Time Machine and External Drives

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jessmess14, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. jessmess14 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #1
    Hi Everyone!

    I recently set up Time Machine on my iMac with a 500 gb HD from my old laptop that I didn't need anymore. It's been working perfectly and I feel much safer knowing everything I have is being backed up, especially my beloved music! After having Windows for years and having several HDs crash on me, losing my files is something I'm really afraid of.

    Anyway, I also have a smaller external drive that I keep connected to my iMac at all times. It has all of the files for my websites on it. Consequently, I wanted to make sure it was being backed up as well, as it probably contains the most important information.

    I had read a few things about how Time Machine automatically "excludes" external drives from backups and how you just had to go into the "options" section and manually tell Time Machine to "include" it.

    I can get to the menu and I see that Time Machine is excluding my drive. However, when I go to click on the drive to tell Time Machine to include it, it won't let me select the drive.

    Does anyone know why this would be??

    I'll appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks!! :D
     
  2. JediMeister macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #2
    It's my understanding the Time Machine can only back up drives that have Mac OS X installed. How else is it supposed to track changes made to the directories and file structure? The only solution to back up an external hard drive is to use Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper!, or Disk Utility or a similarly-functioning application to make a copy of the external drive's contents and write that to another external hard drive.
     
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    Jul 13, 2008
    #3
    You can backup external drives with Time Machine, even if it doesn't have system software installed.

    You might have accidentally included it as a drive to back up TO in TM preferences, or it might be formatted in something besides Mac OS extended. Either would prevent it from being backed up by TM.

    Rob
     
  4. jessmess14 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2011
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #4
    Thank you both.

    I have just thought of a solution which might work for me…if you could give me your feedback, I would really appreciate it!

    What if I copied the folder on my external drive that has all the files I am concerned about onto my desktop? Then when I backed up using Time Machine, it would back up that folder, including all of my files.

    The backup drive I use is very cumbersome, so I back up my files about once a week. If I copied the folder from the external drive right before using Time Machine, I would effectively have backed up all the needed files.

    Does that make sense?

    Thanks so much for your help!
     
  5. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #5
    Question about Time Machine and ext HDs...

    I'm looking to get an iMac this year after the refresh, and along with my new MBP, I plan to back up both via Time Machine to a new external HD (I'm thinking 1 or 2 TB, and hopefully with Thunderbolt connectivity). I understand I don't have to partition anything in order to have the extHD recognize both my iMac and MBP (someone told me it would just create two separate folders for each within the extHD), but will I still be able to drag and drop items in/out of the ext HD manually, say into a third folder created by me? I may have miscellaneous things I want to add/remove to the extHD. Or would I have to partition in that case?
     
  6. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #6
    Hiya. No, you can use the Time Machine partition to store files and everything - just avoid the two folders that TM makes for the two computers. You might want to partition the drive though to limit the TM sizes. That way you'll be guaranteed to have a set amount of storage available for the other files you want to store on just the external.

    Note that when you first get the drive, most likely you'll have to format it to HFS. Many drives these days come in FAT32 or NTFS, which TM can't use.
     
  7. omyard macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    #7
    You're making it to be more work then it needs to be. Time Machine has never had a problem backing up any of my external hard drives. I can't recall if it does it as standard of if I had to tell it to include external drives though. If I did have to manually do it then it probably took all of a minute to do.
     
  8. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #8
    I see. Thank you for explaining. If I decide to partition to limit the Time Machine sizes, what's a good amount to devote to each machine? My MBP is a 320 gigger. As for the future iMac, it should be 500 gig, unless the base model upgrades to 1 TB.
     
  9. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #9
    If you go with a 2-TB drive, I'd recommend 400GB for the 320 and 750 for the 500GB/1TB. Provided that you don't use the full hard drive size, you'll never have problems with this limit. When you approach the partition limit for Time Machine, it will start deleting the frequent older backups. Good logic here because a backup from 4 months ago, how likely are you to require something from a specific day?
     
  10. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #10

    Thanks for the recommendation. So when the day comes, I should partition my external HD into three parts, correct? 1 part to use TM with my MBP, 2nd to use TM with my iMac, and the last part as just "the rest" of my space.

    What if I need to get something or transfer something to a PC (my friends and family are still PC users)? Should I make a 4th partition, and if so, should that 4th partition be FAT32?
     
  11. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #11
    Theres no need to partition.

    If you cant avoid messing with the 2 folders TM uses... well you got other issues =)

    Jedi touched on the solution I would use -- Carbon Copy Cloner.

    CCC is simple backup software that will allow you to copy anything from anywhere. It just doesnt to "versions" like TM does. You cant go back in "time"

    You can set CCC to copy your web work folder to your external backup drive when the drive is plugged in, and it will do incremental backups as well (will only copy over what is "new"). So if you had 100 gigs of files, but only changed 1 gig, then it only copies over that 1 gig.

    couchboy -- 2TB drives are under $100, heck 3TB drives are $120. theres zero need to pay the premium price for Thunderbolt on a backup drive. totally a waste. TM is smart, you can backup as many macs as you want to single drive. I have no idea why you would need a 3rd folder if you are TMing your entire drive? its ALL backed up. what more can you backup?
     
  12. blevins321, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011

    blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Winnipeg, MB
    #12
    You could have Time Machine share a single partition for both computers I think. And just have it be a big one. And for the PC compatibility, you could have the data partition be FAT32 unless you're planning on copying 4GB+ files to it. If you can get by with this restriction, here's my recommendation:

    2TB drive warrants about 1.8TB usable space (after 1Kvs1024 bias). 1TB as a single Time Machine Volume, and the remaining 800GB as a data partition. Or if you'll be using a shared iTunes library or other big media library on the external, flip those values.
     
  13. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #13
    Okay. I think I got it now. I appreciate everyone's advice.

    Here's a question about my current situation... I have a 160 gig external HD right now, of which 110 or so gigs are devoted to back up files for my desktop PC. This will soon be replaced by an iMac, but until then, I'd like to keep those 110 gigs of data stored.

    The remaining 50 gigs or so I'd like to partition to use Time Machine with my MBP in the mean time until iMacs come out and I purchase a larger external HD.

    How do I partition so I don't lose that 110 gigs? I know how to split the two partitions in the "partition" menu in Time Machine, and that I'm supposed to set the amount I want to partition for my MBP to "Mac extended journal" feature, but how does it know to leave the rest of my 110 gigs alone?
     
  14. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #14
    You cant. Drive is already formatted, 100% sure its FAT32.

    You cant make different partitions different formats.

    Get a new drive. $50 for 1TB; http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...m1043X499650Xc9fcc5fae334e3bbf8cd37a91c83ccde
     
  15. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #15
    You can have different partitions in different formats. I think you may be thinking the MBR vs GPT? For the data on that drive, I'd recommend copying it to your computer temporarily, partitioning/formatting the drive how you want it, then copy the data back.
     
  16. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #16
    I see. Thanks Badger. I'll look into a new/larger ext. HD.

    More questions... (they keep coming...): If I were to partition my internal HD on my MBP to Boot Camp Windows 7, what happens then? If I connect my ext. HD to my MBP while in Win 7, can I read/write at all? If the entire ext. HD is HFS, then no, right? So in that case, I would have to partition my ext. HD to half HFS (or whatever I allot) and half NFTS/FAT32, correct?
     
  17. dudleybrooks, Apr 4, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2011

    dudleybrooks macrumors newbie

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    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #17
    Does Time Machine *really* backup external HDs?

    (Rather than replying to my own post, I'm re-editing it to include this new information, which people may find useful.)

    I called Apple Tech Support again and here's what they told me this time:

    You *can* use Time Machine to backup external HDs. You "include" them by "un-excluding" them, that is, unchecking their "exclude" buttons.

    The caveat is that Apple doesn't support this. So if for some reason it doesn't work, or goes bad, Apple won't help.

    My original posting here:

    This question may seem idiotic, based on all the previous replies, but here's why I'm asking:

    I currently have one external HD which I use as my Time Machine destination. I'm about to buy a second one to do video editing on, and of course I want to be able to back up that second HD as well. I needed to know whether I have to buy a third one to back up the second one, or whether I can include the second one in my Time Machine backup.

    So I called Apple Tech Support, and the representative, after first saying that he thought that yes, you can also back up an external HD, consulted with a Time Machine expert and came back with the reply that no, absolutely, certainly, and unequivocably Time Machine can *only* back up from the internal HD. I then asked him whether there was third-party software that could back up from both internal and external HDs, and he gave me the name of this forum and said that I could find information about third-party software here.

    Now I come to this forum and see several users saying that Time Machine *does* back up from more than one drive. Until now I have always found Apple Support technicians to be very knowledgeable and reliable. So therefore I have to ask the ridiculous question: You do have actual experience using Time Machine to back up from more than just the internal HD, and the Support technician didn't know what he was talking about?

    Thanks.
     

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