How do you know if your external hard drive is too old?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by a-m-k, Feb 10, 2019 at 3:20 PM.

  1. a-m-k macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    Sep 3, 2009
    #1
    Is it normal for TimeMachine to take more than a week to back up to an external hard drive? I've probably have had it since sometime in 2008. I had a mid-2008 MBP when I first got my current external hard drive. That means I couldn't use my MBP for not quite ten days exactly. I started backing up on the first. Is this normal for an older external hard drive? It's a western digital portable hard drive.
     
  2. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    #2
    That seems like a long time... the drive is connected directly to your computer? What year/model MBP do you have? The drive is certainly limited to USB 2.0 if it is 11 years old.

    Also, spinning discs generally tend to fail over time, so may be a decent idea to upgrade to a newer one... they are very inexpensive at this point.
     
  3. mikzn macrumors 6502a

    mikzn

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    #3
    Yeah seems like a long time for a back up - I have a similar WD drive 1TB I purchased in 2008 @ costco - I use it to store large files / and access those files between a Windows (FAT32) and Mac - a lot of media files and large transfers and a back up from CCC

    I am using Mojave and it seems as fast as ever and rarely takes longer than 1 hour for even very large transfers and replacement of prior back ups. But even though it works it is getting old for a spinning drive.

    I agree with Patcell above - but it could also be an issue with the settings and configuration?

    Maybe try a new complete back up? or - if the drive is failing if and the Data is critical - a new back up drive is probably due?
     
  4. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    #4
    Hello, Patcell, I guess I forgot to mention that I no longer have my mid-2008 MBP. I now have a Mid-2012 MBP. The only thing I have had replaced was some bracket a few years ago. (I can't remember the exact name of the bracket and I believe it was for the hard drive.

    I only have to connect my external hard drive when I back up on the first of the month, though, I erase it every month to make sure I have room. I am also part of the BETA software program, but I don't think that matters with my current question.
     
  5. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    Mar 10, 2016
    #5
    It sounds like you have two problems.

    1) USB2 drive
    2) Time Machining all wrong. :)

    The 2012 has USB3, so you should be using a USB3 drive, it's far faster. Secondly, Time Machine will manage the space on the partition, there's no need to manually erase old backups. Just let Time Machine do its thing and it will roll them over as needed.
     
  6. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I agree with the previous poster. First, get a new USB 3.0 external drive to use for time machine backups. Also, if you delete the backup every time, it has to create a new backup every time you connect the drive; this is extremely inefficient. As was mentioned, time machine only makes incremental backups; i.e. it will only backup what has changed since the previous backup was done. Also, it will delete old backups to free space on the external drove when storage starts to get low. Really is very cool!

    Good luck!
     
  7. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    #7
    So, if I do have a problem with Time Machine, how do I check it to see if there is a problem?
     
  8. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I don’t think you have a problem with time machine. It is just a slow drive and it has to copy all of your data every time you backup because the previous backup had been deleted. I don’t think time machine is the issue, I think the issue is the slow drive.

    New USB spinning disk external drives are very cheap. Get a new drive and start a new time machine backup. Then let it do incremental updates in the future, no need to delete the completed backup.
     
  9. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #9
    I would never trust my valuable data to an old external drive, nor do I depend on only ONE external drive as backup. If one has important files on their computer (documents, photos, movies, music, etc.) it is really imperative to protect that data by backing up to more than one external drive plus also perhaps storing some things in the cloud. What I do is to have at least three copies of each backup, and one of those external drives goes into my safe deposit box t the bank, swapped out with the one that is in there from the previous time, which is brought home and updated. As technology has changed and external drives have improved in terms of both pricing and type, I have continued to update and upgrade my backup process with newer drives periodically. Right now I have pretty much completed a shift from platter/spinner external drives to external SSDs, which are significantly faster. That said, though, I still do use the larger-capacity platter/spinner drives for archival photo storage and such.

    I do not use Time Machine so cannot really answer questions about that except to know that, as has been stated by others in posts above that it does one initial complete backup and then after that does periodic incremental backups so that one does not need to tinker with it at all. Time Machine does its thing and it is a continuous process with older backups being aged off as new ones are added over time. That said, yes, external drives, especially the platter/spinner ones, do wear out after a while and are no longer useful. Definitely it is time to replace that old one from 2008! Amazing that it has kept going this long, though. Wow....

    My backup strategy and approach is somewhat different in that I prefer to do everything manually, and thus have control over exactly what is backed up and how and where I can retrieve it later if need be. Basically it is a process of just copying folders and files containing data rather than cloning my entire drive, the OS and all my settings. Since I am retired and am not spending time at work five days a week, I have the luxury of time to do this kind of thing. It also helps to have more than one Mac available for use, too. Actually, right now in the other room my older MBP is hosting two external drives which are swapping folders that are part of an archival photos project I've been working on.

    Get a new external drive -- this is what you need.
     
  10. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    #10
    What would you recommend, I mean for the external hard drive....
     
  11. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    #11

    It depends how much data you're currently, how much capacity you have (free/used), how much you anticipate that changing, and how long you'd like to go back in time. I don't see any of those details. You can't backup 2TB of your system storage to a 512GB drive, for example. And you could backup a 512GB system to a 1GB drive of course, but then you may or may not have a lot of "time" depending how much data you write.

    A good rule of thumb is 3x your data. Or three times your drive. So if you have a 1TB drive which is half full (500GB), then either 1.5TB to 3TB would be a good starting point. But you say that you use beta software so if that means that you are rolling backwards and forwards them maybe don't use 3x, use 5x.

    And as noted, don't just use one drive, you should ideally be using 2 or more backup drives. Don't store them together.

    Before you start though, it would be well worth spending a little time reading Apple's Time Machine documents. Feel free to ask more questions of course, but you might find a few minutes invested there worthwhile. :)

    https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201250
     
  12. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    #12
    I currently have a 499.9 GB internal hard drive, and only 429.58 GB's are used. However, I am constantly adding songs to my itunes libraries. I will sometimes save pictures from the internet, but not that often.
     
  13. mikzn, Feb 10, 2019 at 9:47 PM
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 8:58 AM

    mikzn macrumors 6502a

    mikzn

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    #13
    wow that's why it slow - it's almost full 86% ? - most of my back up drives are at 60% - 70% capacity max

    you can get a a 1tb for a pretty decent price, and like some others mentioned it's good to have 2 backups - I have 2 back ups of my photos ( almost 20 years ) and my music files.

    Edit: to correct my error / typo - 96% corrected to 86%
     
  14. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    Sep 3, 2009
    #14
    I think I misspoke.

    What I meant to say, I have a 499.9 GB HD and only 430.74 GB's are used.
     
  15. Howard2k macrumors 68000

    Howard2k

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    #15
    So I’d be taking a 2TB drive. Perhaps 1TB, but I’d recommend 2TB.
     
  16. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #16
    OP wrote:
    "I now have a Mid-2012 MBP"
    and
    "I currently have a 499.9 GB internal hard drive, and only 429.58 GB's are used"

    Follow the advice I give below and your problems will be SOLVED.

    1. Get a 500gb 2.5" SATA SSD. Crucial or Sandisk Plus will do. Cost... $50.
    2. Get one of these USB3/SATA adapter/dongles (cost: $12):
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011M8YACM/ref=nosim/macintouchcom-20?&tag=macintouchcom-20
    3. Get CarbonCopyCloner from:
    http://www.bombich.com/download.html

    then...
    a. Connect the SSD to the adapter and plug it into a USB3 port
    b. Use Disk Utility to erase and initialize the SSD to Mac OS extended with journaling enabled.
    c. Use CCC to clone the contents of your internal drive to the SSD
    d. Two or three times a week, update the clone (easy and FAST with CCC).

    Problems.... SOLVED!
    Once you do this, YOU WON'T BELIEVE how fast the incremental backups go.

    Personal example:
    Backing up the "main" data partition I have to an external SSD takes 8 SECONDS using CCC...
     
  17. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    Sep 3, 2009
    #17
    Easier said than done. I can't get out easily on my own and my own family doesn't really trust me to get something like this on my own, fortunately, I have someone nearby that can help me, but they've suggested I get a whole new MacBook.
     
  18. mikzn, Feb 11, 2019 at 8:52 AM
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 9:09 AM

    mikzn macrumors 6502a

    mikzn

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    #18
    Sorry my math was not correct :confused: - but that's still approximately 86% and on the high side,

    I am fairly certain you will see much faster back ups if you 1) either clean a significant amount of unneeded files from that drive and perhaps the other drive too? or 2) purchase a larger drive.

    I would try to keep 30% of free space on both drives or upgrade the drives to larger drives to accommodate more storage
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    OP wrote:
    "Easier said than done. I can't get out easily on my own and my own family doesn't really trust me to get something like this on my own, fortunately, I have someone nearby that can help me, but they've suggested I get a whole new MacBook"

    This doesn't make any sense.
    You can buy the drive and adapter via amazon if need be.

    The MacBook is probably fine, particularly if it already has an SSD inside.
    You just need a better backup strategy.
     
  20. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    Sep 3, 2009
    #20
    Fisherman, I also said that my own family doesn't trust me to get something like a new SSD on my own that doesn't mean just going out and driving.... They don't trust me enough that I can go online and order what I need/want on my own.
     
  21. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    Bergen County, NJ
    #21
    I'm guessing you are a minor and your parents won't allow you to buy these things?
     
  22. a-m-k, Feb 11, 2019 at 10:14 AM
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019 at 10:30 AM

    a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    Sep 3, 2009
    #22
    No, far from it. I don't drive because of a neurological condition, and because of that neurological condition I didn't exactly get the best education I could have gotten. (Sadly, a year later, I learned my true IQ was somewhere above average, but because I was who I was, I had to settle for far less than what I knew in my heart I could do. I probably would have done better if my circumstances were better school-wise. :()
     
  23. Patcell macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Oh, I am so sorry about that. I am not really qualified to advise you on that situation, but know that I am rooting hard for you to succeed in every way possible. And I probably speak for many other forum members in that sentiment.

    With respect to the external backup situation, I think your best option is a newer, faster drive and to let Time Machine do it's thing as far as incremental backups and allowing it to manage drive space. If you can't get another drive, continue to use your current one, but again allow Time Machine to manage the storage for you. It is just the easiest way. Just know, that an 11-year old spinning hard drive is somewhat of a ticking time bomb...
     
  24. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #24
    As was mentioned somewhere earlier in this thread, the cost of external hard drives has come way down, so that when you make the purchase, plan to get two of them, one serving as a backup to the other backup..... I agree, too, with getting the largest capacity external drive you can, because even though you might not need 2 TB of storage capacity right now with your current MBP, you will at some point be purchasing a new computer, and that new machine may have a larger capacity drive, depending upon what you choose as configuration and options. You would be using the new external drive(s) with the new machine, too, particularly in the beginning when setting up the new machine.

    These days there are only a few manufacturers providing external spinner/platter hard drives and external SSDs, and some provide the same device "under the hood" with different brand names. External drives come in both desktop configurations (need to be plugged in to the wall to provide additional power) and bus-driven configurations (portable, mobile, just plug right into the computer, no additional power needed). I've used G-Tech G-Drives, Seagate, Western Digital and Toshiba and they all function pretty much in the same way. One nice thing about the G-Technology G-Drive brand is that they are designed for Macs and come formatted as Mac OS Extended With Journaling, so that there is no need to reformat the drive prior to using. Other brands are usually formatted in eFAT or some such, which is fine for people who need to be able to transfer files between Macs and Windows machines, but for an all-Mac household it is preferable to simply stick with Apple/Mac formatting. In the past I used Mac OS ExtendedWith Journaling, but now I have switched to using APFS for my devices because that is how my computers are formatted.

    At this point in time, yes, it really is a good idea to begin considering the purchase of a newer Mac, as the 2012 one is pretty close to the "obsolete" ranking that Apple assigns after a few years, and this means that parts are not as readily available, etc. New external drives work much better and faster with newer computers, not surprisingly. However, if you buy a brand-new MBP or MacBook Air you will have some additional things to keep in mind -- namely, the ports, connectors and cables. Apple has changed the ports from USB-A (USB 3) to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 (with the exception of the 12" MacBook, which uses only USB-C but not Thunderbolt). Some external drive manufacturers are taking this into account now and often helpfully provide two kinds of cables in the box with their devices, which makes it much easier for consumers to make the transition. (Seriously, Apple should have been doing this, too, from 2016, which is when they made the switch in ports.) Also one can buy various adapters and such, too. Anyway, this is not the thread in which to go into all that but just thought I would mention it with regard to looking ahead as you are making a purchase now of external drives -- think about not just using the new external drive with the MBP you have now, but with the next one you will have in the future.
     
  25. a-m-k thread starter macrumors 6502a

    a-m-k

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    #25
    So, for now, I'll let things be and when it gets really unbearably bad. Yeah, it might get pricey, but I am sure I can get a financing plan. Maybe I'll even call my local Apple store and explain my situation if time permits tomorrow.
     

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