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  1. #1

    Yffum's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 22, 2010
    Posts
    77
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro Running Snow Leopard out of the box
    Question Hard Drive Questions
    Hi, I'm sorry if these are dumb questions, but I've looked all over the internet and I cannot find answers. Any help would be really appreciated.

    First, I'll start off with some info.

    What I have
    I'm currently using a 320GB Mid-2009 13" MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard

    What I want

    • A full backup of my hard drive that I can update every week - So if my MacBook Pro instantaneously combusts I will still have all of my data which I can then put on a new computer

    • Daily and/or weekly backups - So if I accidentally delete an important file I can go to the most recent backup and bring it back -or- If I moved a file from one location to another 5 days ago and now I want to move it back, but I've forgotten its previous location I can go back to last week's backup and search for the item to see where it was.

    ----------------------

    Okay, so that sound pretty simple - I'm sure I'm not the only one in this situation. Now onto the questions. They're highlighted in bold

    ----------------------

    Software

    So, the first place I went to was Apple's Time Machine web page. It seemed perfect. It's known for its incremental backups that would solve my second "want" so I could recover lost files. And it seems that it also makes a full backup so in the unfortunate event that my computer is destroyed I'll still have all my data. Now, it looks like I have a perfect solution, but I still keep hearing about all these 3rd party software such as SuperDuper. In fact, I've heard on blogs/forums that some people use SuperDuper and Time Machine hand in hand. This leads to my first question - What can 3rd party software such as SuperDuper do that Time Machine can't? And even if I just go ahead and use Time Machine, the one problem would be that I'm using a laptop and I can't be constantly plugged into an external hard drive - nor do I have the money to purchase a wireless hard drive. So my question is How is Time Machine able to work around me not being plugged in to my external hard drive all the time?

    Hardware

    So my first question is Will all external hard drives work with my Mac and Time Machine/Other Macintosh Backup Software? Or do I have to look out for a a certain specification that tells me whether or not it will work with my computer and software? I read some info on the Apple website saying some might not work with Time Machine and now I'm sorta confused, because I don't see why it would make a difference. My next question is If my computer has a 320GB hard drive, how big does the external hard drive need to be for Time Machine's backups?

    Thanks for reading or in advance for any help you offer. Plus, if you know any external hard drives that look like they fit my needs, I'd love a recommendation.

  2. #2

    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 16, 2009
    Location
    North Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    9,244
    Specs:
    2.8 GHz MacBook Pro 10.11, 8 GB mem, iPhone 6+
    First, you have obviously put some thought into a backup strategy and that is a good thing. I'll try and answer a few of your other questions.

    I think your idea of a "bootable" system clone is a good idea. I usually keep one and it has saved my bacon on several occasions. Time Machine is not really best for this since on its own it does not produce a "bootable" backup. You would need the System CD to boot from in the event of a complete failure.

    I would use something like Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner, to create the bootable backup. Download both and see which you prefer. Either one will do this task well but the paid version of Super Duper is a bit more versatile for other tasks. Disk Utility can also "clone" drives but I think it copies all of the clone every time rather than looking for changed files. Update the clone periodically as you suggest and you should be good to go.

    If you are not connected to your external drive 24/7 Time Machine does not care. The backup will be performed the next time the drive it attached. Time Machine is also capable of backing up to a Time Capsule or network share. This overview might give you a better idea of how Time Machine works. I also give some idea of which files can safely be excluded from a backup to save a little space. ATPM 15.03 - How To: Time Travel: Introduction to Time Machine

    As far as what type of drive to used that is discussed briefly as well. When backing up to an external drive attached to the computer Time Machine looks fora drive that has been formatted HFS+ with journalling enabled. Most new hard drives will work but need to be formatted--Which can be done in Disk utility.

    BTW after you "clone" your drive boot from the clone and launch a program or two just to check things out. I created a clone once and something went wrong in the process. When I needed it the system would not accept my login password when booted from the clone.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  3. #3

    Yffum's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 22, 2010
    Posts
    77
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro Running Snow Leopard out of the box
    Thanks a ton for all the info, you really helped a lot! I'm sorry it took me so long to reply, but I've been really busy.

    The website you gave also helped a lot too, but I still have a couple questions.

    Will 1TB be enough to hold the Time Machine backup and the bootable backup if my computer's hard drive is 320GB? Or might I be able to get away with only a 500GB HD?

    And my last question is, how do I know if I can format a certain hard drive to HFS+ in Disk Utility? I was looking at this one: Amazon.com: Western Digital WD Elements 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive WDBAAU0010HBK-NESN: Computer & Accessories Do you think I'll be able to format it so it works with Time Machine?

    Thanks again for all your help.

  4. #4

    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 16, 2009
    Location
    North Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    9,244
    Specs:
    2.8 GHz MacBook Pro 10.11, 8 GB mem, iPhone 6+
    My MacBook Pro initially had a 320 GB drive as well. I had my Time Machine backup on a 1 TB drive and it held about a years worth of Time Machine backups. That was without the system clone though. My system files take up a bit less than 100 GB and roughly 15 or so GB of data plus a few other files also backed up by TM. My guess would be that if the partitioner a clone were about 350 GB you could go about 6 to 8 months before things start getting deleted.

    Disk Utility will recognize just about any hard drive on the market. As long as it can connect directly to your Mac that shouldn't be an issue.

    BTW Thanks for the rep bump.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  5. #5

    Yffum's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 22, 2010
    Posts
    77
    Specs:
    MacBook Pro Running Snow Leopard out of the box
    Thanks a lot! You answered all my questions and I'm ready to go out and get my hard drive! All of your answers were really helpful and now I feel like an expert on back-ups

  6. #6

    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 16, 2009
    Location
    North Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    9,244
    Specs:
    2.8 GHz MacBook Pro 10.11, 8 GB mem, iPhone 6+
    You're welcome. glad to help. I am always looking for future column ideas so pass on any that you might have.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

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