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OS X - Operating System General OS operation information and support

Time machine question

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Suzie68's Avatar
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I have snow leopard and I am wondering when using time machine, does it need to use my entire external HD? Can it be divided (partioned) so I can still store other things on it? It is a 350gb HD?

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No, you can partition it no problem, but you need to be sure that Time Machine has enough space to back up to in that partition. I think, from memory, it needs roughly double the space that you are backing up, so to back up 100GB, you need 200GB space.

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Lifted from other forums but hope the information clears it up for you:

TM backs up all of your data from any or all disks. (You can choose which disks not to back up in the system preference panel.) After the full backup, TM backs up once per hour, anything that is new or has changed. Then it keeps a daily backup of new stuff or changed stuff for a week. I can't remember where it goes beyond that but eventually it starts dumping the older stuff which has been changed when you run out of backup disk space.

So, you need enough space on the backup disk to hold all of the data on at least one disk (or partition) plus enough extra for expected new stuff and changed stuff. I hope that makes sense.


Time machine needs a drive at least as big as the data that is actually in use. If only 40 GB of your 160 GB drive is in use than you could use any size drive larger than 40 GB. After the first backup Time machine only stores changes. The more extra space you have, the further back in time you will be able to go.

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