How do I use Time Machine?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Kuato99, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Kuato99 macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2008
    One month old Mac user!

    I bought a Western Digital MyPassport Esstential 320 gb and would like to have it so that I can back up my MacBook Pro every month or so. Is there a way to have it back up only when I want to and not have it auto back up? I just want to be able to plug the hard drive in whenever I want to perform back ups.

    Also, I've heard that even though the MyPassport says Mac compatible I will still have to format it, could anyone explain to me what I'll have to do for that?

    Thanks a lot for the help!
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    There are utilities out there that will edit the default length of time between backups, but I can't remember any of them right now, a quick google should find them.

    Although, since TM does incremental backups, I have no idea why you'd only want to have them a month apart. Based on what you want, I'd go with SuperDuper to have complete control and only backup when you want.

    The drive might be formatted as NTFS or Fat32, in which case, use Disk Utility to Erase it with a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) setting.
  3. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    If all you want to do is backup your MBP every month or so, don't use Time Machine. BTW, monthly backups are not adequate but if that's what you want.....

    Instead use either Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. CCC is donation ware and Super is shareware. Both of these apps can make a bootable backup of your My Passport drive.

    In order to use the My Passport drive for backing up, attach it to your machine and open Disk Utility (applications, utilities). From Disk Utility, highlight the drive and select erase. (should be fast)

    After the drive is erased, format it (using Disk Utility) as HFS+ and give the drive a name. I named mine "Backup Drive" but you can name yours whatever you want.

    The My Passport is now ready to be used with Time Machine, CCC, or SuperDuper.

    BTW, this little handy free application lets you set the length of interval between backups when using Time Machine:

  4. catachip macrumors regular


    Jun 7, 2007
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    Time Machine functions best (and most appropriately) when it does the automatic incremental backups every hour.

    In order to do what you proposed, you would just plug in the drive whenever you want to do a backup (i.e., every month) and Time Machine will automatically make a new backup. Once complete, just unplug the drive and store it away for another month.

    When you plug the drive into your Mac for the first time, it should ask if you want to use this drive with Time Machine. If you answer in the affirmative, then it will erase the drive and format it correctly for Time Machine. It will then proceed with the initial backup (which will take several hours).

    If Time Machine does not prompt you to use the drive you plugged in (but it shows up on your desktop) proceed with the following: Open "System Preferences" and go to "Time Machine". Then click the button to select the drive for use with Time Machine (also make sure the large switch is set to "ON"). The drive will be automatically formatted for use with Time Machine.

    Good luck!
  5. Kuato99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2008

    Hi, thanks for the help. I just wanted to let everyone know that I got my external hard drive and am using Time Machine. I plug the drive in and then just click "back up".

    The first time I plugged it in, a message box popped up and asked if I wanted to use it with Time Machine. I clicked "yes" so the drive was erased and formatted. I am only using about 25 GB of my Apple so the back up only took an hour or so.

    Hope this helps others.

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