Should I create a partition on my external drive for Time Machine?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by wreckthisplace, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. wreckthisplace macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2006
    Hey all

    I was hoping to get some help asap on this as I want to make a back up of my system as soon as I can. I recently got a 500 gb external hard drive. I would like to start using time machine as I have not used it yet. I'd like to use it with my new external drive and I also want to use my new drive for other things such as audio samples and general storage.

    Would you recommend partitioning the drive and allocating a smaller partition to Time Machine? If so how much would you recommend? I'm not 100% sure how time machine works but I wouldn't want it to eventually take up all of the space on my drive if that's what it would eventually do. If it doesn't work like that is dedicating a partition even necessary?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks a lot.

  2. erikmichael macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    I just did this....

    I have a 1 TB LaCie drive. I created 2 partitions only.

    Partition 1 - same size or slightly larger than my MacBook Pro internal drive (about 250 GB). I use Super Duper software to schedule regular copies of my hard drive as a bootable image. That is the sole purpose of this partition. You must have "Journaling" enabled when you create this partition. Using this image, you can boot your machine from any Mac using a key command at startup (I forget which combination of keys).

    Partition 2 - remaining space (about 750 GB). I use this as my "extended" drive. I point Time Machine to this drive. It creates its own backup directory automatically (at the extended drive root) which you can easily browse after backup. I use any additional space on this extended drive to simply drag/drop files at will into folders I create at the site root along side of the Time Machine backup directory.

    On partition 2, Time Machine will continue to store version after version of your hard drive until it fills the drive and then it will start to remove older versions. If you need more space, you can manually delete older backup directories as needed.
  3. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    For the most part, I would agree with erikmichael's ideas but still wanted to add some more looks at it.

    If you store miscellaneous files on either an un-partitioned drive that contains the TM backups folder or in a partition along with the TM backup, those miscellaneous files will never be backed up themselves. If they are just extra/temporary/unimportant files then no big deal, but just something to keep in mind since TM automatically excludes from backup the drive/partition its backup folder is located on. For that reason, should you have a TM drive failure those files will be gone like the wind.

    If those files are stored on a partition on the external drive away from the TM backup, that gives you the ability to back them up with TM which sounds good on the surface but (you know there has to be a but, right?;)) should the external croak, then you have lost the originals and the backups!:(

    For those reasons, I would seriously resist the temptation to use the new backup external for anything but backups of data that exist on other physical drives. If you need more external storage you will be much better off in the long run to get an additional external (prices are amazingly low for what you get) for that, and leave the backup drive just doing backups.

    On the backup drive itself, I certainly agree with erikmichael on the idea of having a drive with two partitions, one dedicated to a true clone of your internal drive and a second partition for TM- the only difference is that I would keep the second partition for TM's exclusive use. The importance of having a cloned copy of your internal drive cannot be underestimated IMO. Since you can boot up from a cloned backup (which you cannot do from a TM backup BTW) should your internal drive die you can immediately boot up from your external (by holding the Option key at startup) and get right back to work until you have a chance to get a replacement internal drive. If you have only a TM backup, you are dead in the water until such time that you can get a replacement for the internal drive. As far as the cloning software, while I have several apps I would recommend the free Carbon Copy Cloner which allows for quick incremental backups and you can schedule it to do hourly, daily, weekly or monthly backups automatically to keep your backup up to date without having to remember to manually run it.

    Other people will probably recommend SuperDuper (which I use as well), but be aware that it is only free for complete drive backups which are slow since they have to copy all the data from your internal all over again- to use the incremental backup feature for speeding up subsequent backups or the scheduling features to do automatic backups, you do need to purchase a license for $27.95.
  4. wreckthisplace thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 2, 2006
    Thanks for your replies.

    Unfortunately funds are low right now so buying another external drive to partition for a bootable backup and time machine will be tough and I really need the majority of the 500GB hard drive for samples, storage and whatnot.

    It is possible to fully recover your system from a TM backup yes?

    I also have an extra 150 GB internal drive in my mac that is separate from the main internal hard drive.

    I was thinking about partitioning the extra internal hard drive 80GB/70GB and using the 80GB partition (roughly just over the size of my main drive) as a bootable backup of the main drive (using carbon copy cloner or super duper) and the other 70GB for general storage. Then I was thinking of partitioning my 500GB external 350GB/150GB and giving the 150GB to Time Machine and the rest for samples and storage.

    Is this something that makes sense with what I have to work with right now?

  5. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    1. yes you can FULLY recover your system. its a restore point, so if you want to restore from the 10th of January, then it will look EXACTLY the same as that date (if you made a backup on that day of course). user desktop,, network settings.. everything is identical.

    2. your backup scheme seems fairly verbatim to me IMO.. but you can never have enough backups! sounds perfect.
  6. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    As DoFoT9 said, yes you can restore it completely- but I just wanted to add to make SURE you have not manually excluded any items from the TM backup before you attempt a restoration (as many people do with VMs and such). If you have, the excluded items/folders will be missing in a full restoration.:(

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