If you read our coverage of the Windows Home Server 2011 Release Candidate launch, you’ll have seen that we were surprised to see the lack of full Time Machine support for Macs. Microsoft have developed a Windows Home Server Connector for Macs, as well as a Launchpad application – there’s even a Backup option in the Mac Launchpad that will take you through to the Time Machine configuration dialog. But try as you might, Windows Home Server cannot be discovered as a Time Machine backup disk, and that’s certain to be the case in the final release too, I’ve been told.
A relatively complex workaround is available, and has been neatly documented in various corners of the web, including here, but this involves hacking around a little to get Time Machine to recognise SMB shares, a step that Microsoft have not automated in Windows Home Server 2011. What Microsoft have done is to extend the Windows Home Server SDK platform to the Mac – which means that Windows Home Server add-ins can be built to work with Apple’s client operating system, as well s Windows.
That’s how Time Machine Backups are going to be enabled in Windows Home Server 2011.
Microsoft contacted us last week to introduce us to a Canadian company called Orbital Technologies, who are developing a free add-in for Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Small Business Server Essentials 2011 to enable Macs to backed up to either platform using Time Machine. The add-in, simply named Orbital Backup Configuration, adds a new option to the Mac Launchpad application allowing you to point to your server, or enter its location via an SMB path. The necessary magic will then happen under the hood to connect Time Machine to the server for backups.
Here are the first shots of the add-in in action:
Chatting to Orbital this week, the company confirmed that the add-in was likely to be made available for free and would be available as a download for all users. The add-in is now code complete, and will be undergoing private testing over the coming weeks before release around the same time as the final builds of Windows Home Server 2011 and Windows Small Business Server Essentials 2011 are issued.
Whilst I’m sure there will be those that wonder why native Time Machine backup was not included in the platform, Orbital Technologies’ forthcoming add-in makes enabling the feature a simple matter, and provides a great showcase for Windows Home Server’s extensibility.
[sws_green_box box_size=”540"] Update: The add-in has now been released. Download [/[/sws_green_box]p>