Question about Time Machine & External HDs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by onthecouchagain, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #1
    Apple is still relatively new to me, and I'm looking to backup my new MBP. I already own an external HD (with stuff on it) and when I connect it to use Time Machine, it says I have to format the extHD first. Does this mean I'll lose all that I have on it?

    If so, that's okay, I can always retrieve it from my PC, but once I select the extHD to use with TIme Machine on my MBP, does that mean I can't use it anymore to throw stuff into it from my PC? In other words, does it become solely dedicated to the MBP to use with Time Machine? In general, can I still add stuff to the HD separate from Time Machine (dragging and dropping it in, for example)? Would I have to partition the extHD?

    Appreciate it if anyone who can clarify.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    Finland
    #2
    Time Machine requires HFS+ formatted drive and it sounds like your HD is either in NTFS or FAT32.

    HFS+ - Native format of OS X. Not readable or writable by Windows (3rd party software exists, though no good freeware)
    NTFS - Native format of Windows. Readable by OS X but not writable (good 3rd party software exists though, NTFS-3G)
    FAT32 - Readable and writable by both OSs. However, it has 4GB file size limit which can be a big con

    Anyway, your best bet is to create a HFS+ partition with Disk Utility and use that for Time Machine. Your FAT32/NTFS partition should remain unchanged so you can use it to transfer data between Mac and PC.
     
  3. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #3
    Thank you for that info. Actually, I did notice I can't drag and drop (nor remove) anything with my extHD when connected to my MBP. So I'm guessing it's NTFS.

    When you say create a partition, you mean a partition for my extHD? Or a partition on my MBP harddrive? Does this mean I'll have to purchase a separate ext HD, an HFS+ version or a FAT32 version (would this be the ones in the stores that say "compatibile with PCs and Macs")?
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    I mean your external hard drive. There is no need to buy anything. ANY hard drive can be formatted as HFS+, NTFS or FAT32 (or any other format). "Mac hard drives" are simply HDs that are formatted as HFS+ but you can very easily do that with Disk Utility.

    Open Disk Utility > Select your external HD from the left-hand-side bar > Click Partition tab > Click the + icon to create a new partition > Give the new partition a name and use "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as format (this is HFS+) and decide how big you want the partition to be (how much data do you have in your internal HD atm?) > Click Apply
     
  5. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #5
    Fantastic. Thank you, Hellhammer. I'll try that.

    So that means the part that is dedicated to the MBP will be used for Time Machine, and the part that is left can be used for my PC. Have I understood this correctly?

    Will try the partition and will update on how it goes.
     
  6. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #6
    What's a good amount of storage space to partition for Time Machine? I'm on a 13" MBP early 2011 version, low end (320 gig HD).

    Edit: The max capacity of my ext HD is a measly 160 gigs.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    Yes.

    How big external do you have? How much data do you have in your internal drive right now? If you have a big external, you should give it at least 320GB.
     
  8. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #8
    The max capacity of my ext HD is a measly 160 (it's quite old). And of that 160, i only have approximately 50 gigs left. May not be worth partitioning that.

    I may just invest in a new ext HD (perhaps 1 TB -- they are under $100 dollars now, aren't they?). Any recommendations?

    I plan to eventually get an iMac and switch off PCs forever. I'm loving my Mac experience so this could mean the death of Windows for me. When that day comes, would I have to partition my new ext HD to dedicate one to my MBP and one to my iMac? Maybe split the 1 TB into 320 gigs for MBK and 500 gigs for iMac?
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    I would just get a new external HD then. Even 2TB can be had for less than 100$ (I think I saw a 2TB on sale for 80 bucks in NewEgg this week). 1TB should be even less.

    You don't need to partition the drive to use it with multiple Macs. It just creates one folder for the MBP and one for the iMac. I use the same external to backup my iMac and MBA.
     
  10. onthecouchagain, Apr 2, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011

    onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #10
    Fantastic. I will likely go that route. Perhaps this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136471


    Appreciate all your help.
     
  11. mothermary macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    #11
    Another Question

    Please let me know it I am doing this in an improper manner. I've had a number of questions regarding TM, ext HD and 2 macs. This seems to answer almost everyone save this:
    Do I physically have to change the HD from one machine to the other to get the backup going? Or once I format it properly will it be "seen" on my network if I have enabled sharing and then I can just back up the macbook thru the imac?
    Would appreciate your help.
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #12
    You can do it wirelessly as well.

    http://lowendmac.com/zisman/08az/time-machine-shared-backup.html
     
  13. mothermary macrumors newbie

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    Apr 1, 2011
  14. AtMostFear macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    #14
    so..I should only get the Time Capsule if I have too much money laying around and because it looks cool and also I can do it wirelessly?

    In other words I should just buy a normal external hard disk and save money?
     
  15. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #15
    Actually, I'm a little confused by this. When I connect my ext HD to my MBP to use with Time Machine, it alerts me that I have to format the ext HD (meaning I lose everything already on it) before it can start using it. So wouldn't that be true for when I get my iMac? If I already have my MBP backed up to a new ext HD that I buy, when I connect that ext HD to my iMac in the future to set up Time Machine, won't it ask to format it again, thus losing my MBP Time Machine backups?
     
  16. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #16
    Yes. Time Capsule is a ripoff and has had a poor record of durability (18 months and the PSU dies). AirPort Extreme and an external HD would be a better choice if you want to do it wirelessly. That way you can still use the drive through USB if needed. Anyway, a simple USB external alone is more than enough.

    You only need to format it if the drive is in other than HFS+ format. Once it is in HFS+, you can use it with Time Machine with as many Macs as you like.
     
  17. onthecouchagain thread starter macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #17
    Ah, gotcha. Once again, thanks for clarifying.
     
  18. salogan macrumors newbie

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #18
    possible to undo HFS+ reformat of external hd by timemachine?

    I attached an extermal hd that I had been storing files on from windows machines to my macbook.

    Up popped a time machine inquiry, whether I wanted to backup, and if so, did I want to reformat to use the hd for that purpose. I clicked the wrong answer, and I now have an HFS+ formatted external hd, and cannot access the files already stored on it by means of windows.

    I have investigated Data Rescue 3, FileSalvage, and TestDisk. Using the free scan function of FileSalvage (incredibly slow), it appears my files are mostly, if not entirely intact on the external hd, just inaccessible.

    Based on the FileSalvage scan, and my investigation of TestDisk, although I cannot access the files because of the HFS+ formatting, which TestDisk cannot get past, I would imagine, and am hoping that there is some way to undo the reformat to HFS+, and thereby avoid having to rescue the files with FileSalvage or Data Rescue to another hd (or having to purchase the programs) in order to access the stored, but now inaccessible files.

    I would dearly appreciate the insight of anyone here who could give me an answer, or educated guess.
     
  19. gwinanthony1985 macrumors member

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    Jul 18, 2010
    #19
    Cant you partition your external hd now ?
    and apply FAT32 format for another volume.
    Sorry i am just guessing never tried hope it helps
     
  20. Inara macrumors member

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    Feb 28, 2011
    #20
    Just for your information,

    if you plan to partition the HDD, use a Master Boot Record Partition Table Scheme in order to use it on Win and Mac.

    Anyway, you can found (almost) all your questions answered here:

    http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/FAQ.html
     
  21. keeper, Apr 7, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011

    keeper macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    #21
    I assume you have a wireless router with LAN connections?

    I'm using a QNAP NAS - 219P
    Two 1.5Tb drives in a raid 1.
    QNAP and many other companies have a time machine facility.
    I have 500mb for time machine, and 1tb for data.
    It also has USB for printers or hanging extra drives off it, I actually use this for an external drive which I back the NAS up to and off site.

    You can get a far better and cheaper solution using a NAS, and still have wireless time machine and printing.

    My time capsule failed at 18months, Apple did exchange it but you get a straight swap, so loose all your backups.
    I also find using a good NAS will access time machine a lot faster than a time capsule due to cpu and memory installed.

    Cheers Phil
     

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