Erase and reformat HD for Mac

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Duffinator, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. Duffinator macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

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    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #1
    I've used the search function but didn't find any tutorials on backing up a Mac on an external drive.

    I have two Seagate 500GB external hds that are currently formatted in NTFS. I've been using them on my iMac with NTFS 3G. I'm now ready to take the jump and erase them (one at a time) and reformat to the Mac format and backup my computer.

    I'm in Disc Utility and want to make sure I'm doing this properly since I'm new to the Mac OS. From the Erase screen do I select Mac OS Extended? And then give the drive a name? Does this erase and format the drive at the same time?

    Also, any recommendations for backup utilities? I want to backup up my Mac to one external drive and then mirror image the external drives.

    Thanks
     
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    Feb 8, 2008
    #2
    Change the partition table to GUID and choose Mac OSX extended (HFS+). Doing this will erase the drive.

    Also, MacFUSE is much faster than NTFS-3G
     
  3. Duffinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

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    #3
    Thanks. Should I Zero out the data? I have everything on my internal hd. I don't see where to set the partition table to GUID. I'm on the latest version of OSX.
     
  4. Jisuo macrumors 6502

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  5. Zerozal macrumors 6502

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    #5
    There's no reason to zero out the data unless you plan on selling the drives to someone else. If you're just going to reuse them, a normal format will be fine.
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #6
    Totally unnecessary--just wastes time.

    In the left pane of Disk Utility you should see an item with the drive's hardware (will usually show up as a manufacturer and model number, though if they're external you may just see the name/make of the bridge chip, which could still be Seagate). Indented below that, you should see the volume name of the current partition(s) on the drive.

    What you want to do is click on the LEAST indented item in the left pane. Once that's selected, you should see a Partition tab on the right. Select that tab, then chose the setup you want in terms of partition. If you only want one partition, select "1 Partition" from the pop-up menu over the little diagram (do this even if it already has only 1 partition--it'll make sure no oddball little partitions get left over and that you can change the partition scheme).

    Now you should be able to click the "Options" button down below the diagram. In the dialogue that appears you can select the partition formation, which in your case is probably going to be GUID. Last select the one partition in the box and select "MacOS Extended (Journaled)" from the pop-up at right.

    Finally click "Apply" down at the bottom right, okay the warnings, and wait 30 seconds. When it's done you should have a freshly formatted, blank drive in the correct format and partition scheme.
     
  7. Duffinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

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    #7
    Anyone?

    Thanks for the comments, I have my external drives erased and formatted.
     
  8. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    Aug 15, 2001
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    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #8
    Sorry, didn't notice the unanswered question in the first post.

    A quick search here will turn up a half-dozen suggestions, but basically you've got: Time Machine, which is built-in, easy, and works great for versioning. CarbonCopyCloner, which is donationware and works great for making bootable clones of a system drive. Or any of a dozen other paid backup programs--I use Sync, SuperDuper is popular, and there are many others--with various features and advantages.

    Me, I'd use Time Machine to deal with data backups, and keep a CCC cloned boot drive disconnected but handy in the event of a catastrophic failure, so you can get back up and running quickly.
     
  9. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    Texas
    #9
    I do something similar ... Time Machine is on all the time, but I make a SuperDuper backup every two weeks or so, just in case.
     
  10. Duffinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

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    #10
    Thanks, excellent idea. Previously I was keeping my back up off site and rotating them but this method will ensure I always have current data.
     
  11. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

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    #11
    While Time Machine is great because of its ease, it really has huge disadvantages. A much better solution is a constantly updated (such as daily) cloned back up via Carbon Copy Cloner (donationware) or SuperDuper (shareware.) You can tell either program to backup automatically at set intervals and then you'll always have a near perfect backup ready to boot and keep rolling. Off site backup is still a must for important files, but not really for the OS or apps (but perhaps a file with all your registration keys and passwords should be kept off site!)
     
  12. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Daily is a strange definition of "constantly" updated, since its errrm... daily :)

    I"m not sure what the 'huge disadvantages' of TM are (with a bold statement like that, might be a good idea to say what you think they are, since many, me included find it very useful), but as per messages above, you don't have to just have one backup mechanism.

    For example, I use several;
    - TM 'constantly' (well, hourly, but that's more 'constantly' than daily),
    - Nightly backups using JungleDisk to Amazon S3 so my stuff is all off site,
    - An occasional full CCC clone to an external HD that is otherwise kept switched off, so a power spike wouldn't nuke it and a Trojan couldn't affect it.

    The only disadvantage of TM I am aware of is that you do need to dedicate a fair amount of disk space to it and it doesn't work well with encrypted volumes. You don't, as per popular myth, need 1.5x your hard disk space, you do need more than the actual data you have on disk. For example I have a 640GB HD, a 1Tb TM drive, but only have about 130GB used on disk and 100Gb on my TM drive. So whether your 500Gb disk is big enough depends how much is used on the disks you want to backup with TM. If its 500Gb, TM is not a good choice with your 500GB external disk, if its say 200GB, TM will be fine.
     
  13. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

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    #13
    The biggest disadvantage is that if you suffer a complete hard drive failure, you cannot simply boot from Time Machine and keep rolling. You must first format a new drive and then restore, which takes a fairly large amount of time for big hard drives. Meanwhile, if you had a cloned backup, you'd be up and running right away and could reclone a new backup overnight.
     
  14. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #14
    This is of course the one disadvantage of Time Machine (or any similar backup routine), and the advantage of bootable clones.

    But let's be clear here that the tradeoffs are:

    1) Hourly backups rather than (probably) daily, or however often you have your clone operation set to run.
    2) VERSIONING. This is not a small issue--TM will keep old versions of a modified or deleted file stretching back for as long as the amount of free space you give it. In the event you need to revert to something that got saved over, deleted, or otherwise corrupted and you didn't notice immediately, this is not a small deal.
    3) Ease of use. This is not trivial for many users.
    4) Can be run easily over a network.

    This isn't to say that there's no purpose for a bootable clone--I keep one in a fire safe, myself--but a bootable clone and Time Machine are significantly different options with significantly different advantages and disadvantages.

    What it essentially comes down to is whether the loss of a few hours of saved work and the ability to go back to a much earlier version of a file is worth trading for the ability to boot immediately after a failure.

    Now, me personally, I use both clones and versioned backups, but I have a much more complicated home setup.
     
  15. Duffinator thread starter macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
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    #15
    Thanks again your your input. I have two Seagate external HDs and will use one with TM for constant backup and the other for a clone using CCC that will be stored off site.
     

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