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  1. #1
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Sep 07, 2010
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    Question Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD
    Hello,

    I am trying to sell my Macbook and upgrade to a Macbook pro. Before I can do this I need to back up all my information on my laptop so I will be able to restore it easily on the Macbook pro. Can someone help me out with this.

    I know I need to purchase an external hard drive first. Can you guys recommend me some that work well with macs. I've been hearing that macs can only read and not write on external hard drives that are formatted NTSF. Will I need to format the external hard drive when I buy it?

    Should I use time machine to back up my data or use some other method that is better?

    I did a search and it looks like I have to format the external HD as FAT32. Is this going to give me 32 gigs sections in the HD? I only have ~ 90 gigs of information that I am trying to back up.

  2. #2
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2010
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    1,466
    Specs:
    2.8 GHz 15" MacBook Pro OS X 10.7.x & some old Macs
    If you just need to transfer your files to your new MBP then you can use migration assistant instead. You should have a some kind of backup system though if you don't currently have one so it's not a bad idea to start one now.

    You can either use Time Machine or do clone copies of your computer with Carbon Clone Copier. Whichever one you choose is a personal preference and some people do both types of backups. You can search the forums to find out about the differences. It's a common topic.

    You do need to format the external drive to Mac's format which is easy to do using the included Disk Utility in your Mac.

    edited: To answer your edited question, FAT32 is only need if you want to use the external for both Mac and Windows. It's better to use Mac's format if you are trying to use it for long time backup solutions. Time Machine will only work in Mac's format.

  3. #3
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD
    chscag's Avatar
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    Jan 23, 2008
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    When you buy an external hard drive you will need to format it so that it can be used to backup your MacBook. Whether you decide to use Time Machine or a cloning program, the drive has to be formatted as HFS+ Extended Journaled not as FAT-32 or NTFS.

    After you format it as above, then you can make a Time Machine backup or if you wish, you can use either SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner to clone a copy of your hard drive to the external. The advantage of using either of the cloning programs is that the external drive will be bootable.

  4. #4
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD
    Tarek's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 18, 2008
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    Cairo, Egypt
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    784
    Specs:
    15" MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5
    Almost any External HD that uses USB will work fine on your Mac. I am using a Western Digital Passport 160GB and it never failed me. Oh and they're cheap.

  5. #5
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD
    TattooedMac's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 19, 2009
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    Waiting for a mate . . .
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    21" iMac 2.9Ghz 16GB RAM & 13"MBP 2.9Ghz i7 8GB RAM 10.10.3, iPhone5 & iPad Air 2 iOS 8.3, ATV3
    ^ +1 on WD .... My WD MYBook 1Tb was plug and play. In other words no need to format it at all

    Cheers
    Dont forget to use the Reputation System if someone has helped you out !!!
    Arguing with a zealot is only slightly easier than tunneling through a mountain with your forehead!!!!!
    MoTM ☆☆☆

  6. #6
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Jun 11, 2009
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    186
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 500GB hard drive 4GB ram PowerMac G5 Dual 2.2GHz Mirrored 500GB HDD, Mac Mini, and more
    100% agree with Tarek and Tattooedmac Western Digital all the way have a 160GB my book carry around every day ... and 2 1TB home drives... and they are plug and prey for Mac as well... go get one they are inexpencive.
    Ce's GeekBook PC guru wana Be turned Mac geek

  7. #7
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by csegeek View Post
    ...and they are plug and prey for Mac as well...
    Prey? I didn't realize your Mac was hunting external hard drives. I know it's a typo but I thought it was funny though.

    Anyway just wanted to let people know that Mac hard drives are not exclusive to WD. Just look for any drive that says it's formatted for Mac and you will get the same plug and play ability. Many manufacturers don't pre-format it for Macs because it will cost them more to have both a Windows and Mac version when it's pretty easy for the user to either format it for Windows or Mac.

    I've actually noticed more drives being formatted as FAT32 so that it can be used on both and leave it up the user to decide if they want it solely for Mac or Windows.

  8. #8
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD
    Tarek's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 18, 2008
    Location
    Cairo, Egypt
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    Specs:
    15" MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5
    Mine is NTFS and it can be used on both.

  9. #9
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Jun 11, 2009
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    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 500GB hard drive 4GB ram PowerMac G5 Dual 2.2GHz Mirrored 500GB HDD, Mac Mini, and more
    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
    Prey? I didn't realize your Mac was hunting external hard drives. I know it's a typo but I thought it was funny though.

    Anyway just wanted to let people know that Mac hard drives are not exclusive to WD. Just look for any drive that says it's formatted for Mac and you will get the same plug and play ability. Many manufacturers don't pre-format it for Macs because it will cost them more to have both a Windows and Mac version when it's pretty easy for the user to either format it for Windows or Mac.

    I've actually noticed more drives being formatted as FAT32 so that it can be used on both and leave it up the user to decide if they want it solely for Mac or Windows.
    Actualy ... was not a typo .... left over slang term from those of us that are geeks from the windows 95 and 98 (and gasp Millenium) erra where it was really plug and prey (that it worked)
    Ce's GeekBook PC guru wana Be turned Mac geek

  10. #10
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarek View Post
    Mine is NTFS and it can be used on both.
    You must have setup your Mac to write to NTFS because Macs can only read NTFS as default.

  11. #11
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2010
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    Specs:
    2.8 GHz 15" MacBook Pro OS X 10.7.x & some old Macs
    Quote Originally Posted by csegeek View Post
    Actualy ... was not a typo .... left over slang term from those of us that are geeks from the windows 95 and 98 (and gasp Millenium) erra where it was really plug and prey (that it worked)
    Yes, I know the phrase. I've been using Windows since version 3.11 but isn't it plug and pray?

  12. #12
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Jun 11, 2009
    Posts
    186
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro 500GB hard drive 4GB ram PowerMac G5 Dual 2.2GHz Mirrored 500GB HDD, Mac Mini, and more
    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
    Yes, I know the phrase. I've been using Windows since version 3.11 but isn't it plug and pray?
    LOL {head slap} now you got me.... yes that was typeO...

    tends to happen when ... you have too many phones attached to your head and copy and paste is easier than the keyboard (just not more accurate).
    Ce's GeekBook PC guru wana Be turned Mac geek

  13. #13
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Sep 07, 2010
    Posts
    5
    So, in the future I might want to use Windows. Should I format the external hard drive that it can work with windows and mac? How does fat32 work?

    Also, my macbook has microsoft office on it but I do not have the cd. When I transfer everything to the new macbook pro will I be able to use this software?

    thanks

  14. #14
    Need help backing up my Macbook to external HD

    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2010
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    Specs:
    2.8 GHz 15" MacBook Pro OS X 10.7.x & some old Macs
    Once you are done transferring all your files over to your new hard drive then you can reformat your external HD for any type of usage you want. Although you really should have some kind of backup plan. It seems that you don't. You can partition the external HD so that one side can be used for Time Machine while the other can be FAT32 so that Windows can also use it.

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