Time Capsule Factory Reset 2TB Wi-Fi model A1409 4th Gen

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Stopped the press and fixed Time Capsule and Time Machine backups !!

I've been doing so many changes on the website and it isn't live yet, so decided I better get my backups in order before I have a data loss. I was down to 1 Time Machine backup which I don't think is enough. I usually have 3 seperate backups.

I have this old Time Capsule 2TB Wi-Fi model A1409 4th Gen that I got for $80 over 5 years ago on ebay and it wasn't working well, wasn't backing up, wasn't seeing internal or USB external hard drive. I was manaully backing up which works for awhile, then I forget or get busy and don't backup and just asking for data loss. Automated backup is much better and Time Machine works well for me, its built in and automatic and free with Mac OSX. I tried a few fixit things on the old Time Capsule model A1409 and finally did a factory reset of the Time Capsule and set it up again. The Time Capsule magically shows up in Airport Utility on my Mac OSX systems even though it is not wired into any network and doesn't have wifi setup, that is super nice, thank you Apple! As often happens, it took less time to factory reset and then re-set it up thru the Airport Utility than it did to mess with it and think about how to fix it. For awhile I thought I was having some near fatal hardware issues, nope, the factory reset seemed to cure it for now. Its been running for 5 days solid without a hitch since I factory reset it.

Step by Step process to factory reset Time Capsule and setup Time Machine backup to external USB drive connected to Time Capsule:

  1. 2021-11-29 Did a hard reset by holding the reset button in for 5 seconds on the back of the Time Capsule A1409 until the LED starts to flash rapidly. This is just a hard reset not a factory reset.

  2. Open Airport Utility on Mac OSX. The Time Capsule does not need a wired or wifi network connection for this to work.

  3. Upper left corner of Airport Utility it says Other Wi-Fi devices.

  4. At this point, changed my mind. I need to do a FULL factory reset because the Time Capsule has been so unstable.

  5. Do a Factory Reset by unplugging the A1409 Time Capsule, press and hold the reset button, then while still pressing the button, plug in the power cable. A little tricky to do both of these at once, yes, it can be done.

  6. The LED flashes rapidly.

  7. Open Airport Utility on the Mac. In the upper left hand of Airport Utility it says Other Wi-Fi devices

  8. Watch it for a few seconds. Now it says Other Wi-Fi devices (1) it will change to (1)

  9. click Other Wi-Fi devices (1)

  10. Mine said: Airport Time Capsule (a unique #)

  11. Click the image of the Time Capsule. I Renamed mine the following because of my Norwegian heritige. Network Name: Norwegian Network Base Station Name: Norske Airport Time Capsule

  12. Setup Stein2.4 and Stein5 for regular network and 5Ghz wifi networks but this is not necessary because of the next step

  13. Put the Time Capsule into Bridge mode in the Airport Utility. So it does not do DHCP

  14. click Save. Wait 2 minutes

  15. On Mac open Disk Utility. Plug external drive into the Mac. Format (erase) External Hard drive (be careful, triple check you have the right drive and only format erase this disk if you don't need any of that data on the disk. You know this, right!

  16. I named mine: 2TBeWD using Disk Utility on main Macbook Pro. e = external WD = Western Digital 2TB = 2 Terabytes

  17. If I remember right, I think I formatted with HPF+ file system

  18. Connect 2TBeWD Western Digital hard drive via USB port on back of Time Capsule

  19. Plug main network router, in my case my my main Deco5 ethernat CAT-5 cable from the DECO5 into the WAN port of the Time Capsule.

  20. Note: supposed to be gigabit ports on the back of the Time Capsule A1409

  21. Turned off WiFi on Time Capsule in Airport utility

  22. click Save. Wait 2 minutes

  23. I also use the Time Capsule for a network switch so I plug in stereo, and TV into the Time Capsule switched ports. There are 5 total including the WAN port

  24. Go to my main Macbook Pro click and open Time Machine in Sytem Preferences

  25. In Time Machine, click Add or Remove a Backup Disk ...

  26. It will now see the newly formatted drive 2TBeWD

  27. Optional: I like this. Click Show Time Machine in menu bar

  28. In menu bar click the Time Machine clock icon then click Backup now. If it is the only disk it will start backing up.

  29. I have a 1.45TB of data on my 2TB SSD disk to backup. I know it will take awhile. Pretty slow at backing up, I think, others think this is pretty fast.

  30. 5 days later 1TB is backed up. It does about 100GB during the day and 100GB at night. So far it has stayed connected the entire time.

  31. Relax and let it run for 7 days and nights. The backup completed on Saturday morning. I started it on Tuesday afternoon. So 4 days.

How to backup to Internal Time Capsule drive

  1. Connect the internal Time Capsule drive to Time Machine using the Time Machine utility on the Mac and start click Backup Now

  2. Had already named the internal drive 2TBTCint although a better name is 2TBiTC i=internal 2TB = 2 Terabytes TC = Time Capsule

  3. Trouble with Time Machine. It will not backup successfully to this old internal Time Capsule drive. Won't complete.

  4. Formatted internal Time Capsule 2TB drive using Airport Utility.

  5. Beware and reminder: Formatting a drive deletes everything on your internal dive. You all know that, right? Now the newly formatted drive connected fine to Time Machine.

    Relax, in 4 days 2nd full TM backup will be finished. Should be done by Thursday AM or even Wednesday evening.

Started new 2nd Time Machine backup to newly formatted internal Time Capsule drive Saturday early afternoon,

Update 1 (2 days later)
By Monday 343GB out of 1.43 TB backed up
Update 2 (5 days later)
Thursday evening at 9pm and 1.07 TB of 1.43 TB is backed up.
Says there are 18 hours left

Feel better Now

  1. Now have 3 full Time Machine backups + I rsync all my photos to a 1TB internal SSD drive manually. I like rsync too because I can access the files directly without going thru a time machine app. Less secure though, but easy to access backed up files.
  2. I probably should buy a 2TB internal for my macbook pro and backup to that also.