Setting up Time Machine

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2013
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I recently decided to use my WD My Passport as a Time Machine. It's an external storage device and I was wondering if it would be adequate for my Macbook Air (2013)?

Yesterday I discovered through disc utility that there's a corrupt file on my primary hard drive. Apparently there's no need to format, but I'll have to repair it by using the command-R during boot up? My external hard drive has a storage capacity of 1 TB. Should I dedicate all of it for Time Machine or can I create a partition and let some of it act as an external storage device? That's really why I decided to activate Time Machine seeing as I don't want to risk losing something when I perform the "repair disc utility" through boot up.

Also, should I encrypt my Time Machine? What do you think?

My Passport = 1TB

Hopefully that covers everything you need to know in order to help.
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,893
842
I recently decided to use my WD My Passport as a Time Machine. It's an external storage device and I was wondering if it would be adequate for my Macbook Air (2013)?

Yesterday I discovered through disc utility that there's a corrupt file on my primary hard drive. Apparently there's no need to format, but I'll have to repair it by using the command-R during boot up? My external hard drive has a storage capacity of 1 TB. Should I dedicate all of it for Time Machine or can I create a partition and let some of it act as an external storage device? That's really why I decided to activate Time Machine seeing as I don't want to risk losing something when I perform the "repair disc utility" through boot up.

Also, should I encrypt my Time Machine? What do you think?

My Passport = 1TB

Hopefully that covers everything you need to know in order to help.
I use a WD My Passport 1TB for backups as well and it works great.

You definitely can partition it and create a partition just for Time Machine and the other partitions for whatever you want.

My recommendation for creating a Time machine partition is to take the current size of your hard drive, and then add 50-100GB on top of that. For example, my Mac OS X partition on my Hard Drive is 340GB, so my backup partition is 440GB. You can set the size however you want to, of course.

As far as the corrupt file, do you know what the file is? Can you post a screenshot of what you see when you use Disk Utility? If your system is running perfectly fine it's probably something you don't need to worry about.
 

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2013
776
215
Wonderland
I use a WD My Passport 1TB for backups as well and it works great.

You definitely can partition it and create a partition just for Time Machine and the other partitions for whatever you want.

My recommendation for creating a Time machine partition is to take the current size of your hard drive, and then add 50-100GB on top of that. For example, my Mac OS X partition on my Hard Drive is 340GB, so my backup partition is 440GB. You can set the size however you want to, of course.

As far as the corrupt file, do you know what the file is? Can you post a screenshot of what you see when you use Disk Utility? If your system is running perfectly fine it's probably something you don't need to worry about.
Thanks! Well my Macbook Air has a capacity of 256 GB, so I was thinking of dedicating 500 GB? That should be enough?

Here's a picture of it. I'm not really sure what this means.



http://i.imgur.com/O2eu0NV.png
 
Last edited:

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,893
842
Alright. Well my Macbook Air has a capacity of 256 GB, so I was thinking of dedicating 500 GB? That should be enough?

Here's a picture of it. I'm not really sure what that means.

Image

http://i.imgur.com/O2eu0NV.png
500GB will definitely be enough space to back up your drive.

As far as the error, here's what I'd do. First I'd go ahead and do a time machine backup so that you have all your data in case of a system crash. Then go ahead and follow the instructions by booting into recovery mode and repairing the disk.

BACKUP FIRST!!!! If something goes wrong during the verification you may lose all your data and be forced to reformat the drive.
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,598
380
Redondo Beach, California
...My external hard drive has a storage capacity of 1 TB. Should I dedicate all of it for Time Machine or can I create a partition and let some of it act as an external storage device?...

Use ALL of the space for TM. Yes in theory yo can make a smaller partition but anything you store on the external disk is not backed up. So what do you store there? Only stuff you don't care it if it's gone. Why even bother storing stuff you don't care about?

The TM disk drive should be at least 1.5x or better 2x larger than all the data you have. The leaves room for old versions of files. TM will keep older versions until the disk is full. It will use as much space as you give it, eventually filling any disk.

If you need more storage space get a second external disk but make sure your TM disk is larger than the TOTAL of all the data on all the drives. So you have two external disks one for data and one for TM. I always use the newest and largest disk for TM. Every few years they make a bigger disk, I buy that then retire the old TM disk and use it for extra storage, off-line backup or whatever.

Next: Time machine is a good start on a backup system but you need more redundentcy. A power spike orthreft of the equipment can take out the primary disk and the TM backup at the same time.
 

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2013
776
215
Wonderland
500GB will definitely be enough space to back up your drive.

As far as the error, here's what I'd do. First I'd go ahead and do a time machine backup so that you have all your data in case of a system crash. Then go ahead and follow the instructions by booting into recovery mode and repairing the disk.

BACKUP FIRST!!!! If something goes wrong during the verification you may lose all your data and be forced to reformat the drive.
Sounds good. I'll do it. But now I'm not really sure what to do regarding the partition vs letting the whole drive act as a time machine.

Use ALL of the space for TM. Yes in theory yo can make a smaller partition but anything you store on the external disk is not backed up. So what do you store there? Only stuff you don't care it if it's gone. Why even bother storing stuff you don't care about?

The TM disk drive should be at least 1.5x or better 2x larger than all the data you have. The leaves room for old versions of files. TM will keep older versions until the disk is full. It will use as much space as you give it, eventually filling any disk.

If you need more storage space get a second external disk but make sure your TM disk is larger than the TOTAL of all the data on all the drives. So you have two external disks one for data and one for TM. I always use the newest and largest disk for TM. Every few years they make a bigger disk, I buy that then retire the old TM disk and use it for extra storage, off-line backup or whatever.

Next: Time machine is a good start on a backup system but you need more redundentcy. A power spike orthreft of the equipment can take out the primary disk and the TM backup at the same time.
That's a fair point. But since the external hard drive is so small, I thought perhaps dividing it would let me keep movies/tv series when the moment comes (traveling) and let the rest of it act as a time machine.
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,893
842
Sounds good. I'll do it. But now I'm not really sure what to do regarding the partition vs letting the whole drive act as a time machine.



That's a fair point. But since the external hard drive is so small, I thought perhaps dividing it would let me keep movies/tv series when the moment comes (traveling) and let the rest of it act as a time machine.

It really depends on what you want. For example I keep individual backups and second copies of certain files just in case.
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,893
842
On the same hard drive though?
Yeah. For example I have my Time Machine backup, but I also have things like large installers (like the Yosemite Beta or the Mavericks installer) so that way if I have a major system error, rather than have to redownload those installers again, I already have them.

I also keep important records that I might not want to store on my computer, and I use it as a drive to store things like my video projects.

I'm also considering moving my Windows install to the external disk since I only ever use Windows in a docked mode, but I'll probably get a separate hard drive dedicated for that.

It's totally up to you of course. There is a benefit of having a larger drive for Time Machine as evidenced by one of the above posters, but it really comes down to your needs. If you have A LOT of files that you're constantly managing, you might want to have a larger TM drive. Considering you don't have that large of a drive, you may also want to do a Time Machine to back up your system, and then have a partition that you have where you store your large documents and files.
 

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2013
776
215
Wonderland
Yeah. For example I have my Time Machine backup, but I also have things like large installers (like the Yosemite Beta or the Mavericks installer) so that way if I have a major system error, rather than have to redownload those installers again, I already have them.

I also keep important records that I might not want to store on my computer, and I use it as a drive to store things like my video projects.

I'm also considering moving my Windows install to the external disk since I only ever use Windows in a docked mode, but I'll probably get a separate hard drive dedicated for that.

It's totally up to you of course. There is a benefit of having a larger drive for Time Machine as evidenced by one of the above posters, but it really comes down to your needs. If you have A LOT of files that you're constantly managing, you might want to have a larger TM drive. Considering you don't have that large of a drive, you may also want to do a Time Machine to back up your system, and then have a partition that you have where you store your large documents and files.
Right, so 500 GB should be enough though for Time Machine?
 

0000757

macrumors 68040
Dec 16, 2011
3,893
842
Last question...would you say there's a need to encrypt it? :p

I'm not so sure the second partition should be in Mac OS Extended?
As far as encryption, that's entire up yo you. I don't bother doing encryption cause I don't have anything super sensitive stored on my computer, but if you have sensitive info like bank information or you just want to have a peace of mind only you can get that info, then go ahead.

As far as a second partition, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

Mac OS Extended will give files on that drive 100% use of Mac OS's features, i.e. a Pages document stored on a Mac OS Extended drive can use versions, whereas on a different type of system it wouldn't be able to. However Windows computers and most other non-Mac devices cannot write to the drive.

FAT is basically what almost every computer and device in the world supports, but it's limited to only copying files up to 4GB at a time. You could use that drive with other things, even things not computers, but if you try to copy a file larger than 4GB you can't unless you split it into smaller files.

ExFAT is a new file type that both Windows, Mac, and much newer devices (like a Playstation 4 for example) support. It's basically FAT but you can copy files larger than 4GB. However it's still relatively new and most older devices don't support it.

If you're going to only use that drive on Mac OS, which I'm going to go ahead and assume you are, use Mac OS Extended. Otherwise use ExFAT. I wouldn't bother with FAT unless you absolutely have to use this drive with older computers/older hardware (like a PS3) as well.
 

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2013
776
215
Wonderland
As far as encryption, that's entire up yo you. I don't bother doing encryption cause I don't have anything super sensitive stored on my computer, but if you have sensitive info like bank information or you just want to have a peace of mind only you can get that info, then go ahead.

As far as a second partition, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type.

Mac OS Extended will give files on that drive 100% use of Mac OS's features, i.e. a Pages document stored on a Mac OS Extended drive can use versions, whereas on a different type of system it wouldn't be able to. However Windows computers and most other non-Mac devices cannot write to the drive.

FAT is basically what almost every computer and device in the world supports, but it's limited to only copying files up to 4GB at a time. You could use that drive with other things, even things not computers, but if you try to copy a file larger than 4GB you can't unless you split it into smaller files.

ExFAT is a new file type that both Windows, Mac, and much newer devices (like a Playstation 4 for example) support. It's basically FAT but you can copy files larger than 4GB. However it's still relatively new and most older devices don't support it.

If you're going to only use that drive on Mac OS, which I'm going to go ahead and assume you are, use Mac OS Extended. Otherwise use ExFAT. I wouldn't bother with FAT unless you absolutely have to use this drive with older computers/older hardware (like a PS3) as well.
Well damn it. Decisions, decisions...decisions. I can always re-format the second partition whenever I like, right? My primary device is my Air, but I might want to transfer certain files to my PC. Therefore I assume ExFat would be good to use. Although, is there really no catch with it at all? Doesn't ExFat have any problems whatsoever?
 

Weaselboy

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Jan 23, 2005
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California
Well damn it. Decisions, decisions...decisions. I can always re-format the second partition whenever I like, right? My primary device is my Air, but I might want to transfer certain files to my PC. Therefore I assume ExFat would be good to use. Although, is there really no catch with it at all? Doesn't ExFat have any problems whatsoever?
Yes... you can reformat the second partition any time you like. The downside to ExFAT is it is not a journaled file system so it is more susceptible to data corruption from things like a power outage or improperly ejecting the drive.
 

nyexpat

macrumors newbie
Aug 26, 2011
5
0
Did a TM restore from latest backup, but older TM backups not showing?

Hi
On snow leopard.
Had a HD failure, purchased a larger internal HD, did a restore from TM backup and am up and running.

Now, when I enter my external TM drive (was partitioned into two, one for TM and another for an older bootable drive) the TM drive only shows the backups from which I did the restore a few days ago. All previous backups are no longer there??

I discovered this when I initially tried a TM backup and it told me there wasn't enough space (even though the drive says that there is - especially if older backups are no longer on there).

I have an unused 1TB external. Would this be enough space for TM backups on my new 1TB hard drive?
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,178
8,828
California
Hi
On snow leopard.
Had a HD failure, purchased a larger internal HD, did a restore from TM backup and am up and running.

Now, when I enter my external TM drive (was partitioned into two, one for TM and another for an older bootable drive) the TM drive only shows the backups from which I did the restore a few days ago. All previous backups are no longer there??

I discovered this when I initially tried a TM backup and it told me there wasn't enough space (even though the drive says that there is - especially if older backups are no longer on there).

I have an unused 1TB external. Would this be enough space for TM backups on my new 1TB hard drive?
Try holding the option key while clicking the TM menu and select browse other disks and see if that let's you see the old backup.

TM backup disk size is really only indirectly related to the source drive size. If you have a 3TB drive and only ever expect to have 500MB of data on there, then a 1TB drive would still give you 2X the space you need for savin holder file versions. So get a backup drive that is 1.5 to 2X the size of the data you expect to have.
 

Imory

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2013
776
215
Wonderland
This is going to be a bit of a bump here, but for whatever it's worth my Time Machine setup works fine so far. I made the backup and repaired the HD without any issues (no restore needed) so thanks chrf097 and Weaselboy. :)