Time Machine/best way to back up files

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by nearfantastica, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. nearfantastica macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    #1
    I'm trying to come up with the best way to back up my files. I don't have the best back up system right now, and I've had a hard drive die on me before and I lost all my files, so I'm trying to come up with something.

    I've read posts on this board about how people have one external drive for Time Machine and then another for media files. Is this the best way to go? I'm not all too familiar with Time Machine since this is my first Mac, so I'm not entirely sure how it works and why some people use two drives.
     
  2. Gillespie81 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #2
    im right there with you. i am also new to mac and ive read that most people have two hard drives, one for time machine and one for all other. ive been going crazy going through thread after thread. i have a 128 ssd so im thing 2 1tb or 2 750 mb. i want the firewire for the speed and ive been looking at gtech, owc, or goflex pro because of the thunderbolt adapter that should be coming out soon.

    sorry to hijack your thread but i was just getting ready to start one about the same thing
     
  3. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #3
    I think you are a bit confused (at least if I understand what you are saying).

    Regarding the media files... it is common for people with large media libraries to have an external drive for media... because their media library does not fit on the laptop HDD/SDD. This is not a backup... but just a different place to keep your media when your computer has limited internal storage.

    Regarding backup... a good backup strategy has a few different criteria that should be met.

    1) It should be automatic... meaning no human intervention.
    2) You need to protect against any single piece of media failing (ex: you HDD)
    3) You should protect against natural disaster and/or theft (one backup offsite).

    Time machine meets most of those criteria (except the off-site aspect)... and the interface is so slick that it is a shame not to use it. If you have a desktop, then just get a cheap USB drive (about 2X the size of your data) and connect it to the desktop permanently.

    If you have a laptop... the problem with just having a direct connect USB drive is that it violates #1 above.... it is not automatic. A better solution would be a network attached drive that supports Time Machine. The easiest (not necessarily the cheapest) approach is to use a Time Capsule. Other options are available, but are probably not as bulletproof as a TC.

    All of this does not solve the automatic offsite storage. There are several good cloud backup services that are very inexpensive. Some people are afraid of offsite storage because of security concerns... but I believe those fears are unfounded. It is probably the most secure part of your data storage. Unless you have no digital assets to protect... you should subscribe to a cloud backup system. Popular choices include Crashplan+, Mozy, Carbonite, Amazon S3. I have personally used Mozy and CP+.

    /Jim
     
  4. Gillespie81 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #4
    So would it be to my benefit to have TC for TM because of it being wireless an automatic. Ive read alot of problems that some external hard drives thats are bus powered fail when the comp goes in sleep mode. Does TC and TM work together in sleep mode. If thats the case should i get a 1gb TC for backup and an another hd for media and other files.
     
  5. makingmusic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    #5
    Any suggestions on how to keep the Home Directory between two Macs (MBP and iMac) in synch? Sometimes I work on the MBP and other times on the iMac. I have the same applications (for the most part) but struggle with moving files back and forth between these two computers. Except for iTunes (complete library on iMac) I would like to keep them in synch with a system that I don't have to think about!
     
  6. flynz4, Sep 5, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011

    flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #6
    I assume that you have a notebook and not a desktop.

    I think there is a huge advantage of having your Time Machine backup target being on the network... because of the fact that it is automatic and backups occur without even thinking about it. The Time Capsule seems to be the easiest way to accomplish this.

    I cannot help you with a 2nd HDD for your notebook. I have gone out of my way to ensure that I do not need to have external drives hanging off of my equipment. To do that, I have:

    1. 2TB iMac which includes 100% of our "original data" (my wife and I share this)
    2. Two MacBook Airs (one each for my wife and I) that have 0% of original data on it.

    To accomplish #2 above, we use a variety of things to keep the computers in sync. Most important are:

    • Dropbox - an automatically synced version of all our documents that we would want with us when mobile
    • Mobile Me iDisk - an inferior (but larger) version of Dropbox that we use for lots of relatively static information we want for reference when mobile
    • 100% use of IMAP email (mostly Mobile Me and Gmail)
    • Mobile Me Sync of calendars, contacts, etc
    • Bookmark sync via Xmarks
    • Coming soon: Media sync via iCloud

    This allows us to have all of our important data with us on our MBAs, but none of it "lives" on our MBA's. THe cloud keeps everything we would possibly want synced.

    Finally, for backup we use:

    1) Time Machine locally on the iMac to a 2TB TC
    2) Crashplan+ to the cloud for our 2TB iMac
    3) Each MBA backs up to a 2TB TC just for convenient restore. It really is not necessary because all data is already getting backed up on the iMac... but it sure is nice if we want to rebuild an MBA.

    Hope this helps.

    /Jim
     
  7. Gillespie81 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2011
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #7
    I got it. I really didnt think about icloud coming up for my docs and everything else. I guess ill get it a TC and back it up my other stuff on cloud networks an have a small external for the just incase everything else goes down. Thanks for your input it was very helpful.
     
  8. nearfantastica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    #8
    Thanks, Jim! That helped out a lot. Now I know what I need to do. I have an iMac so I will be able to leave the HDD hooked up permanently.

    My other question is - which kind of drive is better? A desktop drive or a portable drive? Or does it not matter? The only thing I can see that is different is the actual size (not disk space) of them. In that case, I'll go for a portable drive just so it doesn't take up so much room on my desk.
     
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    It depends on how much data you have... and if you value portability.

    I bought a 2TB desktop drive for about $60 or so... it was a great deal. For the same money, I would not have been able to get 1TB portable drive. OTOH... if you just want to carry it around for portable use... the portable drive is obviously better because it is smaller, lighter, and USB powered.

    /Jim
     
  10. nearfantastica thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    #10
    Okay, I went out and bought a Western Digital 1 TB portable drive today. I'm going to set it up with Time Machine tomorrow and let it run.

    I do have a question about Time Machine - I read that after the first backup, it only does backup to files that have been changed since then. I have a lot of files on my computer now that I have brought over from old computers that I probably don't need anymore. I am slowly making my way through to get rid of what I don't need. If I delete files from my computer after the first backup, will these files also be deleted from my backup drive? Or will I have to eventually format the backup drive and start over once I get rid of what I don't want on my computer?

    Also, about the portable drive - is it worse for the drive to leave it connected through the USB port permanently, or to keep connecting/disconnecting all the time? I know all drives will fail eventually and I plan on leaving mine connected permanently for Time Machine to do its thing, but I was just curious. :)

    (Sorry if these questions are silly, I'm new to this!)
     
  11. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    Personally... I would just let the TM do it's thing. You may decide you want some of those files back someday.

    TM will be most useful if you just leave the portable drive connected to your computer continuously. That ensures the automatic backup continues to run without human intervention. TM will back up automatically every hour. This is useful if you ever need an older version of a file.

    /Jim
     

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