technical questions (protecting disks)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zuma022, May 21, 2008.

  1. zuma022 macrumors regular

    May 18, 2008
    I've got a couple more questions and I should probably preface them with saying that I'm my computer knowledge is rather limited. :)

    I'm thinking of ordering an iMac and I want to take advantage of the time machine. I have a power surge protector for the cables, but a friend of mine lost a harddisk despite the surge protection (maybe it was faulty, I have no idea if this usually happens). Now I'm wondering if you use time machine with an external harddisk then it has to be permanently hooked up to your iMac, correct? So in his case, wouldn't both harddisks be fried? Is it saver to go for a wireless option?

    And also I'd probably have to keep the iMac in my bedroom for a couple of month while I'm moving and everything. If I shut it down every night will that harm the harddisk? How often should you reboot?
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus


    Apr 27, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    You don't have to keep the external HDD permanently connected, but you're correct in that Time Machine was built with a permanently connected HDD in mind.

    And yes, it's very possible that a power surge could damage both disks, however, this would most likely be true no matter where the disks were located in your house.

    If you have a good surge protector (usually starting around $80) this shouldn't happen.
  3. nniicckk macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2008
    Re: technical questions

    Yes, it is absolutely essential to use a good surge protector, get something that has lightning protection, 25000 volts and beyond.

    I have lost a PC motherboard, a graphics card and RAM chips due to power surges, even when the PC was switched off but connected to the mains with no surge protector. The culprit usually was an event that caused a huge spike, like lightening in the area. Consequently, my personal rule is that if there is a potential for surges and I don't absolutely need the machine to be on, switch it off and disconnect the cable. Fortunately, I don't live in an area with frequent lightning so this is not a regular feature.

    Also, its perfectly okay to dismount the time machine backup HD when you don't need it. Won't get hourly backups but thats okay many times when you are just browsing the web or watching movies... Turn it on once a day and let TM do its business automatically.. Of course, if you are doing things that require an hourly backup, this won't work.

    An alternative would be to use a portable USB drive that does not need a separate power supply and is USB powered. A spike would have to go through a lot of chips to get to the drive.
  4. Roquefort macrumors member

    Apr 29, 2005
    U.S. west coast
    Another reason to keep the backup drive from being physically connected to the Mac most of the time is because of the potential for theft of both your Mac and your backup data. If an external drive or Apple's Time Capsule is in a closet when the thief shows up, you won't lose your data.
  5. zuma022 thread starter macrumors regular

    May 18, 2008
    Thanks so much! I really appreciate the information. Any advice on the rebooting issue?
  6. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007

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