Unable to set up Time machine

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Jane65, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Jane65 macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2013
    Hi, I am totally technically illiterate, so am in desperate need of help!

    I have a 5 year old(ish) iMac running OS X 10.5.8.... my iPod classic died this week so I bought a new one, but it seems I need the new version of iTunes, which I can't upload until I've upgraded to Snow Leopard.

    I have the Snow Leopard installation discs, but I'm scared to upgrade in case I lose everything in my iTunes and iPhoto libraries.

    I'm trying to back up my iPhoto library on Photobucket (but I have 10,100 photos so it's taking a while!) and I don't even know where to start with backing up my iTunes library, as we have 172GB of music (2,265 albums).

    I'd like to back up the whole iMac but Time Machine isn't working. In the past Time Machine used to work, and I backed up to an external hard drive. Unfortunately one day the external hard drive just stopped working and since then (over a year ago ) I haven't been able to back up at all.

    When I click on Time Machine it just gives me empty drives, and doesn't allow me to configure Time Machine at all. I'm happy to buy another external drive to set up a Time Capsule, but this will be my third external drive (the two previous having both gone mystifyingly wrong for no apparent reason) and if I pay £120 for another external drive I need to know that it's going to be money well spent...I have no idea what went wrong with the previous two hard drives. One day they worked, the next they didn't...as far as I know, I didn't do anything to 'break' them at all...

    So my questions are....

    1)if I upgrade to Snow Leopard is there a real risk that I'll lose everything in my iTunes Library?

    2) Is there a way of configuring Time Machine without an external hard drive?

    3) If I need an external hard drive, is there anything I need to be doing that will stop it getting corrupted and stopping working???

    Thank you so much in advance for your help - I know I sound like a total Luddite, but I am hopeless with anything techy and don't even know where to start!!!
  2. satcomer, Oct 4, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2013

    satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    If you upgrade it won't touch your documents, music. Only a clean install will wipe all that away.
  3. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
  4. Jane65 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2013
    Thanks - I'll get that particular hard drive that you recommend - is it easy to reformat so that it's Mac compatible?

    How do I do that???
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Plug in the drive then start Disk Utility and click the drive on the left. Then go to the erase tab and pick Mac OS Extended in the drop down list. Name the drive whatever you want then click apply. Done.

    If you have never used Time Machine you should get a popup offering to do this for you and asking if you want to use the drive for a TM backup.
  6. Jane65 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 4, 2013
    Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help!
  7. benji888 macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2006
    United States
    First off, did you get things going ok?

    Second, do you still have the old drives? If so, I have a couple suggestions:

    I had trouble with my oldest (more than 5 yrs) external drive that has been dropped, I thought that was the reason, however, one day I was accidentally moving the cable around and it suddenly disappeared from my desktop. I replaced the cable and it has been working great since! ...Even if you don't think the cable is the issue, I would try a brand new one.

    If the hard drive still works, but, the data on it seems inaccessible, I highly recommend Disk Warrior (I recommend it anyway): http://www.alsoft.com/ It can make a seemingly dead hard drive live again, restore files you couldn't access before, it repairs and "optimizes" your directory, something no other utility does. I've used it for years. It will even repair Time Machine backups, but, this takes some time, would start it at end of day when done with Mac, let it run overnight.

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