Coming from PC to Mac - external hard drive question:

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by curtisinoc, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. curtisinoc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #1
    Newbie question . . hope someone can enlighten me:

    I'm switching to a new iMac soon and coming from 20+ years of PC. I've never used a Mac before, so I'm a bit nervous.

    On my PC, I have all of my important files backed up onto a "Seagate" external hard drive (documents, pictures and music). That external hard drive is "NTFS" format. From what I understand, I can plug that hard drive into the new iMac and transfer all of those files over, but the iMac cannot write anything onto that "NTFS" drive. After I transfer my PC files onto my new iMac, I'll get a new external hard drive (time for upgrade anyway).

    Question: What kind of hard drive do you guys/gals recommend to back up my files from the Mac? . . . and do you recommend using "time-machine" to back up files??

    Thanks
     
  2. 184550 Guest

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    #2
    I've always used Western Digital external drives.

    Time Machine is fine for automated back ups. IIRC, there are a couple of third party apps other people like to use that are a bit 'fancier'.
     
  3. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #3
    Well for Time Machine it must be formatted Mac OS Extended (the default OS X format). Now as an older Mac user I have always used Other World Computing. To let you know I have used externals from them since OS X was in it's original beta and have had no problem with them. They always include every cable that their external have and come native formatted for OS X.

    Now I know you might be able to order from OWC and have to go your local big box store to get an external. Just remember to get one with the fastest port that you can affored (that has the same port on your Mac). Then you could just buy the external and then open /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility and format that drive yourself into the native OS X format, easily.

    Now with the NTFS drive you could move that data to your new Mac. In OS X if you just look at your User folder (found in /YourHardDrive/Users/YouUserName/) and find the Music, Pictures boxes you could move you data to, then format the drive.

    Now If I were you I would buy anther fast external (make sure it is has bigger capacity then you internal drive)and use it as Time Machine disk. Then you could use you older external as a bootable backup in the Mac world we call a clone. Yes OS X can boot from an external drive! To make a clone is easy with the free program Carbon Copy Cloner and then boot from the external with System Preferences->Startup Disk.

    Having the Time machine would be great for file backups. However you need to hold onto your OS X System Disk to restore OS X from a Time Machine backup. With a clone you could boot from the clone and clone that clone right back to the internal, easily. This is what I do and with a little prep work I have an automatic backup to Time Machine and from a separate clone. To me this is the best of both worlds.
     
  4. waynep macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    #4
    I am 8 weeks ahead of you. Switching to a Mac at home since beginning with computers on DOS in the 1980's.

    Your Mac will read the NTFS drive as the others have said. There is an add-on that seems to let OSX write to NTFS drives but I am not using it. You can use your current drive to copy the data onto the Mac.

    I then got a new 500GB USB drive to use as a Time Machine backup disk. That's working well and I am backing up the entire drive in the Mac with TM. I am planning on getting a Time Capsule soon. This new drive, I reformatted the new drive as a Mac formatted drive before starting to use it with Time Machine. I believe the standard recommendation for a Time Machine drive is 2X your internal drive size. I have a Seagate.

    All that said, I am using CrashPlan for additional backup for just my data.
     
  5. curtisinoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #5
    satcomer, thanks for such a detailed response. I'm planning on buying the 2011 version of the 27" iMac when it comes out this year. As far as the "fastest port" available, I'm guessing that will be the "thunderbolt" (??). I'm hoping a compatible "thunderbolt" external hard drive will be somewhat affordable and available when I get my iMac.

    I'm nervous about getting to learn an entire new computing system, but as my friend told me today: "if jessica simpson can use a mac, so can you"
     
  6. curtisinoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #6
    Thanks waynep. Did u set up time machine for hourly automatic backups (I think this is the default setting) or do you "manually" back up? I'm thinking an hourly backup is a bit excessive and thinking of setting it for manual backup - then periodically click on button to backup


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. waynep macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    #7
    I let it default to the auto hourly. I hate manual processes. I forget to do them. I would suggest doing it thing automatically. There's nothing better than losing something then finding out you actually have a backup that ran automatically so you can restore it.
     
  8. curtisinoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #8
    Hope you don't mind a couple more questions about "time machine" (haven't got my iMac yet and trying to learn as much as possible beforehand . . )

    1. Do you leave your external hdd connected to your computer, even when not in use? (assuming you have a desktop/iMac). I'm getting an iMac and plan on getting a 3.5 external hdd with power source. Wondering if I should connect it to my iMac, and just leave it connected at all times or disconnect it when not in use / sleep mode.

    2. With "time machine" set up on an external hdd, can I simply access single files (music, photos) from the external hdd, after it was backed up by time machine without the "time machine" software? For example, can I take my external hdd to another computer that doesn't have "time machine" software, connect it to that computer and transfer or access certain files (music, photos) onto that computer (pc or mac) ??

    thanks again
     
  9. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #9
    1. Yes, but as they are set to sleep, they sometimes become an annoyance, as when they sleep and you want to open or save a document, even if not on the external sleeping HDD, the HDD spins up and makes your application (from which you want to save/open) unresponsive for a while.

    2. Yes, it shows up as a folder called "Backups.backupdb" and is fully navigable.
     
  10. curtisinoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #10
    thanks . . also, will "time machine" back up files that are only on the external hdd? IE: if i access all of my music (100 gb's) thats stored on an external hdd and not on the iMac hdd, will "time machine" back up the music files ? Or will "time machine" only back up what is on my iMac/internal hdd?
     
  11. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #11
    TM will backup files from external HDDs too, but it will exclude files from the HDD used for TM.
     
  12. curtisinoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #12
    So if I keep all of my music and photos on an external hdd (drive "A") and I have and external hdd (drive "B") connected as my "time machine" backup drive; "Time Machine" will backup contents from drive "A"?

    ".....but it will exclude files from the HDD used for TM".
    Can you explain this? Sorry, not too "tech savvy" and not sure what this means.

    Thanks again for your help
     
  13. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #13
    A few things to consider about Time Machine:

    1. The Time Machine drive (or partition) should be used for nothing but
    Time Machine. Reason is that it will eventually want to use all the available
    space.

    2. You can partition a drive using Disk Utility, so that Time Machine has one partition and a second partition can be used for data. The data on the second partition can be backed up via Time Machine! But keep in mind that if the drive fails, you've lost the data unless you clone the data partition to another backup drive.

    3. For best results, the Time Machine drive should be connected all the time. "Best results" means the ability to restore files recently created, which is the prime reason to use Time Machine.

    4. Allow Time Machine to back up hourly ("best results") and it will be quick with its business. Also there is no reason to use other than a USB connected, low power (slow on both counts!) drive.

    5. If your data is critical, you also need to clone the system drive (Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper!) and keep the copy safely off-site.
     
  14. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #14
    If drive "B" is your TM HDD, then TM will not backup data stored on drive "B".
     
  15. curtisinoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #15
    Great info.. thanks for this post
     
  16. waynep macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    #16
    I do not leave my "Time Machine" USB drive plugged in all the time. My Mac is a Macbook Pro so it's plugged in the desk and unplugged when not at the desk. The drive stays on the desk. I don't have ant problems with it sleeping and waking up. Now OSX does whine when I unplug the drive without ejecting it first.
     
  17. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #17
    Trust me when i say you will become a semi Mac guru if you read the easy to read book Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Snow Leopard Edition. It is cheap easy to read and funny all at the same time.

    Plus look out this summer's WWDC because the new OS X 10.7 (Lion) will be talked about and probably given a Fall release.
     
  18. Twin B macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    #18
    Agreed; you'll be whizzin' around in no time. One thing that helped me when I bought my first Mac 2 years ago: your local Apple store has lots of intro small group meetings you can attend that focus on various aspects of the Mac. Take the time to go, write careful notes, & ask questions there. Many of the staff are quite knowledgable. You gonna be just fine as they say.
     
  19. curtisinoc thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #19
    I saw that they (apple store) even offer "one on one" training for an entire year for $99 bucks. I'm thinking about signing up but not sure yet


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

Share This Page