WD My Book help please/partitioning explaination

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Chef55, Nov 28, 2008.

  1. Chef55 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    U.K.
    #1
    To start if anyone is kind enough to reply to this thread please do not use abbreviations or very technical words as I am completely non technical, thanks.
    I have an iMac and need a backup device. After mulling over my options (for a nontech person) I have decided on a WD My Book Essential, probably the 500gb.
    Now I want to use it to backup my Time Machine to and also mainly photographs, home movies and documents. Is a hard drive like a filing cabinet? Is it like one big filing cabinet unless you partition it? ie Could I partition my WD into say 4 compartments? Would this mean that I could give one compartment to TM and when it was full up it would override the first backups? If I am understanding this all correctly then how do I partition it?
    If I have got this completely wrong could someone please tell me how to work this thankyou? I bought an Iomega external but it died after 5 weeks. :(
     
  2. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #2
    Ok will give this a shot. First off, yes an easy way to think of a new external drive is as it being one big filing cabinet- or perhaps more accurately as one big filing cabinet with a single drawer. Items placed that drawer can be organized easily by keeping them in separate folders.

    Partitioning the disk (to however many partitions you desire) can be best thought of as simply adding drawers to your filing cabinet. Now the down side to using several partitions to help with an organizing scheme is that eash partition will show up as a separate drive icon on your desktop (something that a many people do not care for) as well as limiting the amount of stuff that can be put into each "drawer". When you are first setting up a new hard drive it is very hard to predict how much you might wind up storing in each "drawer" so making good choices as to the size of each partition is difficult though, so you might want to consider a single "drawer" and using folders to organize files within it (as Apple does on the drive that ships with each Mac).

    Let's now consider the fact that you have a desire to use Time Machine in conjuction with additional file storage (which is not a problem). Yes, when Time Machine fills up whatever size drive it is on, it will then begin to delete the oldest backed up files in order to make new backups, but that will probably take quite a while since after the initial backup only modified or added files will be included in the backups.

    Time Machine and regular files can occupy the same "drawer" (partition) since Time Machine stores its backups in a folder to keep the backups from getting mixed up with other files you have stored on the drive. An alternate method would be to divide your new drive into two partitions- one for Time Machine's exclusive use and one for "other" files of your choosing. I really would not suggest that you use more than two partitions, as you can easily organize your files within folders (i.e. a "Pictures" folder, a "Movies" folder etc.) in your second partition. In many respects doing two partitions would be the way to go, as then Time Machine can be instructed to backup your "other" partition as well as your internal drive.

    Now the last consideration for now is the size of the backup/other storage drive you choose if you wish to get a single drive. The reason I bring this up at this point is that I would actually prefer in your situation to get two drives- dedicating one exclusively to Time Machine and the other to your general file storage, but you can effectively do that by taking one drive and partitioning it, so it is not critical. My concern with a single drive is that if the drive fails (which you found out does happen :() having everything on one drive will take out both your backup and the files you had stored on the other partition leaving you with having lost the other partition's files altogether.

    So with that in mind, to make further recommendations along that line, we need to know a couple of other things in order to make a reasoned recommendation! First off, is your iMac a late model one (aluminum/black) or an older all white one? Second what is the size of your internal drive (click the hard drive icon and then select "Get Info" in the "File" menu to check- look at the listing that notes "Capacity:"). A 500Gb drive may not be the best choice depending on that information, so want to check before proceeding. After we have that settled, then partitioning/formatting instructions can follow (as your drive will most likely come pre-formatted for PC use which will need to be changed easily in Disk Utility before use).

    OK- hope this all makes some sense and sorry for the length. Post some Mac details and we can wrap this up with some necessary formatting/partitioning info.
     
  3. Chef55 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    U.K.
    #3
    Thank you very much...it all makes perfect sense. I have a a new model Alu iMac about 3 months old. The capacity says 232.57GB with 208.28 available. Thank you for your help and look forward to your next instructions. I understand the value of only partitioning into 2. I think having 2 externals is not an option at the moment. I have also seen a Seagate Freeagent Desk for Mac and am thinking of purchasing this one instead of the WD. Any thoughts on that appreciated. :)
     
  4. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #4
    No problem on the two drives- just wanted you to be aware of the risks so you could make a decision based on what works for you.

    Originally I was going to recommend a larger external drive, but now seeing how little of your internal drive has been used, I have rethought that somewhat. Not knowing what kind of price differentials there are between a 500Gb drive and a 750Gb or 1 Tb drive (not a huge differential in the US) it makes it hard to make a recommendation, but I will say that you should initially get the biggest one you can comfortably live with cost-wise. Getting a single drive with a large capacity is always going to be cheaper than getting a smaller drive now and having to add a second drive later since it would add the cost of another case, power supply, etc.

    Now since you have the late model iMac, you have a FireWire 800 port available to you, so choice of your drive is important if you want the maximum performance with it- and picking a drive able to connect to the FireWire 800 port will stand head shoulders above one that only connects via USB but the USB only is cheaper than a drive with FW800. Even one with FW400 would be higher performance than a USB only drive, but that is a choice you need to make. Again, I would say to get one with the best performance level you are comfortable purchasing, using the scale of USB being lowest performance, FireWire 400 being in the middle and FireWire 800 being the best.

    The WD MyBook Essential that you mentioned is indeed USB only, but they make many other models in the MyBook line which can be seen at the comparison page for them at Western Digital MyBooks Drives page. The MyBook Home Edition is the lowest one with FW400 and the MyBook Studio Edition is the lowest one with FW800 BTW.

    In the Seagate Freeagent line it is similar- various models with different interface capabilities. The Freeagent Desk you mentioned (and the older model Freeagent Desktop) is USB only, while the Freeagent XTreme (and some models of the its previous generation brother the Freeagent Pro) have FireWire 400 in addition. I bring up the older generation drives in that line because they have only recently been changed and other than the case design I have not heard much of any performance changes- and the older ones are available on Amazon and such for reduced prices.

    So anyway- get the largest fastest drive you are comfortable getting and you won't regret it!

    Let's skip ahead. Your drive has arrived and you are ready to prepare it for use with TM and your files by making it two partitions, so you connect and power up your drive. it may or may not appear as an icon on your desktop at this point but we will fix that next. Start up Disk Utility found in your Utilities folder. Now:

    1. Find your new drive in the left hand column and select it by clicking the name once.
    2. Click the "Partition" tab at the top right of the page
    3. At the top left, use the pull down menu under "Volume scheme:" to change it from "Current" to "2 partitions".
    4. You can keep it at two equal partitions as it is presented to you, or you can drag the line between the two partitions to change their relative sizes. (For practicality your TM partition should be at least 250Gb, but preferably larger since we want it to back up your second partition too which is why I recommended buying the largest drive you could).
    5. Click the upper partition in the map, and give it a name under "Volume Information" (make it easy to remember to avoid confusion later- perhaps just "Time Machine" for the TM backup and another name for the second partition.) Select "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" for the "Format" field.
    6. Click the bottom partition in the map and do the same thing.
    7. IMPORTANT: Click the "Options" button at the bottom of the window and insure that "GUID Partition Table" is selected from the list.
    8. Click "Apply" and you will get a summary screen before it goes to work. If everything looks OK, click "Partition" and sit back while it does its thing. Don't get too comfortable though, as it will only take 15-30 seconds! ;)

    Ok, you should now be able to quit Disk Utility and two new drive icons should be on your desktop with the names you gave them in DU. Shortly after you quit DU, you will be asked if you want to use the first partition with Time Machine so you can go ahead and click yes if it is asking about the correct partition. If it is not, then click no and it will then ask about using the other partition.

    BTW- Once you have Time Machine going, be sure to go into the Time Machine preferences pane in System Preferences and click the "Options..." button. In there you will see a list that is titled "Do not back up:"- if your second partition appears in that list as I suspect it will, click it and then click the "-" sign at the bottom to remove it from the list so that TM will back it up in addition to your internal drive.

    So there you go. Your system will then go ahead and start copying files for the initial Time Machine backup which will not take too terribly long since you really don't have much on your internal drive yet.

    Good luck with it all- and don't hesitate to PM me if I missed anything! :)
     
  5. Chef55 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    U.K.
    #5
    Thank you so much sickmacdoc......your help is very very much appreciated. I am going to take your advice and look for a firewire..think I can just about go to the 400 and not pay extra for the mac ready drives. Have to say that yours is about the easiest to understand advice I have ever received on a forum and appreciate you taking the time and trouble to help me. :)
     
  6. Chef55 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Location:
    U.K.
    #6
    I have just ordered the WD My Book Studio 1TB usb/firewire 400/800 eSata hard drive. I don't know cause I haven't actually checked but assume I will not be able to use eSata?
     
  7. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #7
    You are correct. Since you are using an iMac, you do not have any native eSATA ports and there is no option to add any (like adding a SATA PCI card in a Mac Pro or older tower type system).

    You'll do pretty well with the FireWire 800 connection though, so all is not lost! Just checked and that drive does come with a FW800--->FW800 cable so you are all set when it arrives! Good choice!
     
  8. dmmcgowan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    #8
    sicmacdoc I was hoping you could explain why I would want to use both Time Machine and an external drive. Don't they serve the same purpose?
     
  9. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #9
    Not to hijack this thread but I have been wondering that say if I had a 120GB external I want to use Time Machine with and I already formatted it to HFS+ with approximately 20GBs of data already stored on the HD. If I let Time Machine backup to this drive with it overwrite my existing data?
     
  10. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #10
    No, TM can co-exist with existing data fine. Time Machine establishes and uses a separate folder for its backup data.
     
  11. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020

    sickmacdoc

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #11
    Going to have to get a clarification on that at this point- do you mean why store the Time Machine backup files on an external drive versus an internal drive or :confused:

    Sorry to not follow you- I spent my one day off from working on computers, naturally, working on a computer... :(
     

Share This Page