Back up MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cindyjj, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. cindyjj macrumors regular

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    Mar 29, 2014
    #1
    What does it mean to do a "time machine back up"? Is this a particular type of external hard drive to purchase or is there a command to do this within the mac to any external hard drive?

    I will be doing an operating system reboot and/or installing a larger internal HD which will also require an enclosure. Someone recommended a time machine back up and I'm not exactly sure what this means.
     
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #3
    Have you thought of googling this? The very first hit explains everything quite well.

    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201250
     
  3. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Some things not mentioned in the article which you should know.

    The drive that you use to hold the Time Machine backup should have a capacity greater than amount of disk space you're using right now. It's much better to err on the side of too large than too small. It does not have to match the capacity of the disks you currently have in the computer, but again, too large is much better than too small. If you have a large enough disk and use Time Machine for, say, the next 5 years, you'll be able to restore one of your files from 5 years ago even if you deleted it 4 years ago. If the backup disk doesn't have the capacity to store any more files, the oldest files in the backup will be deleted until there is enough space.

    If you buy an external disk, it would be less work if you bought one which is specifically marketed as being for the Mac. If the drive comes with it's own backup software or a password protection feature to "add an extra layer of security", don't use it because it may not work properly.
     
  4. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #5
    It's not as bad as it used to be but there's still a premium that you end up paying when you buy a "for Mac" version of an external HDD. There are plenty of people here (myself included) that can give step-by-step instructions to perform the simple task of reformatting the drive for use with the Mac. As far as the hardware is concerned, there is literally ZERO difference.
     
  5. cindyjj thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Okay, I had a look at that. What is the value of doing a time machine back up rather than a simple drag and drop of files to the external HD. Does the TM back up take all the programs etc. as well?
     
  6. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #7
    From the article:

    It backs up everything by default and makes incremental hourly backups after that. It allows you to restore files that may have been deleted or changed.
     
  7. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #8
    Yes, the link you quoted explains all that. It also saves preferences, bookmarks, pretty much everything. SHould your hard drive crash, you can use a time machine backup to restore the computer as it was before the crash, down to the very last preference/file.
     
  8. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    The OP brought up an interesting point.

    Suppose:

    1) You only use software that comes with your Mac.

    2) You don't use additional hardware that requires drivers, etc.

    3) You record what your System Preferences are so you can re-enter them as the need arises. (I do this for when I setup new computers that I acquire.)

    Most if not all of the user-specific preferences are saved somewhere under the user directory (/Users/whatever) so if you just copy everything in that directory (you have to make sure you do this so hidden files, links, etc. are copied correctly), maybe you can get away with not backing up the full machine? I don't know - it wouldn't work for me but could it work for people who meet the conditions above?

    (I don't know of the OP meets the conditions or not - just asking the question.)
     
  9. cindyjj, Dec 20, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2015

    cindyjj thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    If I save periodically, I assume it will add recent files and edits of older files. Wil it retain the previous version before the edits? Example, folder A has file 1 and file 2, folder B has file 1, 2. Time machine back up saves these at a point in time. after this, folder A file 2 is edited. Then a week later another time machine back up is done. Are there two entire back ups at two points in time, or does the second back up only add to the first back up with edits? If the former is the case rather than the latter, there is danger that the drive will fill up quickly and original files can be deleted?


    Also, will a 1 TB internal hard drive cause my macbook to operate faster?
     
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #11
    Size doesn't make any difference for HDD speed. Speed can make a difference for SSD's, however all the ones used in the macbook pros are so fast as to make the differences due to size inconsequential.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #12
    If there is any performance increases, it will be so small you'll likely not notice
     
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #13
    Again, you should read the link that was posted up as your question was answered in that document.

    From that very page which you clearly did not read.

    Time machine only does a "delta" back up. As in, only what has changed gets backed up after the initial, full backup. So if a certain document is never touched past the initial backup, it will remain as is.
     
  13. JackieInCo macrumors 601

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    #14
    It don't have to be the same size or larger then the drive installed in the MBP unless the drive is always filled up to almost capacity.

    Mine never is. My MBP has a 512GB SSD. I have Time Machine setup on a 300GB partition on the external. I have barely used 200GB on that backup partition since May when I bought the MBP.

    My Mac Mini is setup the same way on an external. The Mini has a 1TB drive and it's barely used more than 150GB on the 300GB partition. I've owned the Mini for over a year now.

    Anything I download is excluded from the backup because it's mostly movies and music that would be imported into iTunes on an external anyways.

    Of course it all depends on usage so mine is probably way different then a lot of people using Time Machine for backups.
     
  14. cindyjj thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15

    So, then, my purpose in getting a 1 TB HD is to make more room while keeping all of my files in my computer. I have about 20 GB left of 500 GB; however my desktop is only about 75 GB. My itunes is significant but it is not 400 GB. If I did a time machine back up, reinstalled my operating system and put my desktop and itunes contents back on, I'm sure I would have more than enough room left and have all the file I want back on my computer. I probably don't need 1 TB. I suppose I could try this and if it fills up right away, then do the new 1 TB HD.
    I really want to keep my itunes as it is - in the exact same organization etc. Will this be retained if I do all of the above? Sometimes the titles get lost etc. - I'm worried about that if formats change over etc.
     
  15. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #16
    Sure that would work, but it would sure be more work and much more complicated if you had to do a full restore from the backup setup you described. For someone that knows their way around the Mac operating system is would not be too bad, but for a novice I think it would be difficult.

    I make a local Time Machine backup as well as a weekly (or so) CCC clone and in addition to that I backup the entire users folder online. So in theory if the house burned down I could get a new Mac and restore everything to the users folder from my online backup like you described.
     
  16. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #17
    He referred to disk space used, not drive size...
     
  17. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    Maybe I should have given an example, but "amount of disk space you're using right now" = total size of all the files on your internal disk(s).

    "It does not have to match the capacity of the disks you currently have in the computer" - the backup disk doesn't have to be the same size as the sum of the internal disks in your computer.

    In any case, for the OP, if you go to the Finder dock, right-click on your home folder, and select "Get Info", the size of all of your files would be provided in the "Size:" line. If that does not come close to, say, 400+ GB, then you may have other programs that you installed which take up space. Also, I use Adobe Premiere Elements and it saves a lot of the videos that are imported into the projects and that wasn't apparent to me initially. Perhaps you have a similar program that's doing the same thing. If you're still having problems figuring out what's eating up your disk space, maybe somebody can suggest programs that show how your disk space is being used.
     
  18. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    #19
    Its not a backup if you intend to end up with the only copy of some files on the TM drive, lose that drive and those particular files are gone. A backup is a secondary copy. Given your comments about disk space usage, you might want to just go through and remove unwanted files that you dont need to keep, that will save a lot of time - then make a TM backup knowing it is all needed files.
     
  19. cindyjj thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    Did I understand correctly up there that an external hd for a pc rather than a mac is a safer choice and that it just needs to be reformatted for a mac?
     
  20. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #21
    A "for Mac" hard drive does not exist. That is just a marketing scheme to make unknowing customers fork out more money for the exact same product.

    A hard drive's a hard drive's a hard drive. Simply format it and it can be used on a Mac.
     
  21. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    It's not a safer choice. Some companies will sell the same drive, one model formatted for Windows, the other for OSX, but it is the same drive. As a poster said, one marketed as being for the Mac MAY be more expensive (although a quick look at Amazon suggests that doesn't have to be the case). Why I suggested the ones for the Mac is that you can just use it out of the box. It's not a problem to reformat, but if you haven't done it before, you need to learn how to do it. It's not difficult but in my experience, things not seemingly difficult with computers become problematic in ways that us more experienced or professional users do not foresee. I've seen articles on the Internet that suggest TimeMachine will automatically format the disk properly if you tell it to use for a backup and others that say TimeMachine will fail, but not immediately and give no reason why it failed.
     
  22. cindyjj thread starter macrumors regular

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