Help with iMac backup hard drive

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Cannoli., Jul 14, 2012.

  1. Cannoli. macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2011
    Hello, I am in dire need of help for backing up my 2006 iMac. I recently got it fixed because of a "busted smart cord". It works like new again...for now..

    I need advice on what hard drive to purchase and if I should use Time Machine. I don't fully understand what time machine is..I mean I know that it backs up your stuff but is it just software and where do you get it?

    I currently have almost 20,000 pictures and about 4,000+ songs on it...
    Loading iPhoto is a 5 minute load and once its open everything else is painfully slow.

    My Main GOAL: To be able to drag and drop the information from my iMac onto a separate drive icon (you know on the desktop) & and the pictures are the most important thing of all...

    (Not worried about backing up documents because the important ones are already double saved on a USB)

    Future Goal: Would like to be able to transfer the pictures, imovie projects, and songs to a new mac (not soon just eventually)

    Sooo, What is a good hard drive with a lot of space?
    Do I need software? If so, Time Machine?

    I am a hard drive beginner so bare with me! :)

    If you can make it through this long post thanks hahah

  2. kennyap macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2012
    Cayman Islands
    Hi Cannoli:

    I can tell you what I use and why:

    I bought an external firewire hard drive (comes with enclosure) from Other World Computing ( costs < $300) and backup my entire internal hard drive using Chronosync, which costs < $50. Chronosync allows different types of backup methods, one of which is scheduled copy as a 'bootable' drive. This is the method I use since it is more easily restored to a new computer in case my system drive goes down.

    btw, if you call Other World Computing their sales department is actually quite good at advising you what you need and different options.

    I prefer using Chronosync because Time Machine is quite limited in comparison.

    Let me know if you have any questions and I'll answer as best I can.

  3. joelk2 macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2010
    now i dont know all the ins and outs of time machine but it comes as part of your mac, just spotlight "time" and time machine should be the first thing that pops up.

    as far as hdds go i would say WD (Western Digital) is a reputable company to buy one from.

    if you have a firewire port on your mac i would suggest getting a hdd that has one also as its faster than usb2.

    once you have the hdd, plug it in. in my case time machine popped up asking if i would like to use this hdd and i clicked yes.

    you can then specify what you wish it to backup.

    the general rule of thumb for backups is that it should exist in at least 3 places (one of them being offsite)

    with hdds as cheap as they are these days (uk equivalent 6p per gb) its not really expensive to buy a few hdds and keep them in rotation every few weeks.

    my setup is that i have all my photos on my computer, i have a seperate hdd which my backup software mirrors my pictures folder onto upon startup. once every 2 weeks i bring in my hdd from my garage and make a mirror of the pictures folder.

    so in the unfortunate event my main pc hdd fails i have the backup hdd in the computer to fall back on. and if it was the case of both my main pc hdd and the internal hdd fails then i would only lose a max of 2 weeks of pictures.

    once my internet speeds increase (at the end of the year) i will use crashplan as it is inexpensive as my offsite storage
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    You didn't say what system you're running. Lion includes Time Machine, you have to have 10.6 or later to use it, I believe.

    You already have Backup; it's in your Utilities folder and is free. You can use it to schedule backups and to backup only specified folders and/or files.

    There are lots of good external disks out there. I don't feel you necessarily need firewire; some Macs don't even have that port anymore so it can limit you depending on the hardware you purchase in the future. It's faster than USB, but more expensive. Most backup task don't really need fast connections; Time Capsules, for example, run over ethernet.

    Time Machine can automate backups, but it's strength is that it does versioning. In other words it keeps successive versions of the same document. You may not need that; especially in photo management you sometimes only need a copy of the original. Just depends on what you're doing.

    Carbon Copy Cloner is another free utility; it can make a bootable copy of your current drive so that if that current drive fails, you can start up with it and keep working. Again, you may or may not need that.

    And BTW, you can break up that iPhoto library so that it doesn't load all your stuff. Check out iPhoto Library Manager.
  5. EconTech macrumors newbie

    Apr 17, 2012
    ChronoSync will definitely work for what you're looking for. After you've bought your external hard drive to backup to, you can download and install a free demo of ChronoSync to see if it fits your needs. You can get a demo license key that unlocks ChronoSync for ~30 days at the link below:

    The YouTube links below show how to properly format your new drive to backup to, and show how to setup and create a sync document that will create a bootable backup of your Mac. A bootable backup is useful in the sense that if your hard drive in your Mac fails, you can attach your backup drive and boot from it, picking up where you left off. You can also restore your entire backup from the backup drive to your new, blank Mac drive quickly and easily.

    You can also create separate, smaller syncs to only backup items you need more frequently (such as your iPhoto and iTunes libraries mentioned in your original post).

    If you have any questions regarding configuring a sync for ChronoSync, or how it might best suit your needs, let me know and I'd be happy to help.

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