Using time machine with new external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by laur15, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. laur15 macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2010
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I recently bought a small capacity external hard drive. I don't download and store music, movies, et cetera so I purchased a 250gb Western Digital portable one.

    I want to mostly back up my writing (I do a lot), some photos (for convenience, although I don't have many), and files (I have client information on my computer). So for the most part, they are small things.

    If my computer was to crash, my worry is mostly that my writing would be lost. My question is, if I use Time Machine, does it automatically back up everything ? Or do I select things? Am I better off dragging and dropping? I am new to this.

    Also, I also run Parallels as for one of my jobs, I have to use a Windows based program. I don't do anything else in my Parallels. If I was to lose the info on my computer, and Parallels was backed up, would I have to reinstall it on a new computer? This concerns me as I no longer have my Windows CD that I needed for the initial installation.

    Thanks for any light you can shed. Much appreciated!
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #2
    Time Machine will back up everything. All folders including Applications, Library, System and Users (the one where your user account is stored with all the data and all the settings) and the invisible folders.

    So if your Mac has crashed beyond repair and you need to install your OS again, you can chose during the install to import (restore) data from your Time Machine backup. Even your Windows virtual machine will be restored as Parallels stores it in one big file (or more than one).

    After you restore from your backup, everything will be as on your old system and as current as your latest backup.

    Time Machine offers to exclude folders and volumes that you chose, but if you have nothing excluded, all will be backed up.

    MRoogle will have more answers for you.
     
  3. laur15 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2010
    #3
    thanks for your swift reply. one quick question: is it better to use time machine? do you recommend it?
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #4
    I don't use it right now, but it has become more stable with every now release.

    I just copy data to another HDD or clone my system drive via Carbon Copy Cloner, and as I have Data Rescue I can at least restore my data if no physical damage has harmed the HDD.
    But I have several HDDs (15 I think) so although data gets spread around a lot, I know that I have several copies of my important files on several HDDs.
     
  5. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #5
    Time machine is simple to use, and it takes all the headache out of backups
    I would recommend using it unless you have a specific reason not to

    One difference with something like Carbon Copy Cloner is... CCC will make a bootable backup in case you lose your system

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  6. laur15 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2010
    #6
    thanks again.

    i may just use it for ease, then, as its simple for me. i am not sure what 'bootable backup' means, but if i dont use that route, will it still work if something were to happen? i have an older mac - two years old nearly - so i am not sure how upgraded everything is, unless time machine is upgraded in the automatic ones.
     
  7. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #7
    Think of it this way...

    Let's say your HDD crashes

    Scenario 1: Time Machine
    You cannot use your computer until you purchase a new HDD and install it and then restore your TM backup to the new HDD

    Scenario 2: Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper
    You can start your computer using the cloned backup on the external HDD and it will be just like your crashed HDD (depending on when you last cloned). Then you can use your computer until you purchase a new HDD and replace the crashed drive and re-clone back to the new internal HDD.

    However, Time Machine has other advantages, like being able to go back in time to a machine's prior state, or to find files deleted in the past, etc.

    Both strategies have advantages
    I use both and recommend people use both
    But if you are limited on space, use one or the other
    Just use one

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  8. laur15 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2010
    #8
    thanks for laying it out so clearly.

    i will use time machine for now, as i would probably buy a new computer right away if it DID crash.

    thanks again, and i'll keep this option in mind, too, as i wasn't familiar with it.
     
  9. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #9
    Be sure to post any questions you encounter with Time Machine
    It is very straightforward, but you might have some questions, you never know

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  10. Morod macrumors 68000

    Morod

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    #10
    A question about CCC

    Hi,
    I hope this isn't hijacking the thread, if it is please delete it. I use Time Machine with an external drive. If I were to get CCC, where would I back up to? The same external drive as TM? If so, would I need to partition that external drive for CCC? Can I partition the drive after having used it for TM (exclusively) for the last couple of years?
     
  11. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #11
    I partitioned my external so that TM and CCC have their own partitions.

    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  12. ozcanfm macrumors newbie

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    Dec 15, 2009
    #12
    I'm using time machine to backup to an external drive. I'm using the same drive to import my home movie clips. Problem with this is that I dont have another copy of my movie clips.

    Can Time Machine also backup an external drive?

    What would be your recommendation for storing iMovie clips?

    Thanks heaps.
     
  13. annk Administrator

    annk

    Staff Member

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    #13
    Does that mean that a Time Machine back-up only backs up content, not the OS itself? So that if my system (by that I assume you mean the OS) gets corrupted so much that it can't be used, and that assuming my HD is still ok, I must first reinstall the OS with the original discs, and THEN choose "restore" from my most recent backup in TM?
     
  14. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #14

    Yes, it will not create a bootable backup, thus you need the Restore or Installation DVD(s) to restore from a TM backup.
     
  15. laur15 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2010
    #15
    When I tried to back-up, it turns out a bought a WD drive that was meant for Windows (although the box said Mac, too). It said I need to reformat it. Will that tool around with the stuff on my Mac?

    Should I return it and get one designed for Macs?

    Thanks!
     
  16. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000

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    Mar 20, 2009
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    Near London, UK.
    #16
    TM will not work well with parallels, because it will backup an entire file, if its changed. Thats not a problem with a small file that changes frequently, or even a large one that changes infrequently, however with one that is probably an appreciable proportion of the external disk, changing all the time, it will soon fill it up. I would recommend another way of backing up parallels and excluding it from TM.
     
  17. tonyburkhart macrumors regular

    tonyburkhart

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    Ohio
    #17
    Reformatting will not harm your Mac at all. What that does is change the drive to be compatible with the Mac filesystem, versus the Windows filesystem.

    Read through these Wikipedia articles, for some basics :
    1. Mac Filesystem - HFS+
    2. Windows Filesystem - NTFS
     
  18. m-dogg macrumors 65816

    m-dogg

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    Connecticut
    #18
    I definitely recommend it. It's automatic...so you don't have to think about using it or not. Every hour it does it's thing.

    Just last week I had the unfortunate opportunity to fully test Test Machine. My old G5 iMac hard drive kicked the bucket unexpectedly. I was thinking about upgrading since the new iMacs came out a couple months ago, but this suddenly pushed me to upgrade a little sooner.

    I brought the new iMac home, connected my Time Machine drive when prompted during the initial setup, and 2 hours later, all my info from my old iMac was on my new iMac, right down to the desktop wallpaper image I was using.

    Even the with update from Leopard on my old machine to Snow Leopard on the new machine, it went great. Exactly as it was supposed to work (and I hoped, considering almost 250GB of pictures, music, movies, and other stuff were on the old drive).

    (eventually I will replace the hard drive in the old machine and set it up as an extra/secondary computer in the basement)
     
  19. m-dogg macrumors 65816

    m-dogg

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    #19
    You should be able to reinstall via Time Machine by booting from your install/OS X disk.
     
  20. bobriot macrumors member

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    Feb 25, 2007
    #20
    When restoring use the migration wizard and the mac will be as you left it, if you use the install thingy it seems to miss stuff out. You can use the migration wizard any time you like. Also a a rule of thumb add your Downloads folder to the list of folders not to back up and you will probably save gigs of HD space on the time machine drive.
     
  21. laur15 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2010
    #21
    When I plug it in, it says "In order to start backing up with Time Machine the disk “My Passport” must first be erased. Erasing will destroy all information on the disk and can not be undone."

    I haven't used it before. Is this the right step? It seems to have a load of windows stuff on it. Is this too much hassle? Should I go get one designed for Macs?
     
  22. laur15 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 20, 2010
    #22
    Never mind - I figured it out!!!

    Thanks everyone for your help.
     
  23. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #23
    It probably will have some Windows software stored on that drive, for Windows users to install on their system in order to do more stuff with their drive.

    If you want to use that drive as Time Machine or as external storage, you need to format the drive, this the use of the "Erase" option.
    It will erase all data on that drive, the Windows software too, but you will never use that software, so you can erase it and click "Proceed" or whatever button.

    A Mac formatted drive will just cost more for something you can do in less than a minute.
     

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