External hard drive advice for a noobie

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Onzadog, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Onzadog macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2010
    Hi all, had a look around at various mac sites and this one seems to be the most informative. I've tried search my particular question but still not sure I've got the answer. Hope someone can help or at least point me to a previous thread that I might have missed.

    It's a simple home network, wife has an imac and I have a MBP, both running Snow Leopard. Our internet is provided by a Netgear DG834G router. Mine wireless and the wife's imac is wired in simply because it's near the router. I'm sure a novice that I'm not even sure what this connection is called, I think it's firewire but I couldn't say whether it's 400 or 800.

    Anyway, what we'd like to do is start making use of time machine to do some back-ups. We'd also like to back-up music and films to one location.

    We've also heard of the time capsule graveyard so are a little twitchy about spending money on a device that appears to cost much more than a normal external hard drive but still appears to have some serious reliability issues.

    Can we plug and old hard drive into the router and back up using time machine? Can we also store music and film in one location and pull it off via either device? We like that idea of plugging the MPB into the telly and watching films from our personal library.

    Can this be done? Are we asking too much? Should I get two drives, one for time machine and one for media storage?

    Many thanks and sorry if it's all been covered before.
  2. pjfan macrumors regular

    May 24, 2009
    Columbus OH
    Here is what I've done:
    We own a time Capsule Gen 1 - purchase within the first three months of release.
    The time Capsule
    1) replaced my Linksys router, which I was surprised at how glitchy it really... I never have to manually connect to network with ANY device in the house!
    2) Works as Time Machine backup for iMac, Wife's laptop, my work laptop
    #) Stores photos & Vids in separate folder for access within the house.

    I've never had a problem w/ TimeCapsule, and have used images a few times... twice when upgrading HDDs in laptops, and just two weeks back for my new MBA.

    For Media Streaming however (pulling images or Videos to TV), I have my PS3 linked to the iMac. Also, the iMac is the "hub" for most everything crucial. I regularly back some of my work to the iMac (via dropbox), and certainly all photos & vids - then they get backed up in the cloud (TC) for each machine including the iMac. So I feel warm & fuzzy, but I do suspect the HDD to need replaced eventually for TC as it runs a lot.

    So - that's my scenario. It's worth noting that the time capsule does all this while our cat sleeps on it due to the warmth. I'm still surprised that I let her do it, but I do, and the TC is still working like a charm.
  3. Onzadog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2010
    noobie still confused.

    Thanks for the info. I've spent all day looking at this and I thought I was getting somewhere. I was looking at either a Western Digital or Iomega 2TB hard drive (mac specific). Just as I thought it was all coming together, I noticed that my Netgear router only has ethernet connections so I can't see how I can connect an external hard drive to that for everyone to see unless I've missed something obvious.
  4. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    you should be able to partition the drive into 2 with your disk utility ... use 1 for TM and use 1 for storage :cool:

    Formatting your drive for a Mac
    STEP 1: Open Disk Utility like this:

    Click Finder.

    Click Applications.

    Click Utilities.

    Click Disk Utility.

    STEP 2: Select the drive you want to format. Be sure it’s the correct drive.

    STEP 3: Go to the Partition tab.

    STEP 4: Click on the Current Volume Scheme drop-down menu and select One (1) partition.

    STEP 5: Click Options. From the Partition Schemes provided:

    Click on the GUID Partition Table radio button.
    Click on the Apple Partition Map radio button.
    STEP 6: Click OK. Select other options as desired (e.g., Volume Name, Format, etc).

    STEP 7: Click Apply. The Partition Disk screen opens.

    STEP 8: Click Partition. At this point, the volume dismounts from the desktop and the drive is partitioned and formatted.
    Note: When Volumes are created, Time Machine may open, asking if you would like to use the volume for backups. Click Cancel to proceed.

    STEP 9: When finished, select the Disk Utility from the Apple Menu and choose Quit Disk Utility.
  5. Onzadog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2010
    Is it that obvious?

    Thanks for the help and comments so far. I've wasted a lot of time today digging around this as well. It looks like the options are actually very simple.

    1. stand along hard drive for each machine or take the MBP to the hard drive. Either way, direct connection to any hard drive.

    2. Airport extreme with a hard drive plugged in will give me a network drive but wont do time machine (may or may not, but would need some knowledge and tweaking)

    3. Time capsule will give me network back up and storage. I can even plug in a third party hard drive although I'll not be able to use this for T.M. only storage.

    4. Get really clever and know these things inside out and then do all the hacks and tweaks needed to get a third party hard drive to work with TM over the network.

    Am I right in this? If so, I guess I'm looking at 1 or 3 as my options then as TM seems like such a great idea.

    Ultimately, I'd love to be able to stream movies from the hard drive, over the wireless network, to the MBP and into the telly. Guess the time capsule would be the best bet for that.
  6. b-rad g macrumors 6502a

    b-rad g

    Jun 29, 2010
    #3 Seems to be the best option in my opinion, and the most simple.

    Time Capsule will be your backup for all Macs in the house and super easy to set up. Will also be you router so one less piece of hardware.

    Hook an external hd up to the Time Capsule and use it as your media storage. None of the Macs will ever have to phisically hook up to anything.
  7. Onzadog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2010
    Thank you

    Thanks for all the advice folks. Looks like I need to go shopping for a Time capsule.

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