Backup: How to do it?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by MacNoobGuy, Dec 22, 2012.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
    hi all, i really need a hand with this. i've been using an external HDD for time machine for backing up my Mac and so far so good.

    however, i've got 2 other external HDD's: one is a 2TB drive and the other is a 1TB drive. i want to back them up, but each one has different files. how can i back them up without losing any files? i want to make one of them the main drive and the other one i want to make the 'back up' drive. are there any tools i can use to do this?

    thanks for any help!

    edit: one issue is both are current formatted in NTFS so i'll need to convert one of them to a format the Mac can read and write to as well as allowing a Win machine to read and write to them. which format should i use?
  2. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
    ok i'm still trying to sort this out. i'm really loving 'time machine' now. all i need to do is plug in my usb hdd and it automatically backs everything up.

    time machine does back everything on my hdd up right....?
  3. CrickettGrrrl, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013

    macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2012
    B'more or Less
    Yes, I'm pretty sure that's the default. However it is possible to exclude files & folders through TM's Preferences/Options. You can always take a look there to be sure everything is selected.

    BTW, Time Machine pretty cool but it's not bootable. It's always a good idea to have a bootable clone on another drive or a separate partition of your TM HDD, using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper!. Extra insurance. :)

    Oops, forgot this bit: here's a link to info which Simsaladimbamba posts rather frequently about formatting exterior drives with different conditions. Good stuff. Oops again, credit should go to GGJstudios.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Jun 20, 2012
    Thanks for that link, very useful:) Im about to reformat a new ext HD for backing up my photos on my macbook.

    In the blue coloured section for Formatting & Re-formattig drives, section 'e' states..


    What exectly does this mean please?
  5. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    How to back up the other drives...

    1. Get one of these gadgets:,k:usb3+sata+dock
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just get one you like that's cheap)

    2. Download the free version (version 3.4.7) of CarbonCopyCloner from this page:

    3. Get one or more "bare" SATA drives from the vendor of your choice.

    Then, do this:
    a. Put a bare drive in the dock, connect it to the Mac, power on
    b. Use Disk Utility to initialize the bare drive (and partition if required)
    c. Connect the first drive you need to backup
    d. Open CarbonCopyCloner
    e. In CCC's window -- on the left, choose your source (drive that is to be backed up)
    f. On the right, choose your "target" drive (the bare drive in the dock)
    g. Choose to backup everything
    h. CCC will do its thing

    Repeat for the other drives. I suggest you keep the contents of each drive in its own partition on the backup drive (IF one drive will hold it all)

    If more than one backup drive is required, just eject the first backup drive icon from the desktop, then turn off the USB/SATA dock and pull the first bare drive out.

    Insert a second bare drive into the dock and repeat for the next hard drive you have to backup.

    It's very easy.

    I would also suggest you use the dock to create a BOOTABLE CLONE of your internal (main) drive. In a moment of extreme need, it could prove invaluable to you. Remember, you CAN'T BOOT from a Time Machine backup!
  6. macrumors Core


    Jan 23, 2005
    Sine Lion 10.7.2 you can boot from a USB Time Machine disk to do a restore. You can't run the machine like that, but you can put in a new blank drive and boot to TM to format and restore.

    Those are different options for older PowerPC equipped Macs.. which you don't have. You want the GUID option since you have an Intel Mac. If you don't change anything, Disk Utility will default to this option.

    Just attach your new external disk and format to Mac OS Extended and turn on Time Machine then point it to the new disk and you are done.
  7. macrumors 603


    BOLD AFAIK the last free version is 3.4.6, i have 3.4.7 but it seems to be a 30 day trail.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2012
    B'more or Less
    Ahhh thank you Weaselboy, I stand corrected. Good information! :)
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
    ok thanks bro.

    so Time Machine can restore a dead Mac Mini HDD? do you have an Apple support article?

  10. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
    ok thanks.

    i'm about to switch my external USB drive(other than Time Machine) to ExFAT. will these Apps be able to create the clone of my Mac's internal HDD and put it on the ExFAT USB drive?

    man this is turning into a real nightmare! i've been trying to solve this problem for so damn long!

    thanks for your help!
  11. macrumors 603


    It might be possible if you backup to an image but I am almost 100% it won't backup directly.
  12. macrumors Core


    Jan 23, 2005
    Yes, as long as the Time Machine backup was made with 10.7.2 or later. Look in the green box on this page (not an Apple article though).


    I did a little test a couple days ago. ExFAT is okay for things like documents and videos etc, but not for system files. Like you say, I suppose you could make a DMG and store that on an ExFAT drive.
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
    ok thanks. so if i used CCC or something else to create the image, it'd save onto the ExFAT drive?

    thanks a lot!
  14. macrumors 603


    Good to know, that's what I suspected.
  15. macrumors Core


    Jan 23, 2005
    If you use Disk Utility to create a DMG file of the drive, that could be saved to an ExFAT drive because the DMG is a self contained file and the limitations of ExFAT would not matter. Think of a DMG file as like a ZIP file you may be familiar with.

    But CCC does not by default create a self contained DMG file like that. It creates a full, usable copy (image) of the drive and its structure and files, and you can't do that on an ExFAT drive.

    If you are trying to use one of these drives with ExFAT to share some files on a Windows machine, you may be better of making one partition in HFS+ for Time Machine or CCC, then another partition in ExFAT for the videos or whatever you want to share with Windows machines.
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Apr 18, 2012
    thanks for your reply.

    i'll keep using Time Machine as it seems like an effective and simple solution should my Mac Mini's HDD ever die.

    is there an App i can use that'll just copy the directory of my Mac Mini and paste it onto the USB ExFAT HDD? or is there something else that'd create an image of the Mac Mini's HDD that works with ExFAT?

    damn, this is really starting to give me a headache!
  17. macrumors Core


    Jan 23, 2005
    You could use something like CCC to automatically copy a particular folder to the ExFAT drive, but just remember the limitations I mentioned. No systems files, just things like music, photos, and documents.

    I am not aware of anything that will make a DMG of the disk and then copy it to an ExFAT drive.

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