Time Machine, is it still a regular external hard drive?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by fourcolourblack, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. fourcolourblack macrumors member

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    #1
    i'm about 9gb into my 200gb backup, and its been going 3.5 hours. i always knew this first one would take forever, i should have bought the firewire version i knew it.

    anyway, does anyone know if i can still access my shiny new Western Digital drive as a regular external hard drive now i've set it for time machine?

    i'll only be able to find out around wednesday next week at this rate.

    this is obviously how i roll at work over three different servers/drives. i'm just wondering if time machine kills its ability to be a plug and play storage facility.

    any help would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks
     
  2. illegallydead macrumors 6502a

    illegallydead

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    #2
    a time machine drive is still perfectly capable of being used to put other data onto, and yes, it still works plug-n-play and such. It puts it's files in the backups.backupdb folder on the drive. You are free to use the rest of the space as needed (though this will obviously take up room that Time Machine could use...
     
  3. Trainwreck707 macrumors member

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    Feb 26, 2008
    #3
    You can definitely use the drive for uses other than Time Machine. Just don't mess with the folder called Backups.backupdb.

    Did you hear an echo?!
     
  4. fourcolourblack thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    ah, so if i just want to keep my downloaded movies/tv shows on the drive, i'm probably best telling time machine to ignore those folders. and just do it manually.

    quite happy for it to back everything else up my work/docs are small enough. its just 350mg movies every other day.

    does this sound like a good idea?
     
  5. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #5
    Keep in mind that no files stored on the drive with the Time Machine backup are going to be backed up by TM anyway so no excluding is involved actually, assuming the drive is set up as one big partition.

    While that may not make sense at first look, it would not make sense to have TM make backups of files on the same drive. If there were drive problems you would then lose your original files and the backup of them!;)
     
  6. redgaz26 macrumors 68020

    redgaz26

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    #6
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    I split my external into 2 parts. Left 30g free for movies etc and the rest for time machine. It shows up as two seperate drives in the finder. Use disk utility to set it up. It's easy.
     
  7. fourcolourblack thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    arghh. it took me a few reads of that sentence to understand. and i think i do now. here is a screen shot of how i've got my drive setup.

    as you can see there's simply the time machine backups, then two folders just split into TV/Movies. are you saying, 1) it would be a good idea to select those two folders whilst still inside of the backup drive and make time machine back them up for additional safety?

    or, 2) should i move them back to the Mac HD and do a backup on them from there?

    i think i see what you mean, and having a full backup AND an accessible folder might be beneficial.

    splitting the drive, arghh, i'm not sure how i'd tie that into the first suggestion mind.

    this advice is greatly appreciated, i'm just not 100% certain yet which to do. which sounds better?
     
  8. fourcolourblack thread starter macrumors member

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  9. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #9
    :D Yeah, that explanation was not one of my shining moments but I was in a rush so couldn't really clarify! Sorry about that! :eek: I'll try again here.

    OK, after seeing your screenshot it confirms how I thought you had it set up. So based on that, what I was trying to say is that with your current setup, your "Movies" folder and your "TV Shows" are never going to be backed up by Time Machine.

    This is because Time Machine automatically excludes the drive that its database is written to. It does not just exclude the "Backups.backupdb" folder that it creates on that drive, but rather the entire contents of that drive- and there is nothing you can do in the Time Machine preference pane to change that behavior.

    So now with that knowledge, you need to make a decision- do you want to backup the Movies and TV Shows folders and/or anything else you might choose to save to that drive?

    If you do want to backup that data, you have at least three choices of how to achieve that which I will list from worst to best:

    1. Divide your external drive into two partions- one for Time Machine's backup folder (let's call it Partition A) and one for the Movies/TV Shows folders and other data (Partition B). This would allow Time Machine to backup to Partition A. That backup would include the contents of Partition B.
    - I rate this the poorest solution because then your data and the backup of that data exist on the same physical hard drive, so if the drive goes belly up you have lost both the original data and the backup of it.

    2. Move your Movies/TV Shows data onto your internal drive and leave the external drive as one big partition as it is now for TM's exclusive use.
    Better- but not best because although you now have all your data backed up to a separate drive, the data uses a lot of space on your internal drive.

    3. Leave your existing external drive set up as now (1 big partition), but get another external drive for your Movies/TV Shows data and whatever else you might want to store there.
    Best of the three because now your internal drive is still free of the large Movies/TV Shows folders and your data on the second external will be backed up to Time Machine's external. Now on the second external you could then exclude folders to your heart's content. ;)

    Now if you don't want to backup that data, just leave things as they are now!:D

    Hope it makes more sense this time around!
     
  10. fourcolourblack thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    ok you might have opened more doors than i thought possible.

    in a perfect world yes, i'd have bought two drives and made one the time machine backup, and the other purely for fun stuff. although i though i'd get more safety out of this one massive drive (its never getting moved around) so lets stick with the single drive issue for now my friend.

    firstly take a look at my screenshot, as i've told it not to backup the movies and tv folders on the Mac HD. mainly because i initially thought this seemed foolish when they are just sitting on the drive itself.

    [​IMG]

    i use my Mac for Graphic Design and heavy photoshop work, and it was starting to get a little clunky when space was wearing thin. by creating a good 180gb gap on the Mac HD its come back to life. so i really do need to keep all my movies/tv off the Mac HD

    in all honesty, don't you think i should put my faith in the brand new Western Digital My Book and assume its not going to **** up? just as much chance of the Mac HD packing in right?

    i mean, the setup i've got there now isn't bad right?

    i'm keeping all my iTunes on the Mac HD still, but letting Time Machine back it up which seems sensible.

    sorry to be a pain in the ass about this.
     
  11. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #11
    Hey first off, no problem- you're certainly not being a pain! :)

    OK, I'm a bit confused myself at this point, so if you could just tell me these things we may make some progress ok?

    1. The Movies and TV Shows folders currently exist on:
    a. Only the external drive (this one right?)
    b. Only the internal drive
    c. Both the internal and external drives

    2. When I told TM to exclude the folders from its backup, I specified their location as being:
    a. On the internal drive
    b. On the external drive

    Anyway, if it as I think and the folders only exist on the external now and you are comfortable with them not having backups, then you are fine as it stands. If that is the case, skip the questions above! ;)

    As far as trusting the new WD MyBook external, you're certainly right- it would have the same reliability in essence as the internal drive. That's the good side. The bad side of that is that by the same token, either of them can die at any moment for no apparent cause which is why we are talking backups to start with! :D So the worst scenario with your current setup (as I understand it) is that your WD drive goes belly up- in which case you would only lose the Movies and TV Shows since they would not have backups to restore them from.

    As far as your iTunes goes, yeah you are doing it the safest way the way you are doing it and it is a good idea.
     
  12. fourcolourblack thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    sorted, well, i'm going to have to trust the drive to not die. i'm keeping everything but movies/tv on the mac still. as they're the big files. apart from giant photoshop files of course but i tend to just keep a flattened version of files that went to print.

    now here's one other thing about time machine, can i not use it to bring back individual documents? i had my first play about with it last night, and couldn't really figure out how it worked :rolleyes:

    do i have to revert to a specific time? what about stuff i've made since then i want to keep?

    arghh.
     
  13. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #13
    Yes, you can bring back specific documents. The only catch is that it cannot be from the very latest backup set that appears when you first enter Time Machine. Step backwards at least one step, find the file/folder you want to restore and click it to select it. Then the "Restore" tab/button at the bottom right should become selectable. Click it and away it goes to restore it. If it already exists in the location it is to restore it to (say a later version than you want to restore), it will ask you if you want to replace the one that exists or keep both. If you tell it to keep both, it will rename the one that already exists in that location by inserting "(original)" into the file name, then will restore the one you are pulling from Time Machine.
     
  14. Le Big Mac macrumors 68020

    Le Big Mac

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    #14
    Another thing is how irreplacable are those movies and tv shows? I mean, really? You can get them again if the need be. Unlike, say, family photos or work you've done in photoshop.
     
  15. fourcolourblack thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    most the movies are on dvd. i just got to the point where i had hundreds of discs and needed a solution.

    here we go though, four days into using Time Machine and its already ****ed up. its just decided it won't backup anymore. spins away for 30 minutes trying it and fails.

    i'm taking all the movies/tv back on the Mac HD for now until i can verify (or possibly erase the external HD) to start again. although at first i didn't like the idea of creating a partition on the external HD, i might try it now.

    the only question now is, once you've created a partition, i guess you are stuck with the two sizes you choose. say two 500gb sides, thats probably it unless you do it from scratch again right?

    i can't believe this has stopped working after on 4 days. honestly!
     
  16. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #16
    Yeah, that is bad news after only 4 days! Go figure.

    Just thought I would throw this in- you can just erase the TM backup itself to start fresh with it first before moving on to more radical things. Just erase the whole folder called "Backups.backupdb" to try again. Just keep in mind that it will take a while to back up, since it will be doing an initial backup of all your backup the first time through.

    As far as partitioning, the resizing is going to sound a little weird. You can re-size them with the following limitations:

    If you want to increase the size of the first partition you can do that without losing any data on it---but you must erase the 2nd partition to do it.

    If you want to shrink the first partition without losing data this is fine- but to allow you to increase the second to use the space freed up by the first, you have to remove the second and re-establish it at the larger size, thus erasing it in the process! :rolleyes:

    So, whether you increase the size or decrease the size of the first (unless you want to waste the space on the drive freed up by shrinking the first or use that space for a third partition), the second one will need to be cleared and data lost if not backed up somewhere.

    BTW- I just used a spare drive to confirm the resizing things using all the different options, and unfortunately the above info stands! You will either lose the second partition in either case, or you can keep the second intact with wasted space or a third partition on your drive.
     
  17. fourcolourblack thread starter macrumors member

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    #17
    ah ok, so essentially what ever you want to do with Partition A, it involves erasing Partition B to do so.

    i suppose i just have to decide what goes on which Partition now. or which is primary? i'd probably take the backup of files as Partition B seeing as how they are the backup.

    just got to check i know exactly how to split the disc now, shouldn't be too hard though.

    thanks for all your help.

    adam
     
  18. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #18
    Just to make it easy on you I will just point you the partitioning info already on your system! ;)

    Start up Disk Utility, click "Disk Utility Help" in the "Help" menu- then just enter "partition" in the "ask a question" field. When the results come up, click the first result-- "Partitioning a nonstartup disk into several volumes" to see some simple instructions.

    One note: when it mentions using the Option button, be sure to click it and make sure "GUID" is selected if you have an Intel based Mac, or "APM" if you have an older PowerPC based Mac (G4/G5).

    EDIT: I just remembered a way to do it (that is not covered in that set of instructions) so that you won't lose what is already on that drive when you add a second partition. Unfortunately I can't explain it at the moment because of time, but if you are interested I will be happy to later. The instructions above will wipe the drive in the process of setting up multiple partitions which will be fine if there is still enough room on your internal drive to temporarily copy anything you want to save off the external but if not, we can do it with the files still on the external. Good luck!
     
  19. slabman macrumors member

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    Plano TX
    #19
    4Color: Initially, I dedicated half my 500 gig external HD to TM, only to find it filled up in a couple days backing up 182 gigs of data HD from the Mac. So I un-partitioned the external HD into one 500 GIG drive, only to find it filling up very fast again. So now I have a separate 500 GIG HD for data and the initial one for TM backups.

    What I don't understand is why the need for HOURLY backups the first day and no way to alter this setting. Once a day backups would seem plenty to me.
     
  20. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

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    #20
    If you want to change that interval there is a little free utility called TimeMachineScheduler that you can use to modify it.

    I've never bothered to change mine as the hourly backups only relate to the current day- hourly backups older than a day are automatically weeded down to one backup a day, and even from that, dailies older than 30 days are further weeded down to one per week.

    My TM drive started off at 465Gb available and still has 332Gb available after backing up about 80Gb on my boot drive since September 15 of last year in spite of heavy usage.
     
  21. jon08 macrumors 65816

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    #21
    How can make a Microsoft Messenger backup with Time Machine? I'd like to keep my MSN smileys in case I re-install Leopard sometimes, so how could I go about doing that?
     

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