questions regarding backing up with external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by AlexQQQ, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. AlexQQQ macrumors member

    May 10, 2010

    New to mac. Just purchased an external hard drive.

    Having seen and read copious amount of threads regarding backing up and time machine just want to make sure I am understanding them. I apologize for posting yet another thread on this topic.

    What I want to do
    1. Back up my macbook with all my settings (basically a clone)
    2. Back up important files to use in a windows platform (in case I don't have access to a mac or decide to go back to a PC in the future).

    I am planning to partition my external drive into two using disk utility. One will be formatted to HFS+ Journaled (not really sure what the journalling does but seems that is what the majority does) and the second will be formatted to Fat32.

    As I understand the Fat32 is limited in the size of files to less than 4GB but is compatible to both windows and mac to write and read.

    The HFS+(journaled) will allow me to use Time Machine to backup.

    As I understand, Time Machine is not bootable (I don't fully understand the meaning of this...I am thinking bootable means that I don't need to find a mac with the same operating system/version and everything is self contained. So for Time Machine to restore all my settings I need to find a mac running on the same operating system and version as when I made the backup? so i should never ever lose my disk with the operating system on it then it'll be ok.)

    For Fat32 I can simply drag my files (including my itunes songs?) that I want to backup from any environment and open in any environment.

    Am I correctly understanding all this?

    Also I just bought a toshiba external hard drive which was preformatted for a pc. So do I want to first erase everything on that drive and format it into HFS+ then partition into two parts (one for HFS+ journaled and the other for Fat32)? Or does the ordering not matter at all after I erase the original?

    never partitioned before...kinda nervous...kinda fun. :)

  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Bootable - meaning being able to boot, thus if you have a bootable backup, you can connected that backup to any Mac and boot from it, if that Mac supports the OS X version and is able to boot via that port (Firewire on all Macs for at least the last ten years, USB on all x86 Macs and some PPC Macs, Mac OS X 10.5 on all Macs with at least 867MHz, Mac OS X 10.6 on all Macs with an x86 (Intel) CPU).

    TM does not make a bootable backup, that's what cloning software like CarbonCopyCloner and SuperDuper does.
    Thus TM does not make a clone, basically.

    Here is a post on how to use an external HDD for Mac OS X and Windows.
    found via MRoogle

    And yes, you can drag any file from your Mac to the external HDD FAT32 partition and open it in any other OS if that OS has software capable of opening these files. .mp3 files should be no problem.

    Also have a look at the following links, as the information presented there might be helpful in your future endeavours into Mac OS X and could clear up initial confusion and may even prevent harm to your system or your files.

    Mac OS X Basics

    Switch 101 - guide with articles made by Apple on how to accustom yourself, after you switched to Mac OS X from Windows​

    Mac 101 - How to get started with Mac OS X​

    Find out how - tutorial videos made by Apple on how to do certain thing in Mac OS X​

    Pro tips - tips made available by Apple for easier ways of doing certain tasks​

    Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts - Learn about common Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts.​

    Mac OS X Beginner's Guide by MacRumors - learn about software, media players, shortcuts and some useful tips, tricks and hints​

    Mac Guides - tutorials, product guides and more​

    MRoogle - a very effective tool to search these fora using Google and made available by edesignuk, introductory threads: 1, 2 and 3
  3. AlexQQQ thread starter macrumors member

    May 10, 2010
    Thanks for the response.

    I am beginning to see the power of a bootable backup now. So when or if my hard drive dies I can still function with just my external drive or if my computer fries I can restore with more computer model/options than with Time Machine.

    So I am thinking I want to partition my external into 3 parts.

    1. HFS (+) for Time Machine (for constant automatic updating)
    2. HFS (+) for carbon copy cloner (for once in a blue moon cloning)
    3. Fat32 for windows and mac files

    Does this sound reasonable?

    Anyways, I'll keep reading. Thanks.


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