Mac Laptop Backup - via network over windows shared folder

Ram Kumar Chellam
Ram Kumar Chellam used Ask the Experts™
Dear Support,

Good Day,

We have around 15 Mac Laptop on our Org., need to take backup via the network to windows shared folder... please guide me how to do that.

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Mac computers running on macOS (10.12 or higher) have built-in support to access Windows shared folder via SMB protocol over TCP/IP networks, and the Windows file servers can be automatically discovered by Finder on the same local subnet.

what you do just simply share the folders on your Windows computer side, as what you do with for sharing folders with other Windows computers. if you don't know how to do this, please advise and i will share some how-to articles with you.
Ram Kumar ChellamSr. System Administrator


Thanks for your support, please share the articles it will be easy for me to complete the job...
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If you're going to share Windows Files systems to multiple Macs, the first thing you must do with each mac user account on each mac system is to run:
defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
Otherwise, you're going to run into file and folder contention issues.  This will only reduce the issues, not eliminate them.

If you're just going to share it for backup only, with separate folder for separate users, it can work.  I also suggest that the shares be "hidden" from regular users by appending a $ to them so users don't just see everyone's share and go to them and attempt to open them up.

Sharing directly from Windows to a Mac is not ideal.  You may want to use a NAS, as they're generally linux based, so they have better SMB compatibility with Macs with SAMBA.  The newer Windows SMB gives Macs plenty of issues.  I don't recommend sharing Windows folders to multiple Mac users.  The SMB on Macs works better as a single home user share to their other computer.  I've seen plenty of problems arise when multiple users access the same share points.  It's currently developed more for home sharing than for multiuser corporate access.
Ram ..the short answer is DON'T DO IT.  You really cannot use a Windows Shared Folder as a reliable destination to backup Mac OSX computers. I assume this is what you're looking to do .. backup the OSX computers onto the Windows Shared Folder .. not mount a Windows share on the Mac Computers.

If you want to backup a few files and folders perhaps it will be acceptable but NOT the full user Home Folder or an entire Mac System backup.

If you've 15 Macs with OSX to backup I'd recommend a Linux based NAS or Server such as those by QNAP, Synology etc. as they are MUCH more compatible with OSX and designed for network file sharing and to allow Time Machine for example to backup from every Mac to the one server.  You'll need a VERY large capacity to backup 15 Macs with Time Machine .. 1-2TB per mac

Do you have a budget? While there are many cloud backup solutions which are fairly cheap, I have used for a LONG time and still use Retrospect (  I do not work for them, but have used their software to back up Windows, Linux and Macs to a private server. It will encrypt backups, and run them at night and shutdown (if desired) the system after backed up.

It does full and incremental backups, and has just about every option you could want in a backup system.  And it does indeed backup Macs to a Windows volume, but it knows about the issues and handles the files correctly. I have not tested it with Mojave yet, but if not compatible, it will be soon.

It is not cheap, and requires some learning to build your backup rules and scripts, but once running, you can mostly ignore it until you need to recover a file or a whole disk!
Ram Kumar ChellamSr. System Administrator


Dear Eoin OSullivan,

IF i want to take backups of users files only to windows shared folder......
how to do that from 15 Mac....

waiting for your update..

IF you insist on doing it .. then you can either use the FREE command-line tools on OSX like rsync .. you can google RSYNC and OSX to see lots of examples how to setup and run the script .. automating it will require setting up a scheduled script on each Mac

Alternatively you can use software like Retrospect or Chronosync ( which have a nice interface and are easy to configure but will cost $$ per machine to install and use.  You might also try FreeFileSync -
You might also want to install rsnapshot and get multiple snapshots using deduplication, instead of just using rsync.  In a way, it's got more fine tuned controls than Time Machine, as you can limit and set how many snaphots you want to keep to keep total file usage down.

It might be easier to install homebrew to install it.
Once installed:
brew install rsnapshot

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