Time-Machine HDD question

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Labhras, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Labhras macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    Hi all,

    I need to buy a new external HDD for my Time Machine backup. I have a MBA with 256GB drive, so I think I'd need at least a 1TB HD to last me few years. I'll disable the movies folder as it's quite big and I'll sort them manually, but documents, settings, and general files would be included in the backup.
    Do you have any suggestions for a slim, not too much expensive drive, able to fit alongside my mac in a bag?

    Another question - would it be possible to temporarily partition the drive?
    Having 50-100GB free for my use to temporarily store documents or movies in case I'm bringing only my backup drive somewhere, without getting my Time Machine backups messed up?
  2. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    You're looking to a backup drive that you can take with you?
  3. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    Yes, I travel every one or two months, and since getting my air I tend to travel lighter and with a smaller bag. Since I'd take it with me to keep up with backups I'd like a slim drive that could fit in without problems but able to last for a long time.
  4. pasadena macrumors 6502a


    Sep 12, 2012
    Seattle, WA
    I have this : http://amzn.com/B00JQRB0I4.

    I don't use it for Time Machine but I don't see how that would be a problem. It's incredibly small and light - and flat.
  5. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I have a Western Digital 1TB that works well:


    I partitioned it exactly as you described. One partition is 200GB for moving files around and the rest is for backups.
  6. SusanK macrumors 68000

    Oct 9, 2012
  7. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    I'll have soon a new external HDD for my Time Machine backup.
    I would like to use part of the disk to temporarily/permanently store videos/pics/docs.
    I could either create a partition to store these files, or simply create a folder for them. What do you think would be the best solution?
  8. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I don't know if there's a good way to control how much space Time Machine uses on a drive, so I would partition the drive to prevent Time Machine from using it all and leaving you with no space for your files when you do want to copy them around.
  9. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    Thanks. Since it's a 2TB HDD and while I have a 256GB SSD I'll backup only selected files with Time Machine, do you think a 1TB partition would be enough for a long time?
    Another question - the partition I'd use to store files, could be deleted in a second moment without reformatting giving the whole disk to TM?
  10. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    How much space you give to Time Machine depends on your personal situation and how many backups you want to have of each of your files.

    For an average user, I suspect that 1TB would allow you to go back several months for any given file though. If that's what you want.

    As for repartitioning to give Time Machine more space, no, I don't think that's possible but there might be specialized software to do it that I'm not aware of.
  11. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    Personally I would backup the system configuration and settings and then mainly the document/pics folder, the others aren't that important and I can manually backup them when needed. So it would be a one or twice a week backup based on how many documents I create.

    So just to be clear I can't delete or resize a partition that I create on the disk without formatting it?
  12. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I don't think Time Machine gives you that much control over what you back up and what you don't.

    It doesn't really matter though, it initially backs up all the files on your drive and then afterwards only backs up the files that change. So if you aren't changing system files or application files, they don't get backed up again and don't use any more space. So you don't need to do any fine-grained management of anything.

    Quick question, how important is it for you to be able to look at a document as it was, say, 6 months ago? How much will you be relying on the "Time Machine" functionality?

    And to answer your question about partitioning, no, I wouldn't rely on being able to resize partitions without losing all your data.
  13. Labhras thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 17, 2014
    I remember reading that with TM you could choose specific folders you wanted to backup while ignoring the rest.

    Right now it's not a real fundamental feature - it would definitely be useful in trying to get back old files I deleted that I'm in need of again, but I haven't had lot of those situations. It could become more useful in the future.
  14. motrek macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    I don't use Time Machine myself. I've set it up for other people to use but I don't recall it having the functionality to only choose specific folders to back up. There is a way to specify which drives you want backed up. Again, there's no reason not to back up your entire boot drive though. Files that don't change won't take up more space.

    As for using the "Time Machine functionality", if this is going to be a key feature for you, you might want to consider getting more backup drives. Because if your one drive fails then you will lose that functionality. It sounds like you will just be backing up to one drive, which is fine for the purpose of making sure you don't lose your current data, but doesn't protect you if you want the extra data that Time Machine keeps.

    If you aren't going to rely on the ability to recover lost documents or old versions of documents, then you will be fine with a 256GB partition since that will be enough to keep current copies of all your current files.

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13 February 15, 2015