To partition or not?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mares, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. mares macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2009
    Hello, just got my brand new 1 TB (WD My Passport Studio) which I plan to use with my unibody macbook with a 160gb storage capacity.

    My plan is to use it for Time Machine, MAC files which I want stored in a separate location (e.g. second library for Iphoto, movie files) and maybe some PC files in the future, so after doing my research on the net I am leaning towards dividing it into 3 partitions

    One partition for Time Machine use only
    Second partition for PC files (FAT 32)
    Third partition (OS extended journaled) for my MAC files which I would want to be stored in a separate locations (e.g. second library for Iphoto, movie files)

    Do you think this is a good idea? I would like to get your opinion (especially those long time MAC users out there :))

    Also, heard good reviews on Carbon Copy Cloner – can I also use it on my
    Third partition? (OS extended journaled)

    This is my first external hd and first time to use Time Machine so I hope you can advise.... :)

    Thanks in advance!
  2. electroshock macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    No questions, you MUST partition separately for TM. And, naturally, one for HFS+ for OS X use. Your thought for a (small?) partition for Windows FAT32 data transfers sounds reasonable, especially if you're using Windows while booted off it.

    But perhaps you might want to save some HD space and use a cheap USB flash stick for the occasional FAT32 file transfer to/from WIndows and OS X. Also, if you're running Windows via Parallels, then you can generally either share data via Parallels' own functionality or via SMB (Samba) file sharing.

    Haven't done a whole lot with CCC but it's great stuff.
  3. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    You don't need to have a dedicated partition for Time Machine, though I'd recommend it. The backups are stored in a standard Finder folder. The reason for having it on it's own partition is so it has as much room as possible available for backup. You can store other files on it, but they just reduce the space available for Time Machine.
  4. electroshock macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    That's certainly true, but given how TM works in its default configuration -- it'll basically expand over time to occupy all free space on the partition it's using until it runs out of room and only then, starts deleting the oldest backups to free up space. Even then, still doesn't leave much room for squirrelling away non-TM data on the same partition.

    If you partition TM separately, then you're setting an upper bound for how much space it can consume without any worry of enroaching into amount of data available for non-TM stuff.
  5. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Yes, but it's not a "must"... ;) Another reason I wanted to clarify it is folks often ask if they can store other files on the same partition as their TM backup. As I mentioned, I do recommend putting it on its own partition [for the reasons given].
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I'd suggest that you create at least one partition that is 160gig in size or slightly less. You might want to make this the first partition (i.e., the one that is "at the top" of the display in Disk Utility) on the drive.

    Then use Carbon Copy Cloner (or SuperDuper) to regularly "dupe" the contents of your internal drive to the "clone partition" on the external.

    If you do this, you'll have an instantly-bootable clone of your internal that you can use in emergencies (or just use to boot from as an "alternative startup volume").

    You CAN"T boot from a Time Machine backup.

    My opinion only, but Time Machine isn't worth the drivespace it eats up. A once-daily (or even once-weekly) dupe of your internal drive to the clone partition will provide you with [pretty much] all the "backup" you need.

    Then divide up the rest of the drive as needed by your personal requirements....

    - John
  7. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    My opinion is doing both is best. :)

    For my own machine I created two partitions, one identical in size to my iMac's 320GB internal which I use for a Superduper clone. As mentioned, Superduper/Carbon Copy Cloner images are duplicate copies of your internal hard disk which are also fully bootable if your external HD is Firewire.

    The remaining 1.2TB of my external hard disk is used for Time Machine as well as random file storage.

    TM and SD/CCC serve different purposes entirely in my opinion. It's great to have a snapshot of your recent system in case of a drive failure but it's also great to be able to travel back in time on your machine in case you accidentally deleted a mail message, photo or some other file in error.

    If you've got the storage space I see no reason not to do both.
  8. mares thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 14, 2009
    Thank you for all you helpful replies!:)

    Just a question for Carbon copy cloner users (Sasasushi)
    how does it save your files? is it like the TM that eats up space? or it just saves (clone) your current files?

    the reason why I am asking is that my plans are to have 3 partitions

    300 gb (for time machine)
    200 gb (fat32)
    500 gb (for MAC OS files and Carbon copy cloner)

    and I plan to use CCC on my third partition - was thinking that it
    might be like TM that will keep on saving files till it gets full?

    I just want to limit myself to 3 partitions :)

    Thanks in advance!

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