External hard drives, iTunes and Time Machine

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by supes83, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. supes83 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    #1
    Hi all,

    I have nearly filled by internal hard drive on my iMac (500GB). The bulk of the files are itunes (approx 350gb and growing all the time).

    Issue 1 - iTunes Library

    I plan to move my iTunes media (though not the library files because I understand I may experience speed issues) to an external hard drive.

    I have researched it and I think I am going to go with a 2TB WD Studio. I will connect this to the Mac via Firewire 800. This HD will be connected permanently and will effectively be an extension of my iMac.

    I think I am comfortable with that solution - though I would appreciate anyone's comments if they think my plan if flawed. It is my second issue that is causing me a headache... Time Machine.

    Issue 2 - Time Machine


    I currently use time machine with an old Toshiba HD connected over usb. This drive is not connected permanently (I am paranoid and like to keep the drive away from the computer when I am out of the house).

    With my new HD attached (let's call this the "iTunes HD") my Toshiba drive will clearly not be sufficient to continue as my TM drive. I fear this may mean I actually have to buy TWO WD Studios (not an appealing prospect for obvious reasons).

    My question: I am not familiar with Firewire but I understand I can daisy chain devices. On that basis, would it be possible to connect my TM hard drive to the iTunes HD and initiate a TM backup of the iMac AND the iTunes HD (as one) or will I have to connect the TM drive direct to the iMac and perform a back-up of both that way?

    The iMac has only one Firewire port you see and I don't partcularly want to perform Time Machine back ups over USB if I can help it (I know I do that now but it is a pain and I need my usb ports).

    I am sorry for rambling. It is all a bit of a nightmare. I am not exactly flush with cash but I need a good solution. I am also very disappointed that I can't utilise (meaningfully anyway) a perfectly good 500GB Toshiba drive!

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    There's no problem in doing this.
    It will, if you're backing up your internal drive. It won't if you include your iTunes media from the external.
    You can daisy-chain Firewire devices, so yes, you can plug your backup drive into your iTunes Media drive to perform backups of your iMac's internal drive. As you already indicated, there isn't sufficient space to backup your iMac's drive and the iTunes media on the external drive.

    An alternative would be to store your iTunes media on the 500GB external drive, then use the 2TB external for backups of both your 500GB iMac drive and the 500GB Toshiba.

    I also recommend Carbon Copy Cloner for creating bootable backups.
     
  3. supes83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
  4. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #4
  5. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #5
    Except you shouldn't move the library files... only the media files.
     
  6. annk Administrator

    annk

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    #6
    Other than speed issues, as mentioned above, is there any other reason not to move the library files? I ask because I moved them to an external disk some time ago, as per the instructions that have been linked to, and haven't experienced any problems at all - not even when viewing TV shows. Now I'm wondering if I should've done it differently...
     
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #7
    If you have your media files located on an external drive and that drive isn't mounted at the time you launch iTunes, your library opens, but any media on the unmounted drive appears with an exclamation mark. The resolution is simply to quit iTunes, mount the drive, and relaunch iTunes.

    However, if your library files are located on an unmounted external drive when iTunes opens, it creates a new empty library and resets your iTunes Media folder location preference to the default location on the internal drive. You then have to close iTunes, delete the newly created library, remount the drive, hold the Option key while launching iTunes and re-select your library on the external drive. Once open, you have to reset your iTunes Media folder location in preferences.

    This is more of a pain, and also means you can't even see what's in your library without having the external drive mounted. While it's not as much of a problem when using a desktop, where the external drive is expected to be mounted all the time, it's still not the best practice, in my opinion. The library files are very small, compared to the media files, so keeping them on the internal doesn't present a space issue.

    On a portable Mac, it may be desired to keep part of a library's contents on the internal, so it's available when traveling, with the balance on an external drive accessed when at home. This can be accomplished with one library by splitting the media over 2 or more drives.

    How to split a single iTunes library over two or more media locations
     
  8. annk Administrator

    annk

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    #8
    ^ Ah, of course, and when you mention it now, I remember that I actually knew this once upon a time. Since my external is always mounted (or has been up to now at any rate), I had forgotten. Useful reminder.
     

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