error messages with external drives/time machine

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by bashorej, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. bashorej macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    so i have been using pc all my life, but now i have a new macbook and ive been downloading a lot of things. the other day an error popped up and said i was running low on disk space... ive been lazy about "reconfiguring my external hard drive for my mac" like the apple employee told me i needed to do, but i decided i should finally do it to free up space on my computer.

    i have a seagate external hard drive and i plugged it into my computer and erased everything on it so i could start using it with time machine. after it started backing everything up an error popped up saying that i only have 2.2 MB available.... so on my system preferences i reconfirmed that it says 2.2 MB of 232.9 GB available. this doesnt make any sense because i just wiped my external drive, plus i didnt have much on it to begin with.

    so i guess my question is, how do i make that space available?

    also, i mainly wanted to back up all of my documents, music, and movies so that i could delete some movies and documents from my computer that i dont need every day and make space for more, but then when i plug my ext hard drive back in to my computer, wont it just mirror my computer with time machine and defeat the purpose of storing things on it because they will just be deleted?

    i know im lame, but im really trying to get used to my mac which i know is way easier than im making it out to be... PLEASE HELP!!!
  2. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    OK, that is a lot of things but let me throw in some info to start.

    First off regarding Time Machine backing up to an external drive. No, Time Machine will not wipe other items off an external in order to make a mirror of the internal hard drive. Time Machine does not do a complete backup of your hard drive- it only backs up items that would not be restored in a clean install from the System Restore or retail Installer disks. As a matter of fact restoring a disk utilizing an existing TM backup set is begun by starting the computer from the System Restore/Installer DVD. Also, TM stores its backup set files within a single root level folder called "Backups.backupdb" or something of that nature. So because of that it will not bother other files on the drive at the time backups are done. On the other hand keep in mind that the files on the same disk with a TM backup set will not be backed up, so that is why it is commonly recommended that a complete disk be dedicated to the TM backup set.

    As far as the external that was erased showing those numbers, I can only suggest that since the drive was probably previously formatted for a PC that you probably did not change the Partition Map from an existing "Master Boot Record" to an Apple partition map type for you Intel based MacBook of "GUID". You can check if that is the case by starting Disk Utility and selecting that drive in the left hand column- the "Partiton Map Scheme:" section at the bottom of the window will tell you.

    If it does show "Master Boot Record" I would suggest making it fully compatible with your Mac first which involves not only erasing the drive, but establishing the correct partition map. Changing it to the right partition map will involve completely wiping the drive though, so if you now have data on it that is important it needs to be saved temporarily elsewhere.

    So take a look at that first and if you want to format it fully, let us know and somebody will be glad to lend a hand. Also, click on your internal hard drive icon one time and go to the File menu and select "Get Info"- then report back what is says regarding capacity, available and used. Then do the same for the external. That could well help in seeing what caused the errors in the first place.
  3. bashorej thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    ok, so i decided to not use time machine with my external for now at least. i plugged in my external to make sure i had everything on there that i wanted- and i did- so i deleted a bunch of movies from my hard drive on my computer, but when i looked at the info for my hard drive it still says capacity 148.73 GB and available is 3.68 GB, and my external still says capacity 232.89 GB and available is 3.8 MB this could make sense because i havent deleted anything from my external, but i deleted a lot on my hard drive and it still says its full.

    my computer has 160 GB... i thought this would be enough space because i only had 60 GB on my old pc and i have all of the same info except now i have a little more music and i have videos on it too..

    my external has 250 GB and when i bought it i had the 60 GB pc... so i thought this would definitely be enough space. it doesnt make sense that i only have the contents o my 160 GB computer on my external right now and it says its almost full?! i do have the backups.backupdb still on my external, can i delete that since im not using it with time machine anymore? could that be the source of the taken up space?
  4. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    umm... did you empty the trash? Usually when this happens it's because the trash has not been emptied. The space is not released until you empty the trash.
  5. bashorej thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2009
    wow, thank you. that was exactly what i needed! see its the simple things that i just dont know yet!

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