Newbie requiring Backup help/advice!!!!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by djhowie69, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. djhowie69 macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2009
    Hello Everyone!!

    This is my first post, so please be gentle!!

    I finally made the switch from Windows to Mac earlier this week and purchased an iMac.

    Being the careful individual I am, backing up is something I regard as essential.

    I have my iMac connected to an External Hard Drive via USB which stores all my music/videos/photos etc.

    I went to turn on Time Machine on my iMac and got the message that my hard drive needs erased and re-formatted. Obviously doing this will undo my hard work over the past few evenings copying music/photos/videos etc from my Windows machine to the iMac.

    From what I can gather by trawling the net my options for backup are as follows;

    1. Move music/photos/videos back to the iMac temporarily, re-format and set up time machine with the external HD (HD) and then copy all music/photos/videos back onto HD.
    Question: if my HD goes pop and breaks, I presume I will have lost everything, since Time Machine is also backing up to the HD?

    2. Purchase a 2nd External Hard Drive and plug into a free USB port on the iMac and set this up with Time Machine.
    Question: will I notice a fall in the speed/performance of my iMac with 2 HD's connected?

    3. Purchase a Time Capsule and set this to backup wireless using Time Machine.
    Question: will thsi still backup my music/photos/videos even if they are stored on my HD and not on the iMac Hard Drive.

    4. I believe HD can be plugged into the USB port on the Time Capsule, however I'm unsure of exactly how this works.

    For info I only have 1 Mac, connected directly to a printer and LAN connection to my wireless router, which is on another floor of the house. Therfore home networking is not really a requirement. I have a windows netbook and an iPhone which I use to surf the net via the wireless router if I'm not near the iMac

    I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you guys may have on the best way forward or any alternatives you can suggest.

    Thanks in Advance!!!

  2. Fishtalk macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2008
    Buy a 2nd Firewire ext. HD then clone your iMac HD to that., using Carbon copy cloner. That way you would have a 2nd Bootable HD if anything went wrong with your iMac HD. You could partition your New ext. HD the back up your photos and music on that. ( double backup)
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    RE: Backup help/advice

    Welcome to the Mac.

    Unlike many here, I would recommend that you NOT use Time Machine. Although it is useful for those who require absolutely mission-critical minute-by-minute backups of works in progress, it is SEVERELY LACKING in a couple of very important considerations.

    1. It is NOT BOOTABLE. You need a second drive that you can boot from, if only to run certain routine maintenence tasks that you can do from a startup drive. And - more importantly - if you run into real problems, a fully-bootable backup is worth its weight in gold. A TM backup CANNOT be booted from.

    2. It EATS DISK SPACE, for no really good reason. Other users will report how quickly TM will "fill" a drive, with version after version after version of stuff that's on your internal drive. The fact is, for 99.9% of your data, all you need is ONE copy (at least one copy per drive).

    3. It burns out drives. To use TM as Apple intends, you have to leave the backup drive on all the time, so it is continuously monitoring the state of the internal drive. It's an age-old argument, but I've found that the drives that last the longest are those that are used the least amount of time.

    What you need is an external drive that will serve as a "clone" of your internal drive - a fully bootable backup. No, it won't have continuously-updated versions of your internal files. But - as you mentioned above - if you are someone who regards backups as essential, you know enough to backup once a day, perhaps twice a day, or at least every few days.

    My suggestion is to get a decent external backup drive. It should have both USB2 (they ALL have this now) AND firewire (if your iMac has firewire 800, make sure the backup drive has that, too).

    With that, you can now use something like SuperDuper to create a "clone" (i.e., a "dupe") of your internal drive to the external. It will be FULLY BOOTABLE and an up-to-date copy of everything on the internal.

    SuperDuper will let you do a full clone (i.e., erase the backup and copy EVERYthing) withOUT having to register it.

    Register it, and you can then do "incremental" backups (replacing only what has changed) that go much faster.

    Do this, and you'll have a bootable backup drive always "at hand". You can turn it off or unplug it when not needed, and that will reduce the wear-and-tear on the drive, as well.

    I even have a small portable drive with another dupe that I keep "off site".

    - John

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