Back up HD and External Storage

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by bgsnmky, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. bgsnmky macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012
    Hi everyone..I am sure you will see lots of posts from me! Switching over to mac from the windows world! I got a mac air about a month ago and am working on my specs for my imac when it comes out.

    I did search the forums and even saw a recent thread on external drives/ 2.0 vs thunderbolt, but I didn't want to hijack his thread since I have some basic questions too.

    My setup will be the imac will be my main computer 90% of the time.
    The air will be for travel / sitting on the couch etc.
    The air will also be another users main pc but she does not use it that much.

    So - first I know I want to back up my air and iMac..when I have it.
    1. Can you explain the difference in "time capsule hardware" vs just another external hard drive? (the time capsule appears to be much more expensive then an external drive)
    2. And when determinig space - do you match what you have in your actual air/mac?
    3. Will I need one for each device. air and iMac?

    Then I figure I need to determine if I want to use my imac as the main storage for data/pics/video. Or just store externally. Seems better to store externally since you don't get to them that much.
    - does that back up - back up external devices too tho?

    External devices - can you use any - sometimes I ready specific MAC external drives. does that usually just mean it has a Thunderbolt connection.

    Trying to look at black friday sales coming up to help with setting up my new system but want to make sure I am looking for the right things:
    - do they have to say Mac compatible.
    - i know the connection matters for speed - so either Thunderbolt, or i can get an adapter like this I think :

    External Drives I see:
    Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 3TB Wireless Hard Drive at Staples - $129.99 - could not find a link for this one.

    Best Buy seagate

    I hope this wasn't too confusing. Basically just wanting to make sure I am ready!
    - back ups (time capsule or other external and how big and for 1 or both air and iMac)
    - what to look for when purchasing (does it have to say Mac or does that just mean thunderbolt)

    Thanks for your help!!!
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Congrats on the new Air. Those are nice machines.

    1. The Time Capsule is Apple branded wireless router with a hard drive built n for storage/backup. Time Machine is the backup software built in to every new Mac. If you want to do network backups of your machines, the Time Capsule is the only solution supported by Apple. Many users run a normal hard drive attached to an Airport Extreme router from Apple, but it is not supported and many report is is not reliable. If you want to spend even more money, you can by a network storage device (NAS) from vendors like Synology.

    2. When determining storage space you will need to look at how much space is used in each computer now, then add for how much data you think you will be adding in the future in photos/music etc. Time Machine keeps "versions" of files, so the larger your storage space the more versions it has room to store. A good rough number to start with would be 1.5 times the total data you now have. I don't mean 1.5 times drive size, I mean actual data.

    3. You can use one external drive (either in a Time Capsule or attached with USB back and forth) for multiple machines. Time Machine will keep the backups separate in the one drive.

    There is really nothing special about "Mac" drives other than vendors preformat the drive for a Mac to save you the trouble. Just buy whatever drive interface you want (Thunderbolt/USB whatever) and attach it then format to Mac OS Extended in Disk Utility and you are good to go. No need to pay extra for a "Mac" drive.

    You can store your iPhoto library on the Time Capsule drive if you want, but then it is not getting backed up anywhere. I would store everything on the iMac and just share it to the other machines over the network from the iMac. Much simpler and it gets backed up.
  3. bgsnmky thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012
    Thanks weasel boy!

    I don't need to spend more money on sinology! Two macs is enough...:)
    But it sounds like I should get a time capsule no matter what for backups! just need to figure out what size..and they look about the same price (within 10.00 to 20.00 dollars out there right now). I am already using in pictures 1.5 TB....
    so that would means the two won't be big enough. UGH...the cost is unbelievable for a 3TB. 500.00.

    So when you are describing the network just mean backing up multiple pc's right?
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Yes, I meant backing them up over the network either wired ethernet or wifi, as opposed to having to plug in USB external drives to the computer.

    The Time Capsule is not cheap, but it is pretty transparent once you set it up. Especially for the Air. It will just run wireless backups without having to connect or do anything.
  5. pommie82 macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2011
    i use a western digital drive to back things with time machine not fast but good enough and i use my western digital drive to watch Tv Series and Movies on my iPad so it comes a versatile product for me have a look they are good devices i have had mine for two years now and never had a problem with mine works a charm

    They are very easy to set up you could have it up and running in under 5 mins it just simple 2 leads in that it pretty much the mac picks it up straight away and then you just back up your machine down done just wake for it to be done then it.
  6. bgsnmky thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012
    Pommie - so you use the WD the software just recognizes that instead of time capsule right?

    also do you mean the WD has something special to be able to watch movies etc
  7. pommie82 macrumors 6502

    Jan 4, 2011

    i dont use the western digital software because i don't think its much good personally i just set my time machine to use the western digital drive and then back up basically.The western digital drive comes up as time machine it will appear on your mac then all you do is back up that it

    Regarding to movies what i do is i convert my Tv Series and Movies in to mpeg-4 file format drop them to the western digital then i watch them on my iPad there is western digital app on the app store and you can stream your media from there or read PDFs or anything or listen to music if you want this app is made for iPhone and iPad i use it on both devices great when you have lots of music and you want to listen to it as long as you have 3G connection you can stream your music no problem at all which makes the western digital drive in more versatile for the user and you can even see all your back ups to is handy to and you even see pictures you have stored on your drive too here is the link what it can do i hope that i helps i would be personally lost wihout my western digtial network drive because it has so much data on movies,tv series, music which my iPhone or iPad purely couldn't hold at because i have so much stuff on my drive

    Here is the website have a read and see what you think i personally couldnt live with out mine

    Hope tha helps on making your decision
  8. gc916 macrumors regular


    Apr 23, 2012

    As mentioned in an earlier post, another option for you might be a NAS (Network Attached Storage device.) I am using a Western Digital MyBook Live Duo to backup by MacBook Pro with Time Machine. It is attached to my wireless router, so the Mac backs up automatically via my wireless network.

    I also use the Sonos music system, and all my music files are on the NAS. The Sonos system accesses those files wirelessly, as well.

    The WD MyBook Live Duo is available with 4TB or 6TB storage capacity, with 2 separate drives in the device, and both can be configured to use RAID1, which means that one drive is "mirrored" to the second, providing a backup of all data. If the first drive fails, it can be easily replaced, and the data will be copied to the replacement drive. So with a 6TB unit, you would have space for 3TB of data on the first drive, backed up automatically to the second drive.

    There are other benefits to the WD unit, including remote access to all your files via a free program called WD2go.

    These drives aren't inexpensive, but it might be a long-term solution for your needs.

    Good luck with your decision.
  9. bgsnmky thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 22, 2012
    #9 getting the 6TB - do you have the 3TB side for storage - like pictures etc..and then you set up the other 3TB to be the back up. and it can back up the 3tB side with pics as well as other items on my imac and the air.

    Is it easy to set up! meaning for a non tech person.

    Even tho I am not a nontech person....I like knowing how things work. I am guessing this storage is different as there must be software in it that connects to the cloud etc and that is why you also can get to the files on the drive. would this also be a place if I had an excel spreadsheet or something that I wanted someone else to get to - they can if they had my password etc.

    I am sure I will call WD and talk to a sales person..but just checking.

    And is this where you would purchase it..have you ever seen on sale.
    (I will hold off on purchasing black friday as I will probably go with one of these or the timecapsule).
  10. gc916 macrumors regular


    Apr 23, 2012
    #10 can put backups, music files, photos, etc. on the first drive, and the data will automatically backup to the second drive. Time Machine will recognize the WD unit when you connect it, and will create backups there.

    Initial setup is easy. Just connect the unit to your router, plug it in and turn it on. There is only one setting you'll need to change, if I remember correctly. The device ships in Maximum Capacity (also called "spanning") mode; if you want the automatic backup from the first drive to the second, you'll need to change that setting to Maximum Protection (RAID1) mode. It's easy to do using your web browser to access the drive settings dashboard. Once there, go to Settings>Storage>Edit Mode. Just make sure you change this setting before you write anything to the drive, because changing the Mode will erase all data and you'll need to start over.

    I'd be happy to help with any other questions you have.


    Yes, you can create "shares," aka folders on the drive, and grant access to other users.

    I haven't been paying attention to sale prices on these drives, but here's a listing on Amazon.


    Here's a link to the user manual for the WD drive. It might help with other questions you have.

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