I can't TimeMachine to my external USB hard drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dmk1974, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. dmk1974 macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    I have a 500 GB WD My Book external USB hard drive that I have used with a Vista computer for a couple years. I just got my first Mac (Mac Mini) and want to back it up so I can then upgrade my Mac Mini hard drive and transfer back all the files.

    I feed up space on my external drive hoping that I could use Time Machine or the Disk Utility to back up and image onto the external drive. However, it's not letting me. I'm assuming it's because my external drive has an NTFS partition on it, but it also has about 60 GB unused that I can't seem to format from my Mac Mini either.

    Is there any way around this? I definitely don't want to wipe the entire external drive and set up new partitions via the Mac. I can't seem to find an "easy" solution that will let me use this external drive to store the backup image at the moment. Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. ziggyonice macrumors 68020


    Mar 12, 2006
    Rural America
    You need at least one partition on your external drive to be in Mac OS Extended format. If you don't have at least one partition in this format, then Time Machine will not work. You can use Disk Utility (in Applications > "Utilities" folder) to edit the partitions on the drive. Note that it's always a good idea to backup any data on the drive before messing with partitions.
  3. dmk1974 thread starter macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2008
    That's exactly what I tried to do using the Disk Utility, but that free space is grayed-out and it won't let me. I'm assuming it's because it was initially formatted and partitioned with Windows.

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