best way to organize professional v. personal use

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Hi friends - I'll be increasing my proportion of professional use at home, and wondering if it would be better to get a separate desktop strictly for work or try to create and juggle drives on my MacBook Pro (10.6.8). I will be using mostly Office for work. Thanks for any advice - (in the past I've used a PC for work stuff at home, too, so there's that...)
 
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Not sure what you mean. Not enough information. Are you wanting to have an external drive for work only to keep files separate? Do you have to track your time?

You could use a cloud service to store your work stuff and then you will have access from anywhere and yet exclusive to work. This would be subject to any storage policies that might be in place.

If you tell us more we can offer more ideas.


Lisa
 
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Hi friends - I'll be increasing my proportion of professional use at home, and wondering if it would be better to get a separate desktop strictly for work or try to create and juggle drives on my MacBook Pro (10.6.8). I will be using mostly Office for work. Thanks for any advice - (in the past I've used a PC for work stuff at home, too, so there's that...)

Hello and welcome to the forum! :)

First, you're on an 'ancient' version of OS X (I'm running 10.10.2), so you really need to provide us some more information: 1) What is the year/month of your MBPro; 2) How much RAM and disk storage do you have on the laptop; and 3) Are you running Windows on this machine (and if so, how) - answers to these questions will at least get us started.

Second, please provide information on 'what' you need to do @ home and what you mean by 'juggle drives'? Thanks - Dave

OOPS! Lisa was typing faster but seems we are after the same information! ;) Dave
 
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Thanks - and sorry about the minimalism. I bought the machine in 2011, it has 2.3 GHz, 4 GB memory, 1333 MHz DDR3 (i have no idea what that means) and I'm running Office 2011 on it.
I'll mostly be writing and editing documents in English, but will want to save articles that I pull from medical journals and websites etc. There may also be some Protected Health Information on occasion that I will need to keep secure.

My question about "juggling" drives refers to whether or not I could set up a separate section in my hard drive that would only have work stuff in it (in my last job, the network was separated into drives by departments, so for instance if mostly I would be in, say, "Q" drive for my department, I could still go in to the "M" drive if I needed access to another department's folders...

or, set up a separate external hard drive? I just don't know what the options are, really, or pros and cons of each.
 
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Okay that is better now I can give you some thoughts.

Depending on the size of the internal hard drive and remaining storage available, you can partition it and thus create your "second drive" with in your main drive. But you are running a 2011 computer with what I am assuming is a 2011 aged hard drive so definitely have an external hard drive for backup.

Or you can use a usb external drive just for work stuff. If you need a lot more storage space - you indicate a need for room for articles etc, and external may be the ticket. They are not that expensive and you can get ones that run off usb power.

Either way you will need to add a backup drive for time machine and if it were me for carbon copy cloner. This drive can be partitioned - one for time machine and one for carbon copy cloner (or any cloning software - i just happen to use CCC.)

USB external drives are a lot cheaper now and are a great insurance against drive failure. Since you indicate potential protected information I will assume the cloud is not an option.

That's all I can think of for now. Maybe Dave has some more ideas.

Lisa
 
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Thanks - and sorry about the minimalism. I bought the machine in 2011, it has 2.3 GHz, 4 GB memory, 1333 MHz DDR3 (i have no idea what that means) and I'm running Office 2011 on it.............

Hi again - Lisa has already responded and hopefully has been of help.

BUT, you still have not provided us w/ enough information about your system - you bought your machine in 2011, but was it new or used? Also, still don't know what OS X is installed - just some important basics; plus, not sure how you are running Office 2011 on this laptop (e.g. Bootcamp, Parallels, or other)?

Please go to the Apple (top left menu bar - select 'About This Mac') - please look @ the screen capture of the same procedure on my MBPro - if you can post that image or give us the details - then that would help; sorry to keep asking questions but your requests are complicated and for the proper advice, we just need more details. Dave :)
.

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 9.39.00 PM.png
 
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Just a suggestion and save partitioning etc., the OP could just setup two users if they want to keep things completely separate — such as bekruse-home and bekruse-office etc., and setup quick user for switching.

Also, I can't agree with RD that OS X SL 10.6.8 is "ancient". And I don't see too many posts of any problems with it compared to the latest OS X versions. ;)
 
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Thanks everyone!
I have attached a screen shot of the computer specifics as Dave requested. It was new in 2011. And Dave, I don't know what you mean about what I'm using to run Office, I just installed it...mostly so I can use Word...I seem to remember I was able to buy an Office for Mac software package when I first got my MBP, does that sound right?

Lisa, your excellent advice for backing up is somewhat lost on me, I'm afraid - I don't understand what it would mean to partition a backup drive for time machine and CCC. I currently back the machine up by occasionally plugging in an external USB backup drive (LaCie); it pretty much automatically creates a backup; but I've never tried to go back in and organize it from the LaCie side.

PM-R, I'm grateful for your suggestion, it looks like it might be a simple solution for me since I'm such a novice, but can you tell me more, or point me to where I could learn how I would do this?

Should I maybe just get another external drive (like the LaCie?) but just use the new one for all my work files? How would I back that one up, though, if it's already external, I wonder? What about a Mac Mini, would that give me any advantage, do you think?

I really am so grateful for everyone's kind support and patience,
Beth

Screen shot 2015-02-01 at 9.09.55 PM.png
 
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Is there some particular reason why you can't just put work stuff in a folder (with subfolders as needed)? I'm not sure why people are rushing to the separate drives/partitions/etc stuff ... just seems to me to be complicating the issue unnecessarily (though the suggestions would work, of course).

If you really want to keep everything completely separate, a separate admin-level account should be more than sufficient.
 
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My apologies for getting a little too convoluted. I can tend to over think the issue. I really like the idea of just creating an admin level user if you want to keep things separate. Then you can get a second backup drive and use it to back up the work account.

OR you can go with just creating a folder in your documents and putting all your work stuff in it. But if you have ever had issues with saving stuff and not being sure where it went, I like the second user account idea better. That way no matter where a document is saved it will be in the new users account area.

To do that go to System Preferences -> Users & Groups. You will probably have to click on the gold lock in the left lower corner of the window and unlock the features by putting in your admin password from you current user account. If you want more help doing this let me know and I will post screen shots to walk you through.

Lisa
 
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Thanks everyone!
I have attached a screen shot of the computer specifics as Dave requested. It was new in 2011. And Dave, I don't know what you mean about what I'm using to run Office, I just installed it...mostly so I can use Word...I seem to remember I was able to buy an Office for Mac software package when I first got my MBP, does that sound right?

.................................

Hi Beth - thanks for the additional information on the screen capture - your Macbook Pro is an early 2011 model (details HERE) - you could update to a more recent OS X, including Yosemite (if that is of interest - and my comment on an 'ancient' OS X was just 'tongue in cheek' - if your happy and your laptop is working fine then no problem) - now, you have just 4 GB RAM, so you might want to go to 8 GB (16 GB is even possible according to the link), if an OS X upgrade is chosen.

Running MS Office on an Apple computer can be done several ways: 1) Purchase the OS X version of the MS program; or 2) Run Windows on you computer and use the MS version - this can be done several ways. From your description, you have the OS X version of the program.

Finally, I'd agree w/ the others that creating a 'new' user might be your best choice - your business files would be kept in that account, which could also be password protected - a number of backup options can also be considered. Dave :)
 
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My apologies for getting a little too convoluted. I can tend to over think the issue. I really like the idea of just creating an admin level user if you want to keep things separate. Then you can get a second backup drive and use it to back up the work account.
… … ...
Lisa


Huh…??? Why not stick to the KISS method, and no second drive would be needed for all backup unless they wanted to use and have a second backup — which wouldn't be excessive if the data is really critical.

Just saying… ;)
 
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Huh…??? Why not stick to the KISS method, and no second drive would be needed for all backup unless they wanted to use and have a second backup — which wouldn't be excessive if the data is really critical.

Just saying… ;)

The OP talked of sensitive data concerns and also a need for storing articles and pdf files. I have no idea how much storage is available on the harddrive of the mac and it was just a thought. And for clarification, I only meant one additional drive to attach to the mac, not two, so that means the internal drive and one external.
I do believe in backups as I have been burned enough to finally get the message.

Just trying to be safe and not sorry....

Lisa
 
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To take a different tack to others, you mention a desktop for your profession, so that is certainly different to a MacBookPro. Should the profession be an income earning business, I would go with an iMac at work which will be a legitimate business expense, with your CPA advising on depreciation deductions etc.
 
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Thanks all. Super-helpful! I'm really grateful for everyone's time and brainstorming.
I think the separate-user idea sounds like a good boundary and way to really define space between personal and work files, and plus extra password-protect, without getting too complicated or spending a lot if $$. I'll give it a try and check back with you guys if I get stuck. (Presumably I could use my existing usb backup drive for these files, too, once they're separated out like that?)
Mil gracias!
 
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I do a little work now and then that involves Protected Health Information.

I fully agree with the idea of setting up a separate user account to keep the work environment separate from the personal environment. It's easy, and it's effective.

Since the work involves Protected Health Information, I very strongly recommend that you use a MacOS feature called "FileVault" to keep the work environment encrypted when you are not logged into it. It's very easy to set up, and it does not change the way you work with your Mac. Behind the scenes, however, the home directory (and everything in it) of the work user is actually encrypted on the hard disk, and it is only decrypted when you login to that account and access files. That way, if your MacBook Pro is lost or stolen, it will be much harder for someone to access the Protected Health Information you've stored on it.

To set up FileVault in MacOS 10.6.8:
  1. Login to the work account and select "System Preferences" from the Apple Menu.
  2. Click on the "Security" icon.
  3. Click on the "FileVault" tab.
  4. Click on the "Turn on FileVault" button.
  5. On the same tab, it's probably worth setting up a "Master Password" for the computer, if you don't already have one. That way, if you forget the work account's password, you'll still be able to access your encrypted directory.

Next, if you need to use a web browser while in the work environment, do not use Safari 5.x, which is the version included in MacOS 10.6.8. There are known security holes in Safari 5, and if your employer is audited for regulatory practices, the use of a significantly out-of-date, insecure browser is something that can be cited as a problem. While logged in as the work user, use a current version of Firefox or Chrome for any web browsing.

Along those lines, you should give some thought to upgrading your Mac to Yosemite. (I say that as someone who still runs 10.6.8 on my own home Mac.) A lot of things are different in Yosemite, but the truth is that Apple is no longer maintaining 10.6.8 with security updates. A rule of thumb for working with regulated data is that you have to keep systems reasonably up-to-date from a security perspective, and where that is not possible, you need to take steps to mitigate risk. It can be argued that segregating/encrypting data and using only specific, current web browsers is acceptable mitigation, but upgrading to a more current version of MacOS would be helpful.

If you do decide to upgrade to a newer version of MacOS, keep in mind that if you have any older, PowerPC software on your system, it will not run on anything newer than 10.6.8. Since your MacBook is from 2011, you probably are fine, but I thought I'd mention it in case you migrated from an older Mac or installed any older software after you bought your Mac. To find out if you have any PowerPC software on your computer, go to the same place you went to get the screen shot of your "Hardware Overview" (Apple Menu > About This Mac > More Info...), scroll down to the "Software" section, click on "Applications", and sort the results by "Kind". Anything that shows up with a "Kind" that is "PowerPC" will not run on 10.7 or higher. Again, it's unlikely that you'll be affected, but you should double check before upgrading.

As a final comment, if you work with a lot of PDFs (dozens or hundreds) or other documents, you might find it handy to use a tool to help organize and tag them for easy access. Many such tools also allow you to encrypt their files/libraries, adding an extra layer of security. Some examples include Yojimbo, Yep, Evernote, and DEVONthink, but there are others.
 
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Josehill, thanks! That's superhelpful. If I wanted to upgrade to Yosemite, would it be best to just take the Macbook to my local Apple Store and ask them to do it for me? Any disadvantages to the upgrade other than making sure I don't have any older software? Thanks in advance, beth
 
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Josehill, thanks! That's superhelpful. If I wanted to upgrade to Yosemite, would it be best to just take the Macbook to my local Apple Store and ask them to do it for me? Any disadvantages to the upgrade other than making sure I don't have any older software? Thanks in advance, beth

If you're not comfortable upgrading your MacBook to Yosemite by yourself, then sure, you can have the folks at the Apple Store do it for you.

There are a few things that look different and act differently between Yosemite (10.10) and Snow Leopard (10.6.8). The things that probably will take the most getting used to (at least for me) are the look and feel of windows and scrollbars, some changes in the way gestures and scrolling work on the trackpad, and iTunes can feel very different if you're still running an older version of it. None of it is difficult, and I'm sure you'll get accustomed to the differences quickly, but you might want to stop at an Apple Store and play around with some of the current MacBooks just to get a feel for Yosemite before actually making the decision.

Some related suggestions: you mentioned that you have 4 GB of RAM in your MacBook Pro. That is enough to run Yosemite, but a lot of people find that Yosemite works better with more RAM. I suggest upgrading to at least 8 GB of RAM. It's not hard to install RAM, but you can bring the RAM and your MacBook to the Apple Store and have them do it for you. Right now, Crucial.com has reasonable prices for the chips to upgrade to either 8GB or 16GB, but if you shop around, you might find better deals.

Also, if you decide to go to Yosemite, I'd hold off on turning on FileVault encryption for the "work" account until after the upgrade. It shouldn't really make a difference, but Yosemite uses a different encryption technology than Snow Leopard, so I just figure that there are fewer things that can go wrong if you wait until after the upgrade to turn it on, rather than asking the Mac to convert from one encryption method to another. Alternately, you can turn it on in Snow Leopard and then turn it off before you upgrade (same steps as turning it on, except clicking "off"), and then turn it on again after the upgrade. Am I making sense?
 
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