Time Machine and external hard drive?!?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by calvinc, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. calvinc macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    I am not too tech savvy....Am I supposed to keep the external HD plugged in 24/7 in order for Time Machine to work? Is it going to damage the HD if it's constantly being plugged in? Thanks!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    It will back up every hour if it's left on. It won't damage the drive to leave it on, but in my opinion that's unnecessary... especially if you aren't using the machine.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    You don't have to keep it plugged in all the time. Keeping it running all the time may shorten its lifespan. I always unplug my externals when I can
  4. calvinc thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    So I could manually set the time machine to backup whenever I want it to right? Then I only have to plug in the hard drive when I am backing up? Thanks so much.
  5. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    I used to keep it on but I don't anymore--seems a bit over the top for me anyway to backup every hour. I have it turned off and back up once a day first time I use my iMac. Even though I have the Time Capsule for that, I do have several external drives and do power them down when I'm not using them.
  6. maril1111 macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2010
    Yes there is a software called timemaschinescheduler where you can adjust the backup interval between 1 and 12hours www.klieme.com/TimeMachineScheduler.html
  7. cooldaddybeck macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    I plug my external in once a week (or at the 10 day reminder) to back up, then eject via Finder, shut down and unplug. It works just fine that way.
  8. calvinc thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
  9. AlexQQQ macrumors member

    May 10, 2010
    Whenever I want to backup I simply plug in the external hard drive and Time Machine takes care of the rest.

    When I am writing a report or such I just have the external hard drive plugged in for the whole time (automatically backing up every hour or so).

    Also in case you haven't or don't know about it...you might want to make a bootable (Time Machine isn't bootable) clone using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. I do this about once a month.
  10. calvinc thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    Thanks Alex. Two questions.

    1)What's the purpose of making it bootable?

    2) I use my Mac most of the time. But in some occasions, I might use a PC. How do I format the external hard drive so that it could be used to save and retrieve files on both Mac and PC?
  11. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA

    In the event your internal HD crashed you can use the external HD to boot your computer and continue working until you replace the internal HD.

    You can create two partitions to do that however if you are going to use the external HD as a back up that is a really bad strategy. In the event that disk crashes you not only have lost your backup you have lost your PC's data. It's wiser to get an external HD for your PC, the good news external HD's are inexpensive.
  12. calvinc thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    Let me clarify... I want to transfer files from my old PC to my new Mac by using the external hard drive. However, the files saved on the external hard drive are not recognized on my Mac. How do I make it compatible so that PC files can be read on Mac? Thanks again!
  13. AlexQQQ macrumors member

    May 10, 2010
    I have my external hard drive partitioned into 3 compartments (using Disk Utility).

    1. Time Machine (Mac OS journaled +)
    2. Carbon Copy cloner (Mac OS Journaled +)
    3. Fat32 for my PC data

    Fat32 format is readable and writable for both mac and PC. However, an individual file can't be bigger than 4 GB. It is nice if you want to go back and forth.

    For your data (if all smaller than 4GB), format your external hard drive to fat32 (using disk utility) and copy your pc files over to your mac.

    You could also reformat using NTFS (pc format) but it is only readable on a mac so of limited usage...but the files can be huge.

    There are also software out there that let you write in NTFS on a mac...but they cost money.

    I highly recommend you making a bootable backup. So if your hard drive on your mac dies all you have to do is hook up your portable and run it from there, no time lost.
  14. calvinc thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 29, 2010
    how do I make a bootable backup though? Sorry I am not too good with technology. Thanks.
  15. AlexQQQ macrumors member

    May 10, 2010
    Using Disk Utility (in applications) partition and format your external hard drive.

    Download Carbon Copy Cloner to your mac. Follow instructions from that. Really straightforward to clone. The first time should take couple hours or more depending on how much you are cloning.

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