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Time Machine... turn on?


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christoh

 
Member Since: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Mac Specs: MacBook Pro 17" i7 500Gb, 2.66GHz. iPhone 5 32Gb, 16Gb iPod Nano, 8Gb iPod Nano

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I posted this question in the backups, backups, backups sticky however no one was looking at it.

I just purchased a 500Gb Seagate portable external hard drive in order to back my music etc up. I was planning to do this manually however I connected it to my MBP and it asked if I wanted to use it for Time Machine... I clicked decide later and thought i'd come in here and ask what you guys' reckon.

I currently have Time Machine on my MBP switched off (it was switched off as a default) and do want to turn it on however I don't want it eating up all my disk space. So what I asking is; should I use my external drive as my Time Machine drive? If so, do I need to have it constantly connected? Or should I just switch on my Time Machine on my MBP and let it take up some space. Does it take up much space?

- Chris
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EndlessMac

 
Member Since: Jan 17, 2010
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Well the question is if you want to backup your whole hard drive or just your music as you were about to do. If you don't have a whole hard drive backup then setting up TM will be a good idea because you never know when your internal hard drive might fail. The added benefit of TM is that it is so easy and convenient to do backups that most people are more willing to do it. The only good backup is if you do it regularly.

If you don't want TM to use up your whole external drive then you can partition it in Disk Utility. This will leave you the rest of the external to use however you want. If you allow it TM will eventually use up all the space you give it but if you are like me then you don't need the weekly, monthly, or yearly backups because I rarely ever try to restore a file from that long ago. TM shouldn't be used as a storage device because it will eventually delete old files to make room for newer stuff when the drive gets full. This means that can use a smaller drive for my TM. Of course if you have a larger external drive then it will have a longer history of files.

You don't need to have it constantly connected. I only backup once a day at night. Just leave TM on and eject the drive. When you reconnect it you can manually choose to backup right now or it will automatically start in a few seconds. If you are one of those people who overwrite, delete, or misplace files a lot then you might want to leave it connected so that it automatically does hourly backups. I do however do a TM backup before doing an OS update or any other major changes just in case I need to restore back.
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christoh

 
Member Since: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 32
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Mac Specs: MacBook Pro 17" i7 500Gb, 2.66GHz. iPhone 5 32Gb, 16Gb iPod Nano, 8Gb iPod Nano

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thanks for the reply, EndlessMac. I never thought about partitioning the drive however it's a great idea. I am thinking of partitioning my primary drive (500Gb) and making another drive just for TM however am not sure about the size of the drive I should make. I was thinking 100Gb will be more than enough for the TM partition drive but am not sure. Will the partitioned drive have to be big enough to hold what is on my other drive? As in, if I have 15Gb of music, will TM store an image with 15Gb of music on the TM partitioned drive?

- Chris
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EndlessMac

 
Member Since: Jan 17, 2010
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TM should be a little bigger than your internal drive at the minimum. This way when your drives gets more full TM won't be so squeezed for space. You didn't say how large your internal drive was.

As default TM will backup your whole internal drive. You can choose to exclude some stuff but since you don't already have a backup you should just use it to back up everything. For your usage you don't really need to partition your hard drive since you won't really be using the 2nd partition for something else. TM will automatically include your music library.

I just mentioned the partition technique because you said you didn't want TM to eat up all your disk space. Using TM and then manually backing up your music files to the 2nd partition will just be redundant. If that is what you want then you can do it.
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christoh

 
Member Since: Jun 28, 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 32
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Mac Specs: MacBook Pro 17" i7 500Gb, 2.66GHz. iPhone 5 32Gb, 16Gb iPod Nano, 8Gb iPod Nano

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my internal drive is 500Gb however I will use nowhere near that. I don't store movies on my computer and have a modest music and picture collection (will be around 50Gb)...

I thought TM was sort of like Windows System Restore? Or do I have totally have it wrong?

- Chris
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EndlessMac

 
Member Since: Jan 17, 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christoh View Post
I thought TM was sort of like Windows System Restore? Or do I have totally have it wrong?
Not quite unless they changed it drastically on Windows 7. TM basically backups your whole hard drive and then it does incremental backups so that you can "go back in time" to restore old files that are no longer on your hard drive. You don't have to restore the whole state your hard drive was in at that time but rather you can just look for specific files. It's beneficial if you deleted something you didn't mean to or saved over something when you shouldn't have.

It will also allow you to restore your whole hard drive for times when you get a new hard drive or want to reformat. It's not really made for backing up only specific files such as only your music collection. If that is all you want to do then manually copying your files over will take up less room but you won't have a backup of your whole hard drive using TM.

In other words TM is almost like cloning your hard drive but it takes snapshots of each day and saves that so you can "go back in time" to find something. During the current day it takes snapshots of your hard drive every hour if you leave it plugged in.

I would recommend first giving the whole drive to TM and make a backup. Play with TM a bit and you will see what I'm talking about. If you have two or more backups then you will see the timeline snapshots I'm talking about. If you find you don't like TM that much then you can easily reformat the hard drive and do the partition or just stay with manual backups.
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