backup computers..

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i'm trying to figure out the best way to backup my 2 computers. I have an older power mac desktop running 10.5.8, and a 2 year old macbook air running 10.9.4. I have a 1 TB G Drive, and a 2 TB WD My Passport. Do i consolidate all my pics and movies and music and documents, and then just manually transferring(dragging) the files on to the external HDs, ...and then also do actual backups where the entire computer is backed up so that it can be recovered exactly as it is now? To me, it seems like just storing a few folders with the most important stuff (music, docs, movies, pics) takes up less space, and is all i really need. Do i need to have a HD always connected to my computer doing constant backups? Sorry for sounding unknowledgeable. I'm not that tech savvy. Thank you!! Also, do i use 1 ext HD for each computer, or do i need 1 for each? thanks...
 
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Hi Alexguitar - welcome to the forum! :)

Obviously, your question is 'wide open' and you likely will receive varying comments - backup can involve simply your important files (i.e. docs, music, pics, etc.), your entire computer(s), cloning software for a 'bootable' option, and local vs. offline storage (or both); SO, you can imagine the possibilities!

Let me simply tell you what I am doing which involves considerations of easy recovery & redundancy of important personal files - I have an iMac & MBPro (both early 2013 running Mavericks) - below an outline:

* Time Machine (built into Mavericks & free) - 1 TB external HDs devoted to each computer (attached to the iMac via USB for constant backup) & periodically synced to my laptop - the usual recommendation is to have an external HD dedicated JUST to the TM backup.

* Cloned backups using Carbon Copy Cloner to an external HD w/ two partitions (could have used 2 HDs - maybe should?) - done about once a week (opinions will vary) - allows a bootable clone for each computer.

* Personal files - for the iMac using Carbonite online (i.e. docs, music, & pics); for the MBPro using an external SSD (La Cie) about once a week.

Concerns - should I be using more redundancy? Dave
 
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If you're not that tech savvy and want the fewest hassles, just use Time Machine. When you plug your hard drive into your Mac, it will ask if you want to use it for your Time Machine Backups. Confirm that you do, and the Time Machine preferences will open up and you can start backing up immediately. Then just do the same thing on your other computer (they can share one drive if there's enough space on it). It may take awhile to back everything up, so give it plenty of time, up to several hours, to complete.

You can leave the drive plugged into your Mac and Time Machine will back up any time there are changes or additions on it. As the drive fills up, the oldest backups will be deleted to make room for new ones. This is all done in the background without you having to do anything.

When you want to restore a file, you just click on the Time Machine icon and a timeline will open up that lets you browse to a certain date in the past to find your missing file. If you get a new computer or re-format your Mac's hard drive, you can use Time Machine to restore it exactly as it was at the time of your most recent backup, settings, files and all.
 
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Question. You say you have two hard drives? Do you mean you have two external hard drives in caddies?

If so use the 1TB for OS X.5.8 and the 2TB for OS X.9.4. When you format the drives, you will find it necessary to set the drive for Mavericks under Partition > Options to GUID interface, and the PowerPC model to Apple Partition Map.
 
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harry, yes, 2 separate HDs. 1 TB, and 2 TB in size. (not sure what caddies are). Thank you for the info. My question... my power PC has a 1TB internal HD, and the mac book air has a 120GB internal HD. Shouldn't i use the 2TB ext HD for the Power Mac, since the power mac has the much bigger HD? I hope that makes sense.
 
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harry, yes, 2 separate HDs. 1 TB, and 2 TB in size. (not sure what caddies are). Thank you for the info. My question... my power PC has a 1TB internal HD, and the mac book air has a 120GB internal HD. Shouldn't i use the 2TB ext HD for the Power Mac, since the power mac has the much bigger HD? I hope that makes sense.

Hi again - you could certainly use that rationale, but Time Machine (TM) is going to only 'backup' the data on your drives, so if the older 1 TB drive is not that filled, then will not take up that much storage on your external HD.

As an example, look at the attached screen capture from my storage information on the MBPro ( 256 GB SSD) - using a 1 TB Seagate external drive w/ Time Machine: 1) HD of the laptop is much less than half used; and 2) Backup HD has 863 GBs free and that is after 18 months of using TM; plus I looked at the same information on our iMac (1 TB fusion drive) which has less data on its drive than my laptop (my MP3 music is there) - the external 1 TB HD looks about the same.

SO, probably makes little difference which one you use on your two computers; however, if your older machine's drive is getting full, then using the 2 TB external HD would make sense. Dave :)

.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.54.46 PM.png
 
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A caddy is the external case you pop the hard drive in, and then connect via Firewire 800 which is the fastest option. Yes use the 2TB external for the largest number of files.

Personally I would go with SuperDUper or Carbon Copy Cloner to make backups. The external hard drives are then bootable in the case of problems. If you go via the cheaper USB route, be aware generally PowerPC computers cannot boot from the external that way.
 

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