Time Machine External Drive Recommendation

Discussion in 'iMac' started by insimbi, May 9, 2019.

  1. insimbi macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2008
    I just received my new 2019 iMac and I haven't even been able to use it yet because it's taking FOREVER to restore my Time Machine backup from my old external WD drive (it's not USB 3.0).
    I am now looking for a large, external drive I can use with Time Machine. I was looking at the WD Passport Ultra drives but read they don't play nice with Time Machine. I need something like a 2TB drive. Any recommendations???

    I've ordered a Samsung X5 for external data storage, but I don't want to spend that kind of money on a drive solely for Time Machine.

    Any help would be appreciated! :)
  2. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    All hard drives are the same, and any will work with Time Machine. Some vendors (including WD I think) ship their drives with custom software and ask that you install special software. It’s all crap. MacOS has everything it needs to work with hard drives. The first thing you should do when you get a new drive is open Disk Utility and simply reformat the drive, which wipes it of any crapware and formats it for the Mac (many drives come preformatted for Windows). For Time Machine, you must select the GUID partition scheme and format as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.

    See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202784
  3. wardie, May 9, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    wardie macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2008
    Post above is spot on I’ve never had any problem with using any type of USB external drive with time machine. For example one I use is this cheap and big, but any will do, 5TB WD Elements. I would recommend getting one at least double the size of the amount of data you have, so that you get a decent headroom for storing a multiple time slices of history... sometimes you never know how far back to you need to go get a file or revert your whole system to...
  4. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    I feel you with the Time Machine restore. It takes forever. Even the incremental backups IMHO take too long. This time I invested in a 2TB SSD and enclosure for Time Machine so the incremental backup and restore are a snap. I know its an expensive proposition just for a backup but in the long run it will be worth it.
  5. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2015
    East Coast, United States
    Buy an economical USB 3.0 enclosure from Satechi, Nextstar, et al., crack open the WD casing (if you can), yank the old drive out and put it in the new case. Even though the WD HDD is still not very fast overall, you may see better transfer rates than you did via USB 2.0. This is all predicated on the notion that your old WD HDD still has enough life left in it to make it worthwhile. If its really old, and you are located in the US, wait for Best Buy to have a sale on a WD EasyStore 3.5" HDD and snag one of them. Right now, I see the 8TB model is $190.00. Good luck!
  6. Lee_Bo macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2017
    Greenville, SC
  7. dcpmark macrumors 6502a

    Oct 20, 2009
    I had an extra 1TB Samsung 850 SSD lying around, so I bought a cheap USB 3.1 enclosure from OWC and it’s now repurposed as my Time Machine. Fast, quiet....can’t recommend this enough.
  8. goldbuffalo macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2017
    There is a way to wipe out your time machine back up, then do a fresh new time machine back up. Maybe that would go faster restoring to the new, just a theory.
  9. BigMcGuire, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    I got this at Costco: https://www.costco.com/Seagate-Back...Data-Recovery-Services.product.100458004.html

    Absolutely love it. It's a little loud but it will be my backup drive for the next 5-6 years.

    Was using those tiny WD Passports for my TM / CCC backups before but I was not impressed with their reliability and speed.

    I do use a 500GB SSD I had laying around (like dcpmark) and put it in an external enclosure and I use that for one of my CCC copies. Super fast, always nice having a bootable copy laying around just in case I need it.
  10. AlaskaMoose, May 10, 2019
    Last edited: May 10, 2019

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 68000

    Apr 26, 2008
    I bought a Canon lens from B&H, and one of two promo offers was a free 4TB Seagate portable hard drive. I use it to back my new iMac, and it works quite well. The backup app I use is CCC first, and TM second. The newer WD portable hard drives are of similar dimensions as the Seagate drives (I got both).

    In addition to the portable hard drives, I have several 2TB-4TB SATA internal hard drives (don't have enclosures), and a "Pluggable" USB-3/SATA self powered dock. I use this setup to save my photos as follows: I plug the USB dock to the computer and the SATA hard drive to the dock, then turn it on. When done saving photos, I eject the hard drive (s), and stack it out of the way on top of the other hard drives. This is the cheapest way to have a bunch of hard drives, and no stress is placed on the computer's USB port power supply.
  11. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    TM is not for me, prefer cloning to two external SSDs.

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10 May 9, 2019