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Old May 31, 2008, 08:10 PM   #1
macrumors regular
Join Date: Nov 2003
Time Machine Customizing and configuring

Hi everyone ...

so i finally got an external Western digital 320gb passport for my Macbook with 160gb. I have some questions and was wondering if anyone can help... here's my situation:

1) I'm not interested in hourly or even daily automatic backups. I was thinking that I'd plug it in once or twice a week. Correct me if I'm wrong... but it seems to me that I can leave time machine OFF and at the same time tell it to BACK UP NOW. Basically, I could operate it manually.

2) The second thing is how much space time machine takes up... it says that it never deletes weekly backups and will fill up the drive. I was hoping that since my new external is twice as big as my native drive, I could make only back up up the 80 gigs of crucial stuff and then use the extra few hundred gig for "disposable" stuff. So the second question... how do I keep time machine from eventually devouring all my stuff?

thanks for any help!
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Old Jun 1, 2008, 01:36 AM   #2
macrumors 6502a
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: USA
One thing to keep in mind is backup versus archive, since a lot of people think they are the same thing. Time Machine (TM) is a backup and is not an archive -- that is, it is for keeping an "almost live" copy what's on your machine's hard drive, so in case of an accidental deletion of files off the main HDD, you can reclaim the older copy (hence the back up every hour as default). TM will also help in case of a HDD crash -- you can replace the HDD, load the OS and then reclaim everything from the TM quickly and back in business.

As long as you understand that and the limitations, you can do what you said in (1) and operate it mostly manually. It is also possible to change the TM backup interval (do a web search or look on macosxhints.com) - this way, you can keep it on automatic and keep control on how often you want the backup to run. This also allows you to "set and forget" so you won't have to power off the TM drive (it is has 'drive sleep').

As for (2), you can partition the Passport drive into two and use one for TM and the other as your "disposable" area. There is no hard and fast rule for TM partition size, but "twice the HDD on the machine" is a general guidance. If you are going to use only about 80GB on the main machine's HDD (assuming you only have one partition and don't want anything else backed up by TM, like other external drives), you can set up the TM partition to be 100 GB or so. It will tell you if it is going to start overwriting when that partition is full. Of course, you can try it out and see what works for your usage pattern first, before making a commitment.

You can also exclude things from being backed up by TM. I archive some material on DVDs if I haven't used it for a couple of months.
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Old Jun 1, 2008, 12:03 PM   #3
Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 2003
thanks alot for the help...

i appreciate it.

As a matter of fact, I am more interested in backing up as opposed to archiving. Further, I do "archive" alot of stuff to DVD's (like divx movies that i might not want to watch for another few years). I'd estimate that in total I'd want time machine to backup 80gigs of stuff.

So... I'll split the 320 drive into 160 x 2, one for TM and one for other storage. You've been a world of help!
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