Advice needed on backing up two Macbooks

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bstrange, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. bstrange macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2008
    Hello all. I am a seminary student in Virginia Beach and was able to purchase two macbooks, one for my wife and one for myself, this year. We have never used a Mac until June and so far we love them.

    I have four questions:

    1. What is the best way to back up both macbooks? Time Capsule has gotten some fairly poor reviews at the Apple store site. Are those accurate? I need to back up but don't want to spend money on a balky product.

    2. I have heard that I do not need a separate back up drive for each Mac. True?

    3. I already have a wireless router so don't need Time Capsule. Does Apple sell external hard drives?

    4. On a slightly different note, is it worth the extra cash to get more RAM for the Macbooks?
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    get an external hd and use time machine. you can use the same hd for both macbooks. you do not need an apple branded external hd, any hard drive at say best buy will work

    and yes get ram but buy it off as you will save a fortune by not getting it through apple

    all time capsule is is a wireless router that has a hard drive in it. i havent heard any bad reviews about it personally
  3. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

    Apr 28, 2008
    Yea, same hard drive for both Macbooks should work.

    The main lure of the Time Capsule for me is that you can do Time machine Backups wirelessly! So as soon as your get home, and turn on your Macbook and connect to your Time Capsule for internet, it starts backing up automatically. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong)

    Versus with just an external hard drive, you have to remember to plug in the external hard drive for backups to start running. It would stink if you forget/were too lazy to plug in the hard drive for like a few days, so no backups ran, and then accidentally deleted something recent and needed a backup :(.

    If you get an Apple Airport Extreme Base Station, I think you can plug in any external hard drive to its USB port and do this "Airport Disk Wireless Backup" thing. May be cheaper to get an Airport Base Station Extreme ($180) + an external hard drive of your choice. I'm thinking of doing this myself, since I find myself too lazy to plug in my external hard drive to run backups.

    Anyone know if any other wireless router supports Air Disk? (The apple one is $180 so quite pricey compared to similar models from other brands.)
  4. soberbrain macrumors 65816


    May 9, 2008
    1) If you want continuous wireless backups I suggest getting Time Capsule. According to this it's the only wireless alternative. However, if you have a spare computer, you can connect an external drive to it and share it wirelessly for Time Machine.

    2) You don't need a separate backup drive because Time Machine will save the backups in separate folders for each machine. Just be sure that your MacBooks have different names or else it may cause issues since Time Machine may save the backups in the same folder.

    3) As the previous poster said, you don't need to buy hard drives from Apple. I've bought a Western Digital external drive from Best Buy that I use with Time Machine.

    4) Macs love RAM. It will help in keeping your MacBook running smoothly even with multiple apps running. I suggest buying from since Apple overcharges for RAM.

    Congrats on your his and hers MacBooks :)
  5. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    Just one more thing... you can use the same hard drive to back up both computers, just make sure it is a large hard drive. I suggest at least twice the combined capacity of your two laptops. That would mean if each laptop has a 120gb hard drive, you would need an external drive with at least 500gb of capacity.

    You can easily format the external drive with two equal partitions. That means it will show up as two individual drives when you plug it in. Use one of the partitions to back up your laptop, and the other partition to back up your wife's laptop.

    If you need help partitioning the drive, just post back here and I'm sure someone can walk you through it. It is very simple.
  6. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Apr 24, 2006
    Oh and one more thing... it's only worth spending money on RAM if you feel that your computer is too slow. If it is performing fine for you, you don't need to spend the extra cash. For example:

    I maxed out the RAM in my Macbook Pro to 3Gb because I need it to be fast. My girlfriend is running fine with 1Gb on her 4-year-old iBook.
  7. 3247 macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2008
    Time Machine is not enough for backups.

    When your Mac is connected to the TM disk, there's the slight chance that you'll lose both the data on your Mac and that disk at the same time, e.g. due to a power surge or due to a misbehaving programme. You'll need at least another copy of your valuable data.
  8. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    while you are right, i dont think many people have the time or resources to make so many backups.

    i mean ive read people using various raid configs, then store data on optical disks and then tapes offsite so there is very little chance something will be missed

    time machine is better than nothing when it comes to backups
  9. bstrange thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 19, 2008
    Thanks for the advice

    Thank you all very much for the advice and help. We are enjoying our macbooks and trying to figure out Pages and Leopard. I am going today to get a external HD from Best Buy so I don't lose any papers and research during the school year.

    Thanks again!

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