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Old Jun 10, 2012, 10:56 PM   #1
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Time Machine backup external hard drives?

I'm thinking of switching to a 13" Macbook Air.

The problem is, I am a photographer, and therefore have a massive photo/video library.

Currently my Macbook Pro has a 750GB HDD AND a 120GB SSD both inside (I took out my optical drive), so it's not an issue.

So if this were to work, I'd need to keep them on an external hard drive.

However will Time Machine backup my external hard drive as well?

Or does anyone have any other suggestions for how to make a setup like this work?

Thank you very much!!!
Retina MBP. iPhone 6. iPad Air.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:41 PM   #2
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Anyone know?
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Old Jun 12, 2012, 05:47 AM   #3
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TM will backup external HDDs as long as they are formatted as "Mac OS Extended (HFS+)" and not excluded from the Exclude List in System Preferences > Time Machine > Options.

Time Machine FAQ

I have one 500 GB HDD for my photographs (digital and analog) libraries and editing documents, one 500 GB HDD with my personal video footage in an editing friendly format.
Both 500 GB HDDs get backed up to one 1 TB HDD via CarbonCopyCloner.
And that 1 TB HDD gets backed up to another 1 TB HDD via CarbonCopyCloner.
Therefore I have three copies of my important data.
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Old Nov 29, 2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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to the OP , Im in a similar position now and came across this post. just wondering how you go on with this set up?

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Old Jan 23, 2013, 11:09 PM   #5
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TimeMachine will backup anything, any drive, including externals and thumb drives as long as they are not in the Exclusion list on the TimeMachine options.
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Old Jan 24, 2013, 01:17 AM   #6
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Open up Time Machine preferences from the System Preferences or Menu icon.

and make sure HDD is plugged in, click on Options and if its in the exclusion list, simply select the drive and click the '-' icon to remove it and it will back it up.
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Old Feb 15, 2013, 07:37 AM   #7
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How about restoring just the computer

Hi all,

I am also a photographer and my laptop was stolen in London.

I am getting a new one today but I am facing a conundrum:

My old macbook air and external hard drive (which contained the majority of my photos) were both backed up to a 1TB external hard drive on time machine.

But only the macbook was stolen. Does anyone know if I must have my external hard drive connected when I restore my mac from time machine? Or does it differentiate between the two? I feel like it would be unnecessary (and slow) to back up both. Plus the chance for failure is higher, since there's no reason for me to completely wipe my external hard drive just to restore all the data that is already on it...


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Old Feb 19, 2013, 10:42 PM   #8
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I tried this set up with an external HDD connected to my 128GB rMBP. Unfortunately, Time Machine attempts to backup my ENTIRE external drive every time it's connected to my Mac.

This seems to happen because the most recent backup happened when the external HDD was not attached, so Time Machine apparently thinks the external is "new" every time. Like, Time Machine doesn't remember it backed up the external a few days ago! How can I fix this???
27-inch iMac [Late 2013, 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, 8GB of memory, 256GB of flash storage], iPad Air [16GB, silver], iPhone 6 Plus [64GB, space gray], Time Capsule [1TB, A1355, 3rd Generation]
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Old Jul 27, 2013, 08:34 PM   #9
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What to Do if My External Hard Drive is in the Time Machine Excluded List?

I saw earlier that someone said that you can back up an external hard drive to Time Machine as long as it's not in the excluded list. Unfortunately, my external hard drive is in the excluded list and I have tons of irreplaceable files on it already so therefore can't wipe it and reformat it (I think). I tried to remove it from the exclusion list with no luck: the minus link is grayed out for it. Any suggestions?
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