Never had an external hard drive - What to do?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by parkschr, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. parkschr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    #1
    I just purchased an imac in 2008 with a 250gb hard drive. I have been reading up on how much people enjoy time machine.

    I think I should get an external hard drive to back up my stuff. I use my imac for work (documents), listening to music occasionally, and surfing the net. That's about it.

    Do I need an external hard drive? If so, what size?

    I am extremely lost.
     
  2. MacFanUK macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Yes, you would need an external hard drive for Time Machine. Your best bet would be to get a drive that's at least twice the size of your internal one (so about 500GB), and if you're only going to be using it for Time Machine, I'd go for a USB one as they are cheaper.
     
  3. parkschr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    Location:
    Dayton, OH
    #3
    Does it matter on the brand?



     
  4. MacFanUK macrumors 6502a

    MacFanUK

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Not really. Personally, I would recommend either Seagate or Western Digital.
     
  5. sturigdson macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    #5
    Brand isn't super important. I, personally, like OWC's stuff (at http://www.macsales.com).

    But there are a couple more pointers and guidelines:

    First, my general rule of thumb is this: get the biggest size GB hard drive that you can afford. So, if you have, say $150 to spend, find the biggest capacity in that space.

    Second, I always format my drives at when I get them. This creates good structure on the drive from the get-go. It also removes whatever files or folders the manufacturers may have put onto the drive (which happens a lot!) and makes the structure uniform for TimeMachine.
    Here's the best way to reformat your drive with the mac. It may seem hard, but it is quite easy.
    1. Hook the drive up to the iMac according to the instructions
    2. Open the program "Disk Utility" that is in the "Utilities" folder, which is in your Applications folder. (Disk Utility allows you to format and restore drives, and is very powerful, but also can be very dangerous. You don't want to do ANYTHING to the iMac's hard drive, so be careful from here out if you are a beginner)
    3. In the left hand field, select the NEW, External hard drive and hilight it. (Again, do NOT select your computer's Hard drive, which will be named "Macintosh HD" by default)
    4. In the right side of the window, click the "Erase" tab, which will open some new options.
    5. For "Volume Format," select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)"
    6. For "Name" change the name to something indicative. If you are using the drive only for backups, call it something like "iMac TimeMachine Backup"
    7. Don't worry about the other buttons. From here, you can click "Erase..." and it will reformat your drive.

    That's it! Note that if you accidentally click "Erase..." on your iMac's hard drive, it will actually erase the drive. So, you don't want to do that!

    You can do some other clever things with Disk Utility, such as creating "Partitions" with your new hard drive. Partitions create separate sections on the drive, which your computer interprets as separate drives. If you get a big enough external hard drive, say, 1 TB, you could partition 500 GB to be used just for Time Machine Backups, and 500 GB for, say, iTunes files or whatever you like. In Disk Utility, you would click the "Partitions" tab when you selected the new hard drive, and make sure to name each partition appropriately to its use ("Backup," "Music," etc).

    Good luck!
     

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