Using 1TB TC as External Hard Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Kevsource, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Kevsource, Oct 17, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014

    Kevsource macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2011
    #1
    Hello!

    I currently have a 320GB MacMini that's pretty much full because of an iPhoto Library that's at 200GB.

    I have a 1.5TB external drive connected to the Mac that I use mostly as a Time Machine but it's also partitioned and holding some media. Between said media and the Time Machine partition, that drive is pretty much full as well.

    A friend of mine gave me a 1TB TC today...my thought was to use it only as a wired external hard drive by connecting it to my Mac.

    My wish is to move my iPhoto Library to the TC and probably move the media I have from my external drive to the TC as well, leaving the external drive only as a Time Machine and hoping it'll back up both the Mac and TC.

    Is this possible?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
     
  2. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #2
    The time capsule is a network device only, you would need to connect it via a network interface like ethernet or wireless. It will likely be much slower than the local USB drive.

    Think about putting the time capsule on your network and set it as your time machine backup destination. Then reuse your existing USB drive entirely for media.
     
  3. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #3
    Thanks / question

    Thanks, ColdCase; I really appreciate your reply and am considering this idea.

    I suspect that my Time Machine backup file on my 1.5TB external drive is larger than 1TB. Since Time Machine is (for me) a "set it and forget it" thing, is it possible to determine the file size of the backup file and if it's bigger than 1TB, how do I reduce that file size?

    I'd have to get it small enough to be able to transfer the backup to the Time Capsule and then have room to then back up the Mac AND the external drive files to the TC.

    I know, this isn't the best scenario; it'd be a lot better to invest in a large-capacity Time Capsule. Wish that could be the case.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #4
    Perhaps you can look about getting another USB or even a FireWire HDD and dedicate the existing drive to data. Then you can use the new drive for Time Machine.
     
  5. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #5
    What if...

    What if:

    1. I plug in the Time Capsule and ask it to back up both the Mac and the external drive, but exclude the Time Machine backup file on the external drive,

    2. After Time Capsule backs up up the two drives, I could perhaps delete the Time Machine backup file on the external drive,

    3. I could then move my iPhoto Library from the Mac to the external drive, therefore freeing up 2/3 of the space on the Mac.

    Would that scenario work? I know the Time Capsule would fill up in a hurry, but in the short term, it would accomplish what I'd want.

    Thanks again for the advice.
     
  6. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #6

    Yes. That should work fine. I would recommend backing up initially over Ethernet.
     
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    NH
    #7
    An initial backup would be no bigger than the size of the files you are going to back up.

    The backup file is currently larger because it contains archived copies of things you have deleted.

    I think the safest way to reduce the size of your time machine backup file is to enter time machine then scroll back through time an locate files you don't want. When you control-click on the file name an option will pop up to delete this and all backups of that file. Select that and let it work. Repeat looking for other files. When done, exit time machine and let it stew for awhile. You should see the backup file size reduce at least the amount of archived files you deleted.

    Now if you don't care about any of the history and archives, just start from scratch with a new backup.
     
  8. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #8
    Thanks to both of you for the advice.

    I've started the backup of both drives, excluding the current/old "backups" file, but geez, it's going slow - less than 8GB an hour, and I've got about 800GB to back up between the two drives.

    I know it's trying to back up two drives (maybe simultaneously?), but even though I have an Ethernet plugged from the TC into the Mac, I wonder if it's backing up via WiFi and ignoring the Ethernet?

    Cheers...K.
     
  9. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Its going to be slow regardless, something you will just have to let run overnight.

    If you think the mac is using the wireless network, its probably easiest for now to just turn WiFi off at the Mac.
     
  10. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #10
    Uh oh

    Despite having an ethernet cable plugged from the TC into the Mac, I turned off the WiFi and the backup stopped. Turned the WiFi back on and now the backup is starting all over again, first with the agonizingly long "Preparing backup."

    It's obvious that I'm in the tall grass with this device. :)
     
  11. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #11
    Okay, I'm about 50GB away from what I think will be a full backup of both of my drives onto the TC, having started on Saturday. :-/

    Once it's done, do I just verify that all the data is there simply by "Enter Time Machine" and see that it's all there?

    At that point, I'll want to move the TC. Not sure I'll use it for anything else other than possibly extending my network, which I haven't a clue as to how to do (though I have an Airport Express, which I know is needed).

    Is there a reliable set of instructions as to how to do this?

    Thanks!
     
  12. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #12
    Time machine will automatically spend some time verifying the backup.
     
  13. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #13

    Wireless extension requires an AirPort to be the main router. You can physically move the Time Capsule, but do understand that subsequent backups are still slower over wireless instead of Ethernet.
     
  14. jjd macrumors regular

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    Aug 22, 2003
    #14
    Fwiw, I have a Mac Mini and use a 3TB TC as an external drive, via Ethernet. I keep all my movies music and photos on it. Works perfectly. Plus I stream from it to Apple TVs all over the house (via Ethernet) and get (near) instant access to my 1080p vids. I plan to get a 5K retina iMac with an SSD drive and just hook it straight up to the existing media library on the TC.
     
  15. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #15
    Alemose - I'm not entirely certain the TC is doing the backup via Ethernet despite having it connected to my Mac. I thought the backup that I started last Saturday (!) would be done yesterday (Wed), but no so. I'm not sure it'll be done until this weekend.
     
  16. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #16
    If Ethernet is showing priority (higher up) in System Preferences --> Network then it should backup over Ethernet.
     
  17. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Thanks for that info - I looked this up - Ethernet *is* atop the list but with a yellow dot. Should it be green? The WiFi is under with a green dot.

    Thanks SO much for your help.
     
  18. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #18

    How is the Time Capsule setup on the network?
     
  19. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #19
    ???

    I don't know how it's set up with the network. Networking is an area I know almost nothing about. I don't even know if I have a full backup of my drives on the TC at this point.

    I have an SMC wireless modem gateway (Xfinity) that provides WiFi in the house. All my Apple devices see the WiFi and can connect.

    The TC is now sitting next to my wireless modem gateway and I have an Ethernet cable connecting it to the router. Why? No clue. Honestly. I'm not sure if plugging it in accomplishes anything. I know the TC is supposed to do other cool stuff, like extend my WiFi with an Airport Express (which I can't seem to get configured), so I won't even go there.

    The TC is supposedly (wirelessly) backing up my Mac and an external hard drive that's USB'd to the Mac. A total of approx. 800GB of data between the two drives supposedly being backed up to the TC. I say "supposedly" because since the TC is only 1TB, Time Machine doesn't see anything previous to "Today."

    At the moment, Time Machine says there's 461 GB of 998 GB available, so it would seems to me that it hasn't ever completed a full backup. The TC has now been operating for almost two weeks.

    I know a far simpler answer is "get a big external hard drive for TC" or "Get a TC with more space, because trying to back up 800GB to a 1TB drive means it'll immediately fill up." I can't afford any other gear ATM, so this is what I have.

    Perhaps I could use my 1.5GB external drive as the dedicated TM and have it back up the TC and my Mac, but I'd first have to wipe the TC drive and move all the files from my external drive to the TC. At that point, I wouldn't know how to proceed.

    Yes, I'm a little more than confused about all this. My primary aim is to have the contents of the Mac and the external drive backed up. After that, if I can utilize a cool feature or two of the Time Capsule, that's great, but I really just want to make sure everything's backed up, and it doesn't seem to be happening.
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #20
    It sounds like you have it mis-configured to be doing two different things. The SMC gateway could be set to Bridge Mode and use the Time Capsule strictly as the router and also as the destination for the data. Otherwise, you can connect the Time Capsule as a client (preferably over Ethernet) which would essentially make it an NAS (Network Attached Storage) where you can back up to. You need to decide if you still want the SMC to be doing what it is doing now or if you would want to make the Time Capsule the router.
     
  21. Kevsource thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 16, 2011
    #21
    Does creating my own network on via the Time Capsule quality as the TC being the router? If so, I just did it (and got the AE working as the extender - hurray!). I'll have to see if the SMC router is set to bridge mode.

    BTW, before doing that, the TM noted that it was waiting to complete a first backup, despite it having been supposedly backing everything up for the last couple of weeks. :)

    Thanks SO much for your help.
     
  22. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #22
    If the SMC is anything like the one that we have at school (Comcast Business Gateway with no wireless capability) then there may be no true bridge mode. In that case, you would set the Time Capsule to DHCP & NAT mode and then in the SMC's configuration panel, set the Time Capsule to a DHCP reservation and add it to the DMZ.
     

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