Will using Time Machine take up a whole external hd?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Jon5552, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. Jon5552 macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2008
    This is day 3 as an Apple customer and so far this forum has been a ton of help! I would like to use the Time Machine program but it looks like I have to use an external hard drive, so I was thinking of buying a Western Digital MyBook 320 GB external hard drive which on the box says Mac compatible.

    Will I still be able to use the hard drive for other things on my Mac (like storing directory of photos or installing programs to?) besides a Time Machine back up or does Time Machine "lock" the entire drive?

    Thanks for helping a new Apple user!
  2. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Jul 28, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    Welcome to the world of Mac's :) We're always happy to help answer any questions you have.

    Time Machine does not take over the whole disk, it just creates a folder (called Backups.backupdb) that it saves the backup data into. Obviously this data will grow in size over time, and eventually fill up the disk. But you can use the spare space on the disk for anything you want, just stay away from the TM backup folder. You should format the drive to the Mac format (Mac OS Extended (Journaled)) using Disk Utility before you use it.

    To format it, plug the disk in and wait for it to mount, then run the Disk Utility application (in Applications/Utilities). Click on the drive in the top left pane, and then click the 'Erase' tab in the right pane. Select 'Mac OS Extended (Journaled)' from the Volume Format dropdown, and give the volume a meaningful name, and then click the Erase button.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes you could store other stuff on the drive. But you don't want to do that.

    Time machine makes a folder on the drive and keeps all it's stuff in there. You can make another folder and keep whatever you want there but none of that stuff will get backed up. Also the more room TM has the more backups it can keep. It will use all the available space to keep old versions of files,

    The best thing to do is let TM have the full drive and make sure that drive is about twice as big as the data you want to back up, that way there is room or revisions.

    You are going to need a bunch of external drives no matter what. At leat one for TM and then you need an off-site backup as well and one for your dat that does not fit on the internal drive.
  4. chipchen macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2002
    i generally recommend that you let time machine have it's own backup drive. it will eventually fill it and you can start it over.

    leave other files elsewhere... less risk of losing the backup. (to failure, loss, etc)
  5. etequetaqui macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2008

    Hi form Venezuela.

    I don't have an external HD so I don't use Time Machine by now, but I'm pretty sure you can buy a extHD, 500GB for example, an make two partitions of it, let's say one with 400GB of space for TM and one with 100GB for your personal use. The system would actually recognize your extHD as two separate HD's. That's how things work.
  6. Jon5552 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2008

    Thanks for the help, I was worried about having to format a drive for a Macintosh since I've never done that before. Also, I think I will just let Time Machine have its own external drive and get a seperate drive if/when I need it.

  7. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    I fully agree with this recommendation. Give Time Machine it's own dedicated drive and designate an alternate drive for other backup purposes.
  8. WillJS macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_0_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5C1 Safari/525.20)

    I partioned my TM backup drive. Twice my HD size and some for TM, and whats left I use to keep a bootable disk image on (using CCC). Welcome to MR and enjoy your Mac! :)

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