Best back-up system for MBA and me?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by basil92008, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. basil92008 macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2011
    I apologize for what is probably a long explanation for a silly question...

    I just ordered a refurbished MBA ultimate to replace my 2006 12" white Macbook (2 GHz core duo, 1 GB RAM, 60 GB HD, running OS 10.4). As you might imagine, my needs are pretty simple - I'd say 84% web browsing, 10% word processing, 3% light Photoshop, 2% iMovie editing, 1% powerpoint presentations. I'm going to get a new display to go with it (maybe ACD?) in a month or so after we move.

    The reason I got the new computer is I am going to start recording videos for work through an S-video to USB adapter cable. I will probably record 5-8 videos of 1-2 GB each every week. So I have to carry it around more so hence the MBA. These mainly just have to be archived, not accessed frequently with only minimal editing if we decide to put together a project.

    I have a 500 GB Western digital "my passport" portable USB drive that I got for back up of my Macbook and some overflow of nonessential stuff.

    Ideally, I'd like to use the WD drive for my work videos and maybe my photo archive and then have a separate external drive for backing up both the MBA hard drive and the video hard drive. And leave these connected to the display on my desktop.

    What is the best system for setting this up? How can I accomplish backing up from 2 drives (one external and one internal) onto the same drive without much hassle? And if it will look nice on my desk that's a big plus too!
  2. Boston007 macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010

    Get SuperDuper

    It is an awesome backup/restore system.

    You can set it up so that it only backs up files that have changed. It saves time and space.

    It should do exactly what you need.
  3. CHSeifert macrumors 6502


    Dec 28, 2010
    Copenhagen, Denmark - Scandinavia
    I bought a 2 tb TimeCapsule for my MBA Ultimate - expect it to work fine as backup :)

    Claus [iPhone
  4. BlackMax macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    I agree with the poster above. SuperDuper is a great program and I use it myself for the creation of bootable clones of my HD. Great to have if your HD crashes and dies.

    The one thing SuperDuper will not give you is all the revisions of your documents over time that you would get from using Time Machine. Meaning, you get a single snapshot in time with SuperDuper. If you make a change to a document and back it up with SuperDuper and then realize you need something from your document that was there two revisions ago, it is gone.

    For that reason I have a large (1TB) external HD that I partition into two and use one partition named "boot" for my SuperDuper clone of my HD and the other partition named "Time Machine" for my Time Machine backups that gives me all my change revisions. This gives me the best of both worlds.
  5. basil92008 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2011


    So if I buy SuperDuper, it will be able to somewhat automatically back up my MBA HD and my external drive? So all I need to do is buy a 1 TB or so USB HD and plug them both in at the same time (or both to the ACD)? That's great!
  6. BlackMax macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2007
    North Carolina
    You can schedule SuperDuper to backup your HD whenever you want. You just want to be sure you schedule it when you have an external HD connected.

    You'll only need a single external HD for back ups. You can use a single external drive for more than one purpose by partitioning it. So you can have a partition for SuperDuper, a partition for Time Machine (if you want) and even another partition for perhaps music or videos (if you want).

    The point being that you should only need one external USB drive to plug in to one of your two available USB ports. Just be sure you purchase an external drive that is big enough for everything you plan to throw at it.

    The ACD port is for an external monitor, not an external storage device.
  7. basil92008 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2011
    Well, the issue is that I already have the portable 500 GB HD and I'd like to leave that only for my work video files because I will sometimes need to share that with people at work, and I don't want to share my whole hard drive.

    So I want to buy another external hard drive (1-2 TB) as a backup, to back up both that drive and the internal MBA drive. Obviously, both external drives would have to be connected to the MBA for this to possibly work, I just need to know if the software can do this.

    I was under the impression that if I plugged the computer into the ACD (by both the minidisplay port and the usb), I could leave the external HD(s) hooked up to the USB ports on the ACD and access them that way?
  8. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    You have two USB ports. You can plug your portable 500 GB HD into one USB port, you can then buy another bigger hard drive (probably 1 or 2 TB 3.5") and plug it into the other port. With "Disk Utility", make sure both drives are formatted as "HFS+ journalled". In "System Preferences" turn on "Time Machine". Choose the large hard drive as the drive to backup to. And then "Time Machine" should start backing up. The first time takes ages, but then it will only backup things that have changed.

    Just noticed there is an ACD as well... The ACD might not give another power for a hard drive. Usually 2.5 inch hard drives take power from the computer, and 3.5 inch hard drives have their own power supply. So you'd have to plug the 2.5 inch hard drive into the Mac, and the 3.5" drive into the ACD.
  9. basil92008 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2011
    Thanks, gnasher, that's really what I needed to know! If Time machine is capable or if there is another program. I hadn't thought about the ACD usb ports not having power, but that shouldn't be a big issue.

    In buying a 3.5" external HD, are there recommended brands/models? Is speed important or is usb 2.0 the bottleneck?

    I saw this one: - it's big and ugly, but cheap?
  10. apparatchik, Feb 26, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011

    apparatchik macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2008
    I have said 'ultimate' 13 MBA connected to a 27 ACD, the 3 USB ports in the ACD are fully powered, so you can perfectly have a USB powered backup drive connected to the ACD, and just hook your MBA to the ACD when working home and doing backups.

    I currently have an external keyboard (most recent apple wired, two extra fully powered USB ports) connected to the ACD, so I total 5 available powered USB ports. (of the 7 total, one is used to hook the ACD, and another one for the keyboard)

    Now, two important things, if you use Time Machine, there was a recent thread on how to override the hourly automatic backup, so it doesnt trigger when on the go (your backup disk docked at home). If you search the forum Im sure youll find it.

    Second, there is a difference in power between MBA USB ports and everything else, but not how the fellow posters have said, the power in the MBA USB ports is actually higher than spec, in order for the external superdrive sold by apple to work. Thats why this external superdrive doesnt work with other computers, not even apples. This difference, doesnt affect standard powered usb devices, i.e., an external HD, which works both from the MBA ports or the ACD ones. (I currently charge an ipod touch and run an external bluray drive from the ACD ports).

    good luck on your setup!
  11. brn2rnjk1 macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2008
    Can you make a bootable external HD using USB 2.0? I thought it had to be firewire or something like that?

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