Time Machine: Vista Previous Versions are now making their way into Mac OS X Leopard…


Mac OS X Leopard incorporates now a previous versions feature called Time Machine – similar with something that we added in Windows Server 2003 a while back, and recently in Windows Vista as well.


If you just read the text at http://www.apple.com/macosx/leopard/timemachine.html it looks a lot with what Vista already offers as well – automatic backup of your whole system at night, ability to use an external drive for your backups (Vista can also backup to a DVD-RW), ability to restore any file by going back in time, etc.


However, their UI is very interesting – it is a Flip3D-like browser of previous versions of your file system.


P.S. Time Machine? Funny enough – when we designed the Previous Versions feature in Windows Server 2003 back in 2001, the code name of our product was Timewarp.

Comments (9)

  1. I’m likely to get flamed for this, but I don’t care. Apple has Vista envy. I’m looking at pictures of…

  2. sam says:

    Since Vista is in many ways an effort to catch up with OS X, particularly in its highly derivative UI and look-and-feel, I see this move by Apple as an attempt to close whatever gaps might exist once it’s released.

  3. Olpus says:

    Ok, i may sound as a Mac Evangelist, but Steve said that they did not revealed all the new features of Leopard. The features seen yesterday might be the worst of the group…

  4. Jamie says:

    So you are taking credit for a file versioning system?

    Thats funny.

    Lets be serious for a second here. File versioning has been in OS’s for 20 years.  Time Machine is a different take on the UI, and one which I may add, makes it far easier for the average user to, well, use than Vista does.

    Apples take on the UI is exactly what makes Apple Apple.  Take an existing technology or idea and actually make it useful through clever innovation on the UI side of things and the metaphor.  

  5. John Ericson says:

    What’s up with the URL to Timewarp? It points to http://www.timewarp.org.uk/. That can’t be correct, right? I don’t find any MS related on that site.

  6. AdiOltean says:

    >>> What’s up with the URL to Timewarp? It points to http://www.timewarp.org.uk/. That can’t be correct, right? I don’t find any MS related on that site.

    No, actually it is the correct link 🙂

    Timewarp is just a code name, as Longhorn was the code name for Windows Vista, or Whistler was the code name for Windows Server 2003 (Longhorn, Whistler are unrelated with Microsoft of course).

  7. AdiOltean says:

    >>> So you are taking credit for a file versioning system? Thats funny.

    You are apparently confusing File Versioning with Snapshot technology. They apper differently to the user, and are implemented very differently under the cover. Snapshots are performed on a regular basis (for example daily) and unrelated with actual file change patterns.

    And yes, both file versioning and snapshot technologies were around for the last 20-30 years in various software products (if I remember correctly, IBM introduced snapshots in their mainframes a very long time ago). What didn’t happen until recently was making these technologies accessible for average users.

    Windows Server 2003 was the first OS that brought this feature to the masses, by enabling fast recovery of any file for regular users through a simple right-click in Windows Explorer. For one thing it saved millions of dollars in IT cost reduction, simply because corporate users are not calling anymore their IT administrators for every single file that needs to be recovered. Our customers love this feature – that’s why we decided to port it to Vista as well…

  8. AdiOltean says:

    One more thing to be mentioned for those unfamiliar with the previous Previous Versions feature as it was introduced in WS03. This feature is mainly intended for average corporate users running XP or W2K on their boxes, and wanting to recover files from network shares implemented on top of Windows Server 2003. In other words, you _don’t_ need to run Windows Server on your own machine in order to use this feature.

    More details here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/overview/scr.mspx

    Vista is even more powerful – through a simple right-click, you can recover previous versions from either WS03 network shares OR from your local machine. With the same UI, of course.

  9. Wes says:

    What seems to be unique to Time Machine, however, is that it removes the necessity for the user to understand exactly where/how any specific app stores the data. For example, in the Address Book demo, Time Machine is able to search backwards through the contents of a single database file to find the deleted entry. In other restore schemes, the user would have to 1) know where the app stores the data, and the name of said file, and 2) have a general idea of the date when the deletion occurred.

    If the user did not know when the deletion occurred, s/he would have to go through a lot of trial-and-error to restore a file, open it in the app, see if the item is present, and if so, export it to a single file, restore the original database, and import the deleted item. That is a lot of work that Time Machine obviates through its implementation.