Does Time Machine Require a Dedicated External HDD?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GregPQ, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. GregPQ macrumors regular


    Jan 2, 2010
    I just got my 13" MBP a month ago and am new to Macs. And I've never done any systematic, organized backups on any of my Windows machines in the past.

    If I wanted to use Time Machine, should I plan on dedicating an external HDD for this? Or could I also use the external for ad-hoc file copying and storage?

    My MBP has a 250GB internal HDD, and I was planning on getting a portable 320GB external.

    I guess I'm looking for a "Best Practices" recommendation.

  2. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus


    Oct 13, 2007
    You can just partition the external drive. This way, you won't run out of space for your copy/paste files because TM will eventually fill the drive/partition up completely. But it is also ok/possible to just use an unpartitioned drive.
  3. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Time Machine will allow you to share the disk, however TM will eventually fill the disk and you will no longer be able to add your ad-hoc files there.

    The best way is to partition the external HD so that there's one partition for Time Machine and the other for data.
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    you should have 1.5 to 2 times your internal drive for time machine.
    basically every hour, it saves a copy of every file you change.

    so if you have a file that changes every hour. for the past day, there will be 24 copies of that file in time machine, over time, some of the incremental copies will be deleted. so you might be able to go back every hour for the past few days, before that you might just be able to go back every day. so it can add up pretty quickly. If you start to run out of space, then your older copies will be deleted.

    with a 250 internal, i would recommend a 320 just for time machine at minimum. Although if your drive is only half full, then you won't need as much space.
  5. China Girl macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2010
    China Girl

    This is actually my own related question. Any help would be great. My marriage is broken and he is keeping the Imac + peripheral including a time capsule. I have purchased another time capsule to do a duplicate back up of everything on the Imac. What do I do? Where do I start? what do I plug into what? Help please. I leave tomorrow with possibly no photos, music or documents for the past several decades.
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Sorry to hear about your situation…

    Don't bother with the Time Capsule; just buy an external HDD and plug it into the iMac; then to go the the Time Machine icon and change the backup drive to the external drive. Alternatively just copy the files you need.

    If you must use the Time Capsule you should set up it up as the router for the network; alternatively give the new Time Capsule to him and take the old one; he can back it up himself if he has the originals.

    If the man that's keeping the iMac and Time Capsule is a scumbag and won't let you take the Time Capsule, snuff him with chloroform and take the iMac.

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