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Old Sep 29, 2011, 01:26 PM   #1
stark4
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Just bought an External HD to use with MBA

I just bought a WD Passport 1TB to use with my 13" MBA 128GB. I have few questions before i start using it.

1) Which file format should i use NTFS, FAT32, HFS to format the drive first before i use it? i want the drive to be able to read / write on Windows PC sometimes but don't want the 4gb limit. So which format is best for me?

2) How should i backup important files from my MBA? Should i use the Time Machine or Can i just do drag and drop manually? What's the advantage of using Time Machine instead of drag and drop manually?

Thanks
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 01:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
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1) Which file format should i use NTFS, FAT32, HFS to format the drive first before i use it? i want the drive to be able to read / write on Windows PC sometimes but don't want the 4gb limit. So which format is best for me?
If you format it NTFS then you will be able to read/write to PC but only read on Mac. If you format it to HFS+ then you will read/write to Mac, but not to PC. Sound like you need to format to what ever you will be read/writing to most and then use a program for the other system to be able to read/write to it occassionally.

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2) How should i backup important files from my MBA? Should i use the Time Machine or Can i just do drag and drop manually? What's the advantage of using Time Machine instead of drag and drop manually?
Time Machine gives you the added ability to restore from your TM backup.
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 01:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stark4 View Post
I just bought a WD Passport 1TB to use with my 13" MBA 128GB. I have few questions before i start using it.

1) Which file format should i use NTFS, FAT32, HFS to format the drive first before i use it? i want the drive to be able to read / write on Windows PC sometimes but don't want the 4gb limit. So which format is best for me?

2) How should i backup important files from my MBA? Should i use the Time Machine or Can i just do drag and drop manually? What's the advantage of using Time Machine instead of drag and drop manually?

Thanks
Here is what I do with my MBA. I got a 750GB just for Time Machine, and the 1TB (FAT32 format) is for drag and drop files such as, music, movies, back up apps, documents, ect...... That's the best way if you have an option for a second HDD. If you don't just do the drag and drop important files since you will be able to use the drive on both platform Mac and Windows. As for Time Machine you will be able only to use on Mac and it's not a drag and drop process it will just back up your whole computer for the first time and every other time back up what you have extra or made changes on your MBA. Make sense?
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 01:47 PM   #4
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I would format with exFAT. You can do that in Windows.
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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You can partition the external drive and then put whatever format you want on each partition. Mac OS Extended on the Time Machine partition and then NTFS or FAT on the PC partition depending on what your requirements are on the PC side. You can partition the drive with Disk Utility in OSX and you decide how big each partition needs to be.

I don't recommend however you travel with your TM backup in case you lose the gear or it gets stolen. Encrypt your entire SSD drive in the MBA with Lion FileVault (performance hit is practically nil) and then they only get your gear, not your data or passwords. Do a daily TM backup at home on a separate drive and leave it there. If you need to back up files on the road, get a USB key and copy the new or updated files to it. I just picked up a 64GB USB key for under a hundred bucks and it stays in my pocket. If you lose the MBA, you can recover at home in a heartbeat from the TM backup on a new Air. (been der' done dat')

I actually have my new 11" MBA doing a TM backup to the external drive connected to my 27" iMac. Works perfectly so far over wireless. External drive on the iMac is shared out so the MBA can see it and it keeps two separate TM backups on the drive for each system. No extra cost as I already had the drive doing a TM backup for the iMac. Cheers!

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Old Sep 29, 2011, 02:16 PM   #6
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how much was it? I want to get one too.
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 06:49 PM   #7
stark4
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i think it's better for me to just go with HSF file system then. i don't really use windows and i don't think i'll need to connect my external drive to PC. So if i use the Time Machine with my 1TB... can i store and drag and drop additional files because my MBA is only 128GB and my external drive is 1TB.

If so how do i get started? Can i just plug the USB cable from my brand new 1TB drive and start using Time Machine or do i need to use the Disk Utility and format it to HFS first? And i don't need to partition the drive right?


Thanks
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 07:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by stark4 View Post
i think it's better for me to just go with HSF file system then. i don't really use windows and i don't think i'll need to connect my external drive to PC. So if i use the Time Machine with my 1TB... can i store and drag and drop additional files because my MBA is only 128GB and my external drive is 1TB.

If so how do i get started? Can i just plug the USB cable from my brand new 1TB drive and start using Time Machine or do i need to use the Disk Utility and format it to HFS first? And i don't need to partition the drive right?


Thanks
Plug the HDD. Format it to whatever you want (HSF?). Partition it with one partition of 300gb (for time machine) and another for drag&dropping, storage space etc. Use the 300gb in the time machine app. you're good to go.
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 07:34 PM   #9
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I have a western digital external drive connected to my airport extreme. it is partitioned into two partitions 1/2 for time machine backups for my macbook pro and i use the other 1/2 as network attached storage. i seem to be able to save files to the storage portion and access the files from either my macbook pro or my win 7 machine. i've only used it for music and picture transfer so far so this may not work with any file, but seems to work fine for music and pictures.
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 07:43 PM   #10
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why do i need to partition 300GB for Time Machine? My MBA is only 128GB ...so 140GB for Time Machine is not enough?

Also why is it required to create a partition? i would rather use the 1TB by itself and use Time Machine and Store both in 1TB partition? Is it possible?

Thanks
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 08:05 PM   #11
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why do i need to partition 300GB for Time Machine? My MBA is only 128GB ...so 140GB for Time Machine is not enough?

Also why is it required to create a partition? i would rather use the 1TB by itself and use Time Machine and Store both in 1TB partition? Is it possible?

Thanks
If you use a partition for time machine, you can't use it for anything else. That's why you need to partition.
I thought 140gb at first, but time machine isn't just your 128gb. It will also have stuff you deleted, which means a lot more space needed. That's why I suggested 300gb.
Think of it like this: You watch a movie, you delete it, but it's still in your time machine. Even thought your SSD will have 1-5gb more space, your time machine partition won't. Get me?

edit: I have never used time machine before, but I think that's what happens. Anyone with more insight and experience can suggest a good proportion needed for a TM backup?
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Old Sep 29, 2011, 08:55 PM   #12
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This is what I do with my external drive too. Partition a big drive, one for TM, another for drag and drop. I am just wondering is there an app similar to SyncToy (PC app) to sync folders on two different drive?

When I use SyncToy, I use the "contribute" mode, so whatever new files is on thinkpad gets dump into the external HD.
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Old Sep 30, 2011, 12:57 AM   #13
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Just use ntfs, since you are going to use it in windows sometimes

They are several apps out there, that lets you write on ntfs partitions on a mac.

So the people saying you can only read external ntfs drives is bs
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Old Sep 30, 2011, 01:11 AM   #14
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No i think HFS is better for me because i'll be on Mac Most of the time.

Can someone confirm that Time Machine partition can only use for Time Machine and can't do drag and drop?

If that's the case i'll just format then whole drive with HFS and use it as Drag and Drop only to backup important files and forget about Time Machine.. I don't need the whole system image... do you guys think it'll make sense?

Thanks
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Old Sep 30, 2011, 01:36 AM   #15
ncarnall
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I have mine set as one partition using OS Extended (Journaled) and use it for time machine and can also drag and drop files without any issues.

Hope this is useful.
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Old Sep 30, 2011, 01:59 AM   #16
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No i think HFS is better for me because i'll be on Mac Most of the time.

Can someone confirm that Time Machine partition can only use for Time Machine and can't do drag and drop?

If that's the case i'll just format then whole drive with HFS and use it as Drag and Drop only to backup important files and forget about Time Machine.. I don't need the whole system image... do you guys think it'll make sense?

Thanks
Yes you can use the Time Machine partition for drag and drop. The reason most people partition their disk for TM is to limit the size of the TM backup. If you give 1TB to TM it will eventually grow to use all that space.

Time Machine is well worth the effort, far easier than drag and drop, once its set up you can pretty much leave it alone - just don't be too frugal with how much space you give it.

I use Paragon NTFS to read/write NTFS partitions but if you will only use it on a Mac then stick with GUID Partition Table and Mac OSX Extended format.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by whohasaquestion View Post
This is what I do with my external drive too. Partition a big drive, one for TM, another for drag and drop. I am just wondering is there an app similar to SyncToy (PC app) to sync folders on two different drive?

When I use SyncToy, I use the "contribute" mode, so whatever new files is on thinkpad gets dump into the external HD.
Check out ChronoSync, it's not free like SyncToy but has stacks of options you can play with. There's plenty of other sync tools around but ChronoSync is probably the most popular.
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Old Sep 30, 2011, 02:57 AM   #17
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A quick warning for all thinking of buying a WD My Passport external hard drive. I bought one recently intending to use it with my Macbook Air. Couldn't get it to backup as Tim Machine crashed after about 5 minutes.
On contacting WD support was told that there is insufficient power from the USB port and they sent me a power boost cable. This is supposed to plug into both USB ports so that one is data and one power. Of course the USB ports are on either side so I had to buy a USB extension to reach across the Air. To be frank it looks a kludge or dog's breakfast as we say here in the UK.

Only bought WD because I had been pleased with their products in the past. Whilst this set up does work it does not match the elegance of the Air. I would check out others before the My Passport. If you have already bought and are having problem this is the solution suggested or take it back for a refund.
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Old Sep 30, 2011, 09:25 PM   #18
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A quick warning for all thinking of buying a WD My Passport external hard drive. I bought one recently intending to use it with my Macbook Air. Couldn't get it to backup as Tim Machine crashed after about 5 minutes.
On contacting WD support was told that there is insufficient power from the USB port and they sent me a power boost cable. This is supposed to plug into both USB ports so that one is data and one power. Of course the USB ports are on either side so I had to buy a USB extension to reach across the Air. To be frank it looks a kludge or dog's breakfast as we say here in the UK.

Only bought WD because I had been pleased with their products in the past. Whilst this set up does work it does not match the elegance of the Air. I would check out others before the My Passport. If you have already bought and are having problem this is the solution suggested or take it back for a refund.
My WD Passport works fine with just standard (One) Usb connection to my new 13"MBA drag and drop and time machine!
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Old Sep 30, 2011, 09:32 PM   #19
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My 320 GB WD passport works flawless as well. One cable and Time Machine.
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Old Oct 1, 2011, 08:35 AM   #20
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My 500Gb WD Passport takes forever completing incremental Time Machine backups - like maybe an hour, when all I've done is surf a few web pages and read a couple of emails. I wonder if it's because of this USB power issue? (It seems to work fine when using SuperDuper's Smart Update feature - approx 10mins to back up). 2011 13" Macbook Air.
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Old Oct 1, 2011, 08:42 AM   #21
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I use a Time Capsule and can confirm that I can also store files on the drive even though my Time Machine backups are on it. They are saved as sparse bundle files on the drive. If you use Windows in Boot Camp, note that Apple installs drivers to let it read an HFS+ formatted partition. It can't read a FileVault2 encrypted partition, but an unencrypted HFS+ partition will work just fine.

ExFAT is intended primarily for flash storage, though it is the only format that both OS X and Windows 7 can read and write to natively that does not have the 4GB limit. Neither can boot from ExFAT, however, and Time Machine backups require HFS+. Unless you have the Boot Camp drivers or other Windows software to read HFS+, I second the recommendation to create a partition for your Time Machine backup and format the other partition in a file system Windows can read.
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Old Oct 1, 2011, 10:36 AM   #22
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A quick warning for all thinking of buying a WD My Passport external hard drive. I bought one recently intending to use it with my Macbook Air. Couldn't get it to backup as Tim Machine crashed after about 5 minutes.
On contacting WD support was told that there is insufficient power from the USB port and they sent me a power boost cable. This is supposed to plug into both USB ports so that one is data and one power. Of course the USB ports are on either side so I had to buy a USB extension to reach across the Air. To be frank it looks a kludge or dog's breakfast as we say here in the UK.

Only bought WD because I had been pleased with their products in the past. Whilst this set up does work it does not match the elegance of the Air. I would check out others before the My Passport. If you have already bought and are having problem this is the solution suggested or take it back for a refund.
As I recall, the original Airs had a "high power" USB port in order to run the Apple external optical drive with a single connector. That higher than normal USB port power capability should help with external hard drives as well.

The new Airs now have 2 USB ports on them, but I assume there is still compatibility for the Apple external optical drive, so at least one of them should be a high power one. I would try your drive in the port nearest the Magsafe power connector and see if it will power the drive.

I use various WD and Seagate external drives with my 2010 and 2011 Airs and have had no problems, even with the 1TB WD drive.



I also agree that you can share a single partition with TM and files, however TM will slowly consume all your free space on the drive as part of the normal backup history storage. So, if you want to be able to store regular data files in the future, you should probably limit the TM allocation with a separate partition and I believe Apple recommends at least 1.5 to 2 times the size of your system disk.

-howard

Last edited by hfg; Oct 1, 2011 at 10:41 AM.
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Old Oct 1, 2011, 11:01 AM   #23
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Old Oct 1, 2011, 06:42 PM   #24
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I also agree that you can share a single partition with TM and files, however TM will slowly consume all your free space on the drive as part of the normal backup history storage. So, if you want to be able to store regular data files in the future, you should probably limit the TM allocation with a separate partition and I believe Apple recommends at least 1.5 to 2 times the size of your system disk.

-howard
Thanks but is there anyway to limit by using the Time Machine settings? i hate to create 2 partitions.
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Old Oct 1, 2011, 07:52 PM   #25
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Thanks but is there anyway to limit by using the Time Machine settings? i hate to create 2 partitions.
I think you can manually create a sparse bundle and specify the maximum size, but am not sure. Worth googling on it, look for something about sparsebundle, Time Machine, hdutil and size or quota.
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