. Stuck the temperature sensor, replace the metal part and screw it. Power your Time Capsule. The status light should blink in orange and, after a while, be fixed green.
Use the Apple Airport utility to configure your Time Capsule if necessary (disk tab once connected).
About disk partitioning
It may be useful when you want to share data on your network (public file depot) and use Time Machine backups. Partioning disk seems to be feasible, although more binding. I have not experienced myself (the adapter is missing), but some people already achieved this. You need:
- An USB to SATA adapter, recycled from an USB SATA disk drive or easily foundable on eBay.
- A Mac to format your disk with Mac OS partition table and type. I tried with Ubuntu, without success.
- Connect your disk to your adapter and plug the USB cable on your Mac.
- Open the MacOS Disk Utility or spotlight it. You should see your USB hard drive on the left panel. Select it.
- Click to the Partition tab, and create as many partition as your need in your Time Capsule.
Note that you have to choose Apple partition table to be recognized by your Time Capsule. You can use MacOS Extended (Journalized) as partition format, even though Time Capsule automatically format your partitions if it was not done or in wrong format. You can also name your partitions, they will be displayed by the Time Capsule.
- Unmount your USB disk from your Mac, unplug your hard drive from the adapter, and plug it into the Time Capsule.
- Once powered and connected to your network, display the Time Capsule settings via Airport Utility and go to the disk tab. You should see your partitions. You can access them with the finder by connecting to your Time Capsule.
Set the backup frequency
By default, the Time Machine backup frequency is set to 3600 seconds, i.e. one hour. You can set this value by opening a terminal and execute the following bash command:
sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 86400
Here, the backup frequency is set to 86400 seconds, i.e. one day.
You have to restart for this change to take effect.