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  1. #1
    How to back-up laptop with Time Machine and an external HD, on another external HD?
    Okay, so I have a MacBook Pro of which I want to back-up using Time Machine. Apart from the system files, I only have about 75GB that I need to back-up. I don't want hourly backups or anything complicated; I just want a classic/simple backup where I just plug in my laptop from time to time to make sure I don't lose everything if the hard drive fails (if I lose a couple days of work, it isn't too bad).

    I also have an external hard drive I use for photography, which I want to back-up as well. For the external photography HD, I either want to back it up with Time Machine or another back-up software like ChronoSync—whichever is the best option. I want both my laptop Time Machine backup and my external photography HD backup on another external HD. It is 1TB, but if it isn't enough once my photography HD starts to increase in size, I'll just buy a 4TB SATA drive and use the second 1TB HD for photography (or video work).

    In other words:

    MacBook Pro, 75GB of data (with Time Machine, simple backup)

    New external HD, 1TB

    External photography HD, About 35GB of data (with Time Machine or ChronoSync)

    I don't know how Time Machine works exactly and there doesn't seem to be videos or articles about how to do what I want to do. Could anyone please help me out?

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum. What I would recommend is that instead of using TM you use a cloner to accomplish both tasks. That way the backup could be bootable in case the internal drive fails, so you can get going again quickly. I would also say that for your use, I would partition the external into two partitions, one for the Mac backups and one for the External clone. That way you don't have to worry about the possibility of one overwriting the other as much. (It's still something to be careful with, but not as perilous as trying to have both on one partition.) As for the partition sizes, I'd say keep them about equal and then backup the entire internal drive, not just the data. That way the backup will be bootable. IF you don't expect the 75GB of data on the internal to grow much, you can set the Internal backup partition a bit smaller, but don't make it too small or you'll run out of space pretty quickly.

    Now, for software either Carbon copy Cloner or Super Duper will do what you want. I use CCC, but either one is just fine. Set up CCC to clone your backup to the first partition on the external and to keep changed files. CCC calls it "Safety Net." You can set it to either run on a a schedule and leave the backup drive attached, or just run it when you remember to do so and attach the drive. Then do the same for the External Photography HD to the other partition.

    If you use the "run when I say run" approach, I'd suggest you put a reminder on your calendar to nag you to do it. Backups are easy to forget, until you need it.

    Now, for TM, how it works and setup is here:

    One thing to remember is TM backups are NOT bootable, even if you set them to back up everything. Clones should be bootable, as long as you let them.

    Hope that helps some.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    Oh, thanks MacInWin. That was very helpful.

    I had the same thing in mind, but people kept telling me to use Time Machine instead. I know about CCC and SuperDuper, but have my eye on ChronoSync (doesn't charge for new updates, plus had and has more updates than SuperDuper—although more expensive than both, initially).

    I will make a partition for each backup, which I hadn't thought about. One thing I don't completely understand: if I prefer to only back up the 75GB of files that I have on my MacBook, rather than the whole 250GB drive—what would I be scarifying if I don't have a bootable backup? If I don't mind having to take the few hours to have the hard drive changed, to reinstall OS X and then my files from the backup (if the laptop drive were to fail), is a whole-laptop backup still very important? If the drive were to crash, I could run everything—OS X and all—on an external hard drive? I'm not very familiar with how hard drive failures work (which I guess is kind of a good thing, in a way ).

    Last edited by KevenM; 06-20-2016 at 08:21 PM.

  4. #4
    If you don't have a bootable backup and the internal drive dies, you cannot boot the system. You would have to have the drive changed, reinstall macOS and then your files. If you don't care about the time you have to wait to get a working machine, you may not need a full backup. However, in that approach you also would lose things like your keychain, preferences, third party software, etc. A full backup, either TM or a cloner, will make the restoration of the drive much easier, even if the backup isn't bootable.

    A cloned drive can be used to boot and run the system, although it will be slow because of the USB interface being so much slower than the internal drive interface.

    I use ChronoSync for one pair of systems for my wife's business and it works well for that purpose, so that is a valid approach as well as CCC or SD. I don't use it to sync the entire system, just her emails, but it works well for that purpose.

    One more thought, given how cheap external drives have become, you could get a second EHD and only put one backup on one drive instead of partitioning one drive into two virtual ones. That way if one of the backups fail you haven't lost all backups. (Yes, I've had backup drives fail, and one failed at the exact time my internal died, so I lost years of work/pictures/etc. That's why I now have three backups. Yes, I'm paranoid!)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    Thanks for your suggestions MacInWin. I have asked professional photographers what I should do regarding backups. I asked about which software would be best out of CS, CCC and SD, but more then half of them are incessantly suggesting I use Time Machine instead. What are your thoughts on this?

  6. #6
    How to back-up laptop with Time Machine and an external HD, on another external HD?
    ferrarr's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 21, 2012
    Pawtucket, RI, US
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    Use both Time Machine and clone software. Time Machine will save all your files, even file that get changed, simple set it and forget it, nothing else to worry about, except your backup drive failing. A clone is great for when your computer drive dies, so you can boot from the clone and get work done. I clone my startup drive and I use TM for my startup drive and any other drives I can't loose, I don't have multiple backups yet, but am starting to put different things on other family computers, so I will have multiple backups, just not in the same location.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  7. #7
    All of them can be scheduled to be automatic. All of them can do historical archives to one degree or another. One is free, two are not. It's up to you. I said everything I know in post #4.

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