Time capsule partitioning

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by AppleNC, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. AppleNC macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2011
    I have a new 2TB Time Capsule. I have successfully installed it for back-up purposes. I would like to use it as an external hard drive as well. (I was told at the Apple Store that this was possible)

    1. Can I partition my TC to act as a back up and an external hard drive?
    2. If yes, what steps do I need to take?
    3. If yes, will the data placed on the TC in the external hard drive partition also be backed up during the regular Time Machine back ups?

    I am behind on updating the OS on my Mac. I am presently running 10.5.8. I have Snow Leopard in hand, but I don't want to start on the path of upgrading my OS until i have this issue resolved. Presently I have 2.33 GB available on a 232.57 HD.

    Thanks for any help
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    The only way I know of to partition a TC drive is to remove it and put it in an external enclosure to make the partition in Disk Util... then put the drive back in the TC.

    If you put data on the second TC partition it will not be backed up to the TC.
  3. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I am pretty sure that you do not have to partition a TC to use it for data+backup. Backup uses a sparse bundle... and does not need a dedicated partition.

    Unless I am mistaken... just go ahead and use it for data. Your backup will continue. Just don't inadvertently delete your backup sparsebundle.

  4. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    You can use the TC for backups as well as a general network storage disk. Backups for each computer show up as a separate directory at the top level of the disk (a "sparse bundle").

    If you really want to 'segregate' storage for some reason, you can attach USB hard drives to the USB port of the TC and you can export them as separate network storage folders.
  5. AppleNC thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 31, 2011
  6. kas23 macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    If you do not partition your TC, which you can't, and you use Time Machine to make your back-ups, once the TC disc is completely full (from many back-ups), Time Machine will then begin writing over any other data on your disk. Therefore, you should dedicate it to only Time Machine back-ups or buy a separate external drive to plug into it for other data.

    But, what ever you do, do not direct Time Machine to an unpartitioned drive with other data on it (unless you don't care if the other data becomes over written sometime in the future).
  7. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I believe you are mistaken. Time Machine will delete old backups from the backup set if the Time Capsule disk becomes full, but it won't delete other files from the Time Capsule disk. For example I have a folder called Drop Share on my Time Capsule I use to share files in my house. Files in that folder reduce the available space for Time Machine backups, but when the Time Machine backups fill the drive that folder will not be touched by Time Machine.
  8. kas23 macrumors 603


    Oct 28, 2007
    Yeah, I guess you're right. But, I'm used to only putting TM data on a partitioned or dedicated drive, so I don't run the risk of having any problems.
  9. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I've Just Gone Through The Specs.

    Just got a 3TB TC. No, you can't partition it, as it does not appear in disk utility. As posted above you would need to remove it from it's enclosure thus voiding your warranty.

    Mine is backing up 3 Mac's and running an additional Wifi network at home. TM works the way it alway's has. When your TC is full the oldest backup will be overwritten by the new one.
  10. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    I wouldn't add files to the TC disc as they wouldn't be backed up anywhere. If your TC dies, you still have all of your original files on your computer, but the ones you stored loosely on the TC will be gone forever.

    Buy an external and plug it into the the USB port of the TC and use that for storage, then back THAT drive up in your TC. :)
  11. rufftackle macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2011
    Time Machine Partitioning for External Hard Drive

    I just bought my 2TB Time Capsule yesterday from the Apple Store. Since the hard drive on my MacBook is only 250 GB, I wanted to use the Time Capsule also as an external hard drive to keep possibly (less important) media files on that don't necessarily need to be backed up so that they would not take up space on my hard drive.

    I'm not the kind of guy who needs back-ups of back-ups and monthly back-ups, which is what Time Machine is great at. I just need less frequent back ups. Since Time Machine will take up as much space as possible on an external hard drive, it would have filled up my 2TB Time Capsule eventually leaving with me with no extra room to store additional data.

    I setup the Time Capsule last night, it was definitely easy an easy process.

    When the installation setup wizard asked if I wanted to use the Time Machine for backup, I selected "Not now" and continued the installation to setup the Wi-Fi network.

    Then I ran the Time Machine wizard and selected the Time Capsule as the back up storage.

    I let Time Machine backup to the Time Capsule overnight.

    When I was searching online how to partition the Time Capsule so that it serves as both a backup and an external hard drive, I got tired of reading that "it couldn't be done" and other people saying "you have to take the hard drive out of the casing and hook it up to your Mac by USB," I decided to partake on my own adventure.

    How I Partitioned Time Capsule Into an External Hard Drive
    1) Start doing a backup in Time Machine so that your Time Capsule appears in Finder and/or on your desktop
    2) Open Disk Utility and select your Time Capsule
    3) Click on "Partition"
    4) Drag the slider to decrease the size of the "Backup of yourcomputerhere" to whatever size you want to dedicate to Time Machine backups
    5) Click the + arrow to add a new partition
    6) Adjust the size of the partition and give it a name
    7) Click "Apply"

    It will take a few minutes to re-map the partitions. After that, you will be good to go!

    So for all the people saying its not possible or it needs to be connected through USB... I'm guessing you're probably not a Time Capsule owner because this task was so simple!:)
  12. lowonthe456 macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2007
    When using as a network drive, it shows up in the finder?
  13. skowalski macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2009
    I can't get those steps to work. I have a newer 2TB TC. Instead of a slider in step 4, I see a + which I click to add a partition. I have 700 GB free, so I size the new partition to 500 GB. When I click Apply it says "Partition failed with the error: POSIX reports: The operation couldn't be completed. Operation not supported by device.

    Am I in the wrong area? My TC backup is running, and under the drives section I see [computername.sparsebundle] which i'm clicking, and below it Time Machine Backups which doesn't have a partiton option. There is no other Time Capsule in the drive selector on the left.
  14. MarcPolo macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2012
    Specs Please

    Could you share some specs. I assume it's the latest Time Capsule, but did this work under Lion, Snow Leopard, Leopard? and which version of the Airport Utility. I tried it with a first gen Time Capsule, the latest Snow Leopard and the latest Airport Utility and it did not work. Wondering if it is the older tech Time Capsule, c. 2008

  15. rufftackle macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2011
    Yes, it shows up in Finder, but only when Time Machine is making a backup to the Time Capsule. If you need to access the files on the partitioned space, just start a backup in Time Machine.

    I'm not for sure about this one...

    I am using the latest version of Leopard with the latest 2TB Time Capsule... hoping to upgrade to Snow Leopard in the near future.
  16. aznman002 macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2012
    It took a bit of time but I finally got my Time Capsule to partition with the directions posted by rufftackle. I had to repeat the process multiple times, getting a lot of errors but finally got it to work. My Time Capsule model is a mid-July 2011 MD032LL/A.

    I essentially used rufftackle's directions but after getting 8-10 errors (like skowalski did) when trying to add a new partition, I found out that the only way for it work on my end was to change the format from "Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive Journaled)" to "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" only. After doing this I was able to add a new partition (1TB) to my 2TB Time Capsule. (Also as a side note, make sure you have a lot of new data to backup so as to allow yourself time to access Time Capsule via Disk Utility after it mounts and shows up.)

    The new drive showed up on my desktop after doing this but then Time Machine started acting weird. At one point, Time Machine actually used this new partition to store new backups. I couldn't figure out how to set it not to be used as a backup drive because the new partitions isn't recognized as a "new drive". When selecting which drives to use for backup in Time Machine, the Time Capsule only showed up as 1 drive, not as 2 separate drives (Time Machine Backups (default) and New Partition). Since this was the case, when I connected to my Time Capsule via the internet away from home, the new partition did not show up, only the original Time Capsule partition (which defeats the purpose for why I wanted to create this new partition). Because of this, I actually deleted the new partition and reverted the original partition back to it's full size (which also took some time doing since I kept getting errors like before). Now my Time Capsule is back to its original setting, except that instead of having 2TB show up in Disk Utility, it only shows 1.99TB, oh well.

    It took me quite some time to get the new partition but in the end, it was not worth it. For the time being, I will just add files to the Time Capsule drive itself until my backups fill the space and then I guess, I will just have to manually delete old backups as I want to add more files.

    I hope this helps.

    (If anyone finds out to access the new partition away from home via internet, please let me know. Thanks.)
  17. TheStanimal24 macrumors newbie

    Oct 5, 2011
    aznman002- do you mind posting the step-by-step directions? I am still very confused. I am running Mac OSX Lion and have the most recent 2TB Time Capsule. Thanks!
  18. aznman002 macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2012
    Sure. Here is what I did based on rufftackle's directions. My alterations will be in RED.

    1) Start doing a backup in Time Machine so that your Time Capsule appears in Finder and/or on your desktop (make sure to add a good bit of new data onto your computer before doing this so that your Time Capsule will show up long enough in Disk Utility for you to select it and follow through with the rest of the directions)
    2) Open Disk Utility and select your Time Capsule (the actual Time Capsule drive and not just the partition that you named when setting it up)
    3) Click on "Partition"
    4) Drag the slider (in the bottom right hand corner of the box with your hard drive information) up to decrease the size of the "Backup of yourcomputerhere" to whatever size you want to dedicate to Time Machine backups (in my particular case, I wanted to divide the Time Capsule in half, so I slid it up until the size was 1 TB)
    5) Click the + arrow to add a new partition (located below the hard drive information box)
    6) Adjust the size of the partition (I did not need to adjust the new partition as it automatically filled up the rest of the unused drive, i.e. 1TB)
    7) Then give your hard drive a name and choose as "format" - Mac OS Extended (Journaled) - very important that you choose this format, as it was the only format that I was able to get to work without getting errors
    8) Click "Apply" (wait patiently for the hard drive to render the new partition and run a few scripts)
    9) Your New Partition should now show up in Finder whenever Time Machine backs up your computer

    I hope this helps. If you get some errors while partitioning, just keep trying over and over again. Like I said, "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" format was the format that eventually worked for me. Also, there were times after Time Machine finished backing and the icons for Time Machine and my New Partition remained on my desktop, allowing me to access the drives without performing a backup. I do not know how or why this occurred but it did.

    Good luck.
  19. FreddySparks macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2012
    I can confirm that it works. Did it myself on 2TB Time Capsule earlier today. It failed 3 times and then worked.
  20. rufftackle macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2011
    Glad to hear the directions were somewhat helpful :)

    I wonder if the reason others were having difficulties was due to operating Lion? I am on Leopard 10.5.8

    Glad that aznman002 was able to provide some more detailed instructions to help other folks out there partition the time capsule.

    I for one don't need back-ups of back-ups of back-ups considering I only have a 250gb MacBook. So, I might want to use the extra space on the Time Capsule for extra storage instead of wasting the space.
  21. fsalinas macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2012
    I did this with my TC 3TB and now I have a problem.
    1) I added a new partition using Mac OS Extended (Journaled) Format.
    2) The new partition was successfully created (1 TB)
    3) So at that time I had 2 partitions, one for TM (2 TB) and one for my files (1 TB).
    4) The partition I added didn't work as I expected. So I decided to delete it and give back that space to TC for using it with TM. As it was originally.
    5) This is the the point where the problems began.
    6) I couldn't restore the TC to factory settings because I couldn't resize the original partition to it's original size (3 TB). Disk Utility sends an error and stop making the task.

    Do you know if there is a way to restore the TC to factory settings (to the original partition)?
    I don't care about the data because I haven't made any backup yet.

    Thanks in advance.

  22. CocoSS macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2011

    I am about to buy a time capsule and reading this post slightly changed my mind. I have one simple question for TimeCapsule owners.

    For example, if i want to store a file on the TimeCapsule along with my back-ups, can i just simply drag and drop it there ?
  23. sinoue macrumors newbie


    Feb 16, 2011
    Silicon Valley
    Simple drag and drop file on TC - YES

    CoCoSS - Probably should be a new thread, but your answer is Yes. You can use your time capsule drive for both time machine backups and as a network drive for placing files on it.
  24. CocoSS macrumors member

    Aug 30, 2011
    I don't know why so many people say that you can use it only for back-ups. I was confused :)
  25. scw macrumors newbie

    Apr 29, 2012
    How get backups of files on Time Capsule to an EXTERNAL larger hard drive?

    Hi there,

    I also have a problem of using Time Capsule as an external hard drive and getting a back up of those files.

    I have a 500GB iMac and a 500GB Time Capsule. I was reaching the limit of what my iMac could hold and Time Capsule obviously too, so I visited an Apple store for advice which I have followed:

    I plugged in a 1TB external hard drive to my iMac. I entered Time Machine and set this drive as 'Use as backup'. My iMac backed up to it-great. Then I erased my Time Capsule and to relieve my iMac of some space, I then took a big chunk of files (photographs etc) and put them on my Time Capsule as storage. Great.

    Now, after fresh backups, I expected to enter Time Machine and also be able to see the files on Time Capsule, BUT I cannot access these files! It shows Time Capsule on the sidebar, but it is greyed out. I expected to be able to click on it and see all the files that were there and therefore know that they were being backed up.

    So my question is, how do I get a backup of the files I now have stored on my Time Capsule to this same 1tb External hard drive?

    Many thanks indeed!

    iMac 2008
    OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard
    Lacie 1 TB external hard drive
    Lacie attached to iMac, Time Capsule attached to iMac.

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