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#18878 - 11/02/11 05:23 PM External hard drives for backups
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
This thread started out in "Folder behavior" in Mac OS X 10.6.x & 10.7.x, in case a history is needed.

Originally Posted By: ganbustein
Any external drive will do. Firewire is better than USB, but USB will do. Get one with about twice the capacity as the data you expect to have on your drive. (If you've got a 1TB internal drive, with 200MB on it which might grow to 250MB, you should look for at least 500MB. By the time you outgrow that, 20TB drives will sell for pennies.)

Just before my copy of Pogue's book arrives, I've been scoping out various external hard drives.
There seem to be a whole host available, mostly USB (including USB 3), all of which need to be reformatted for Leopard and Snow Leopard (meaning that nothing is going to be formatted for Lion — and I wouldn't have a clue how to do any of that anyway).
I have yet to find a Firewire drive.

In any event, what exactly would be necessary to make use of this Time Machine function in my iMac? What frequency of backup might be warranted? And what might I use such backups for (since a crash of the iMac can't ostensibly be corrected by a backup, at least as far as I can comprehend the discussion in that thread).

In light of the foregoing, what brand names and models do FTM folk recommend? I'd like to keep the price reasonable, preferably (well) under a hundred bucks.

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#18893 - 11/03/11 02:41 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
From Mac OS X 10.7 Help:

To erase a disk:

If you want to erase an external disk, connect the disk to your computer.

In Disk Utility, select the disk or partition in the list on the left.

Click Erase.

Choose a format from the Format pop-up menu. Usually you will choose
Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Type a name for the disk or partition.

If you want to prevent the erased files from being recovered, click
Security Options, select the option you want, and click OK.

Click Erase.


FYI, I got this by going to Mac OS X 10.7 Help: Erase a disk and followed the links. The part that I quoted appeared in Disk Utility Help, not at the Apple website.

Once you have erased the disk (it will be formatted at the same time), follow the instructions in Mac 101: Time Machine. That should the be same as for 10.5 and 10.6.

Time Machine backs up regularly (about once an hour) by default, so you don't have to set anything.
_________________________
Jon

OS 10.14.3, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#18894 - 11/03/11 03:39 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: jchuzi]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Thanks. Pretty much identical to erasing/reformatting a thumb drive (which I've done a couple times). I thought it might be more involved.

I haven't really gotten around to the mechanics of backups, since I'm still trying to discern what I might need and to what purpose I might put it/them.

Once hourly backups seems kind of excessive and obsessive. Why would one do that? Nothing that I do on the computer could possibly warrant that frequency, but then I still don't know to what use I would put such.

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#18895 - 11/03/11 03:53 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
You can alter the frequency of TM backups via the System tab of Cocktail. That seems a lot easier than the method described here and in other links at this Google search page. Of course, you could always disable automatic backups and back up manually when the mood strikes.
_________________________
Jon

OS 10.14.3, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#18896 - 11/03/11 04:48 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Quote:
In any event, what exactly would be necessary to make use of this Time Machine function in my iMac? What frequency of backup might be warranted? And what might I use such backups for (since a crash of the iMac can't ostensibly be corrected by a backup, at least as far as I can comprehend the discussion in that thread).

Your under $100 limit for a Time Machine drive is unrealistic for the capacity your need with a drive/enclosure that is reasonably fast, reliable, and Mac friendly. Check Other World Computing for external drives with just about any and all interfaces. Their drives are not fancy but they are fast, reliable, and 100% Mac compatible.

To make Time Machine function you need
  1. an external drive with 2 to 3 times the capacity of th drive you are backing up.
  2. The drive must be formatted Mac OS X Extended (journaled) with GUID partition table (easily done with Disk Utility)
  3. Spotlight turned ON
  4. Theoretically any interface will do, but as a practical matter the faster the better. USB 1 a.k.a. USB Full Speed is really too slow. USB 2 a.k.a. USB High Speed will work, Firewire 400 is better, Firewire 800 is great, Thunderbolt would be best if you could find one.
The Time Machine backup interval is every 60 minutes and those hourly backups consolidated into Weekly and monthly backups. Time Machine is efficient enough and smart enough that I have never found it necessary to modify the default backup frequency and I have on more than one occasion found the backup frequency very helpful. Time Machine is a very different backup solution than most people are used to, but it offers just about the best possible security and flexibility. IMO tinkering with its timing interval only serves to make it less effective.
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#18897 - 11/03/11 04:55 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: grelber
Why would one do that?

People who do a lot of writing are one group. Many writers like to save different versions as they progress, knowing they may find that changes they've made haven't generated as good a piece as something they recall writing earlier.

Time Machine allows instant restoration of earlier text.
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ryck

iMac (Retina 5K, 27", 2017), 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 2400 MHz DDR4
OS High Sierra 10.13.6
Canon MX710 Printer
Epson Perfection V500 Photo Scanner
Time Machine on 320GB OWC Mercury OTG Pro
Super Duper on 500GB OWC Mercury OTG Pro

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#18900 - 11/03/11 01:16 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Some suggestions, re external drives, I've gotten:

Irrespective of brand name, it should have a Seagate or Western Digital drive inside; avoid Fujitsu.

3TB USB 3 drives with 16-32MB cache with 7200 rpm recommended (over Firewire or Thunderbolt).

Partition into 2TB for Time Machine and 1TB for other (possibly to mirror iMac HD in case it's required to boot from external drive — as though I knew what any of that means or how to do it).

Any comments?

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#18901 - 11/03/11 01:29 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
According to the comments that I have read, you should avoid Seagate. WD has been highly recommended and, FWIW, I have had good luck with Hitachi.
_________________________
Jon

OS 10.14.3, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#18903 - 11/03/11 02:30 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I suspect that 7200rpm is overkill.

As an internal HD it would pep up your iMac, but as an external, and particularly considering the minimal use to which you're apparently going to put it, I dunno if it's worth the added cost.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#18905 - 11/03/11 05:27 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
My practice has been to order an empty external enclosure from Other World Computing then install the drive mechanism of my choice — usually Hitachi (which I also get from OWC). That is the only way I have found of guaranteeing the manufacturer of the drive itself. Besides, pre-mounted drives generally have only a one or two year warranty while purchasing the components separately you can often get up to five years warranty. Go figure!

Installing the drive in the enclosure is easily within the capability of just about anyone who has a small phillips screwdriver (P1) and can read and will follow the most basic level of instructions. My main difficulty has been in handling the very small machine screws without dropping them resulting in digging through the dust bunnies under the desk. tongue
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#18908 - 11/03/11 07:45 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> "Installing the drive in the enclosure is easily within the capability of just about anyone who has a small phillips screwdriver (P1) and can read and will follow the most basic level of instructions. My main difficulty has been in handling the very small machine screws without dropping them resulting in digging through the dust bunnies under the desk."

Further to that I'll paraphrase V1's comment (from a thread I can't locate) that while all the screws used to mount an HD may be identically threaded, they are not necessarily identical in all other respects, so care should be taken to screw each screw back into the exact same hole from which it was unscrewed.

Edit: I've found that a minimally magnetized screwdriver is extremely helpful for dealing with the teensy-tiny screws while having no apparent effect on the HD, itself.

Am I treading on dangerous ground?
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#18910 - 11/04/11 02:52 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
To add some information, read Seagate vs. Hitachi drives.
_________________________
Jon

OS 10.14.3, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#18914 - 11/04/11 01:27 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
If a hard drive states "for 32-bit kernel only", can it be used with 64-bit Lion?

Note: I've gone over the Wikipedia article Kernel (computing), but to me the content is pretty much gibberish. I 'understand' the diagram, but that's as far as I get in terms of understanding what's described.

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#18916 - 11/04/11 02:02 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: grelber
If a hard drive states "for 32-bit kernel only", can it be used with 64-bit Lion?

Note: I've gone over the Wikipedia article Kernel (computing), but to me the content is pretty much gibberish. I 'understand' the diagram, but that's as far as I get in terms of understanding what's described.

Thanks for asking; I wasn't aware that there were 32 and 64 bit HDs.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#18934 - 11/05/11 06:12 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Quote:
If a hard drive states "for 32-bit kernel only", can it be used with 64-bit Lion?

I have not run across that limitation before. Could you perhaps let us know where you found it so i/we can get some more information?
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#18937 - 11/05/11 02:59 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I have not run across that limitation before. Could you perhaps let us know where you found it so i/we can get some more information?

The item in question is a Seagate Free Agent GoFlex Desk External Drive, 2TB; for Mac OS X 10.4.11 to 10.6.2, 32-bit kernel only; UPC 63649 02341.
Moreover, no external drive which I have seen so far has indicated a compatibility with OS X Lion; the latest version of OS X applicable has been 10.6.x.

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#18939 - 11/05/11 03:25 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: grelber
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
I have not run across that limitation before. Could you perhaps let us know where you found it so i/we can get some more information?

The item in question is a Seagate Free Agent GoFlex Desk External Drive, 2TB; for Mac OS X 10.4.11 to 10.6.2, 32-bit kernel only; UPC 63649 02341.
Moreover, no external drive which I have seen so far has indicated a compatibility with OS X Lion; the latest version of OS X applicable has been 10.6.x.

Seagate's Web site specifies:

Quote:
System requirements

Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Windows® XP (32–bit & 64–bit) operating system or Mac® OS X operating system 10.4.9 or higher

Have you got a link for us?

I'm not aware of there being any need for an HD to be specifically compatible with Lion, but....
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#18940 - 11/05/11 04:32 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

The FreeAgent GoFlex Desk Product Information Sheet (pdf) says, under System Requirements:

Quote:
• Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Windows® XP (32-bit & 64-bit) operating system or
• Operating system Max [sic] OS X 10.4.6 Tiger or higher, 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard (the 32-bit kernel).
Reformatting for Mac may be required.
• USB 2.0 port


Edited by dkmarsh (11/05/11 04:33 PM)
Edit Reason: noted typo in quote
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#18941 - 11/05/11 06:12 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: dkmarsh]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
No link. I read the information off the box in the store.

That said, I'm tending towards a nice little Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 1TB USB3.0/2.0 which should work out just dandy with Time Machine and my needs (including recovery, which also answers the question of whether a bootable backup disc is necessary — it isn't — thanks to Pogue's information in "the missing manual").

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#18943 - 11/05/11 11:08 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: dkmarsh]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

The FreeAgent GoFlex Desk Product Information Sheet (pdf) says, under System Requirements:

Quote:
• Windows® 7, Windows Vista®, Windows® XP (32-bit & 64-bit) operating system or
• Operating system Max [sic] OS X 10.4.6 Tiger or higher, 10.5 Leopard or 10.6 Snow Leopard (the 32-bit kernel).
Reformatting for Mac may be required.
• USB 2.0 port

(At least it's mentioned, even if only in part, on the packaging [as has been posted by grelber].)

But why? I guess it's a function of the enclosure, rather than of the HD, itself?

Any ideas about "Reformatting for Mac may be required?" (I read "for" and reacted to "of.")


Edited by artie505 (11/06/11 01:30 AM)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#18946 - 11/06/11 01:22 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: artie505]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: artie505
Any ideas about "Reformatting for Mac may be required?"

As for the WD model mentioned in my last post, colleagues who use it for critical business backups (on multiple Macs, using Time Machine) tell me that it does the job right out of the box (ie, they've never had to reformat the drive prior to use).

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#18947 - 11/06/11 01:27 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I just reread my question and realized that it was beyond stupid.

But thanks for your response, anyhow.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#18949 - 11/06/11 02:20 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: grelber
As for the WD model mentioned in my last post, colleagues who use it for critical business backups (on multiple Macs, using Time Machine) tell me that it does the job right out of the box (ie, they've never had to reformat the drive prior to use).

The reason for that, I just noticed (Pogue, p 262), is that "Time Machine automatically reformats [drives] to the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) scheme, which it requires."

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#18953 - 11/06/11 01:34 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: grelber
Originally Posted By: grelber
As for the WD model mentioned in my last post, colleagues who use it for critical business backups (on multiple Macs, using Time Machine) tell me that it does the job right out of the box (ie, they've never had to reformat the drive prior to use).


The reason for that, I just noticed (Pogue, p 262), is that "Time Machine automatically reformats [drives] to the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) scheme, which it requires."


Reformatting of the entire drive only takes place if/when the external is physically mounted via a direct cable connection. Not sure, but if your muliple-Mac-using colleagues are backing up to the same drive, chances are they're using Wi-Fi rather than running around the office shuttling the backup disk back and forth.

In the case of a NAS (network attached storage), Time Machine doesn't reformat the actual remote disk itself. Rather, it creates a disk "image" on that filesystem, mounts that file as if it were an actual disk, and reformats just that imaginary disk. It's kinda abstract, but less work for the user.

E.g., i'm not sure what format the disk is inside a Time Capsule, but i do know from several attempts that it doesn't support hard links (Unix-style). Therefore it isn't UFS or HFS+ format. But no matter, Time Machine can back up to it anyway, since it uses that disk image method just described. [fwiw, Time Machine relies heavily on Unix hard links.]



Edited by Hal Itosis (11/06/11 01:36 PM)

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#18957 - 11/06/11 10:54 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: Hal Itosis]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
Reformatting of the entire drive only takes place if/when the external is physically mounted via a direct cable connection. Not sure, but if your multiple-Mac-using colleagues are backing up to the same drive, chances are they're using Wi-Fi rather than running around the office shuttling the backup disk back and forth. ...

My bad. They use multiple 1TB drives for multiple machines (ie, one drive per each machine) via direct cable connection, swapping them out daily to secure off-site storage.

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