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#18965 - 11/07/11 08:33 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
MacManiac Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
From personal experience with that very drive I can tell you that it comes pre-formatted with the NTFS file system format (Windows - specific) AND it comes with some add-on Western Digital software that you absolutely DO NOT NEED OR WANT TO INSTALL.

When you get your drive, simply plug it in so that it mounts to your computer, run the Disk Utility application that is in your /Applications/Utilities directory, highlight the disk partition (not the drive mechanism listed just above it) and then choose "Erase" and pull down the list of formats to HFS + Journaled, then click OK.....you can rename the disk to a name of your liking. The result will be a Macintosh - specific formatted hard drive that will perform exactly the way you desire for your Time Machine needs.
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#18966 - 11/07/11 09:53 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: MacManiac]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: MacManiac
From personal experience with that very drive I can tell you that it comes pre-formatted with the NTFS file system format (Windows - specific) AND it comes with some add-on Western Digital software that you absolutely DO NOT NEED OR WANT TO INSTALL.
When you get your drive, simply plug it in so that it mounts to your computer, run the Disk Utility application that is in your /Applications/Utilities directory, highlight the disk partition (not the drive mechanism listed just above it) and then choose "Erase" and pull down the list of formats to HFS + Journaled, then click OK.....you can rename the disk to a name of your liking. The result will be a Macintosh - specific formatted hard drive that will perform exactly the way you desire for your Time Machine needs.

Rats! You beat me to it (by about an hour). I was out shopping (see below) when you posted this item. Here's my take:

Man, that was slick! But first a little history ...

Given the crapola (ie, flooding) in Thailand with respect to external hard drive factories (which may or may not ever come back on line) and otherwise indefinite plans of external hard drive purveyors (eg, Western Digital), 1TB drives under $100 (much less in the $70 arena) are going to be few and far between. So I went to a local big box store and grabbed a WD My Passport 1TB drive on sale.

It took me longer to get it out of the box than it did to connect it and get my first backup started (ongoing as I write this). Upon plugging it in, my iMac asked if I wanted to make it my backup disk, to which I answered in the affirmative, whereupon it immediately opened Time Machine, reformatted the drive* and gave me 120 seconds during which I could choose the option of aborting the first backup, and then went into the backup. It took about 90 sec/GB for the initial backup.
[* It just did it. No options, no list of formats. It knew where it was going and went there. Another new feature of Lion (which Pogue also alluded to).]

Ain't too shabby. And now I've got an external source to recover the entire system plus my files. Sweet.

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#18976 - 11/07/11 02:20 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: MacManiac
pull down the list of formats to HFS + Journaled, then click OK.....you can rename the disk to a name of your liking. The result will be a Macintosh - specific formatted hard drive that will perform exactly the way you desire for your Time Machine needs.

Originally Posted By: grelber
[ . . . ] whereupon it immediately opened Time Machine, reformatted the drive* and gave me 120 seconds during which I could choose the option of aborting the first backup, and then went into the backup. It took about 90 sec/GB for the initial backup.

It just did it. No options, no list of formats. It knew where it was going and went there.

I wonder which format Time Machine chose [which you can easily check via a Finder Get Info window (or in Disk Utility).]

The reason i highlighted those sections of your quotes is because —when Time Machine auto-formats a disk image on its own—its "choice" is: HFS+ (Mac OS Extended), Case-sensitive, Journaled. [sic] Yes, case-sensitive... which is not a commonly used/recommended option for Mac users. And it's also not a commonly known fact that that's what Time Machine itself chooses.... at least when it formats a disk image.

So i'm hoping you can tell us (as i'm unsure) what it chose in your situation (i.e., a direct connection via cable). I'm guessing it might not choose case-sensitive in that scenario, since users might have other uses for their backup volumes. But still, there's a chance...

So could you tell us please? Just select the disk on the desktop (or in the 'Computer' window), and post the full Format description (just above Capacity in the Get Info window).

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#18981 - 11/07/11 11:41 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: Hal Itosis]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Indeed. From the Get Info window —
Format: Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled)
Just as you surmised, although Pogue (p 262) left the "Case-sensitive" bit out of his note on the automatic reformatting of the drive. Pogue's parting comment in that note is: "Thoughtful, really."

Two minor addenda:

— When I went to WDC's website to acquire a user manual, I also noted that there was supposedly a firmware update for the drive. So I called WDC (30 days' worth of free telephone consultion included in purchase), who tried to convince me that it would improve the functioning of my drive ... until they found out that I was using Time Machine for backup, at which point they said that the update was unnecessary (ie, it wasn't really a firmware update but a software update for their SmartWare).

— Not included in the box was their software (which I wasn't planning on using anyway, for the same reasons MacManiac gave earlier) — either a mistake in packaging or it may have been on the drive itself before Time Machine took it over and erased everything on it prior to reformatting.

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#18982 - 11/08/11 12:05 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: Hal Itosis]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
The reason i highlighted those sections of your quotes is because —when Time Machine auto-formats a disk image on its own—its "choice" is: HFS+ (Mac OS Extended), Case-sensitive, Journaled. [sic] Yes, case-sensitive... which is not a commonly used/recommended option for Mac users. And it's also not a commonly known fact that that's what Time Machine itself chooses.... at least when it formats a disk image.

That's interesting. I checked my TM Backup and it only says: "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" At first I wondered why.

Then I recalled seeing something about Case Sensitivity in Disk Warrior. If you select Rebuild while holding the Option button, you get a couple of extra options. One of them is Ensure MAC OS Extended Format Case Sensitivity.

Under that are choices for either Case Insensitive or Case Sensitive. The Default button is Case Insensitive and it says "This is the default format for Macintosh disks."

I have never changed that Default setting so I assume that's why my TM Get Info differs from grelber.

The Case Sensitive button has a caution "This may be incompatible with some software and requires Max (sic) OS X version 10.3 or later."


Edited by ryck (11/08/11 12:07 AM)
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#18984 - 11/08/11 12:48 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> [i][...] it may have been on the drive itself before Time Machine took it over and erased everything on it prior to reformatting./i]

I suspect that such is the case...as it has been with the two thumb drives I've bought.
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#18988 - 11/08/11 07:44 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
MacManiac Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
Quote:
...or it may have been on the drive itself before Time Machine took it over and erased everything on it prior to reformatting.


You named it....the support software was loaded onto the drive itself.....and you haven't missed a thing by not having seen it.
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#18990 - 11/08/11 08:06 AM 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
Indeed. From the Get Info window —
Format: Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled)
Just as you surmised, although Pogue (p 262) left the "Case-sensitive" bit out of his note on the automatic reformatting of the drive. Pogue's parting comment in that note is: "Thoughtful, really."

Okay, Interesting... thanks.

I wonder if Pogue mentions 'case-sensitive' anywhere in that book (in the index perhaps). Because some apps (e.g., creative suite) have been known to react unfavorably if the boot volume is formatted as such. But for a backup volume (and backup software), such sensitivity supposedly provides some benefit of sorts.

Just keep a mental note of this, because that external disk will act differently than the internal HD. E.g., on the external you can have a folder which contains these separate files inside: "my notes.txt", "My Notes.txt", "mY nOtEs.TxT", etc., because it treats them as being different items. Whereas the HD won't allow all three to exist simultaneously in the same folder, as it regards them all to be identical (as per traditional Mac OS behavior since day one).


Edited by Hal Itosis (11/08/11 08:19 AM)

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#18992 - 11/08/11 09:01 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: MacManiac]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
A small issue. I tried to select Verify Backups from the TM menulet, only to find it greyed out and therefore non-selectable. Keeping in mind that I haven't been backing up for a whole day as yet, is there something I can do to check on the backups?

Update:
Okey-dokey. Just checked/spoke with Apple support. Senior advisor advises that he has also experienced this problem and that it's shown up on a number of discussion boards. Engineering is to be consulted for potential problem resolution — which likely means that it may be addressed in a subsequent OS 10.7 update.
In the interim I suspect that it's nothing to be concerned about, namely that TM is properly doing its business.


Edited by grelber (11/08/11 11:33 AM)
Edit Reason: Update

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#18994 - 11/08/11 11:02 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: Hal Itosis]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
I wonder if Pogue mentions 'case-sensitive' anywhere in that book (in the index perhaps). Because some apps (e.g., creative suite) have been known to react unfavorably if the boot volume is formatted as such. But for a backup volume (and backup software), such sensitivity supposedly provides some benefit of sorts.

I haven't come across it elsewhere, and the index (as good as it is) doesn't have a separate entry for occurrences of 'case-sensitive'. As and when I come across a reference, I'll let you know.

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#19000 - 11/08/11 01:15 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
Update:
Okey-dokey. Just checked/spoke with Apple support. Senior advisor advises that he has also experienced this problem and that it's shown up on a number of discussion boards. Engineering is to be consulted for potential problem resolution — which likely means that it may be addressed in a subsequent OS 10.7 update.
In the interim I suspect that it's nothing to be concerned about, namely that TM is properly doing its business.

Excellent. Now i'll just pretend i missed that part.


Originally Posted By: grelber
I tried to select Verify Backups from the TM menulet, only to find it greyed out and therefore non-selectable.

FWIW, i see no such [Verify Backups] item in Snow Leopard's menu extra... so it must be new in Lion.


Originally Posted By: grelber
Keeping in mind that I haven't been backing up for a whole day as yet, is there something I can do to check on the backups?

As i'm yet unsure what exactly the new "Verify Backups" actually does, all i can say is that the backup disk (filesystem) can be checked with Disk Utility, as if it were an ordinary disk. But note that —once Time Machine has started to work its magic —the disk becomes somewhat special. Any utility used to repair (or 'verify') its content must be qualified via knowledge of hard links... and not just linked files, but Apple has also implemented hard-linked directory structures too.

As of version 4.1 (or was it 4.0?) DiskWarrior is also qualified. But earlier versions are not. Just mentioning all this in case you happen to mount that disk somewhere else, where one of your older Macs might see it. I'm not sure if OS 9 can even mount a "HFSXJ" volume... but i could just picture you running Norton Disk Doctor (or an ancient copy of TechTool perhaps) on your Time Machine backup disk. smile One word: don't. It would be a disaster.

Even using Disk Utility from Tiger would probably destroy a Time Machine backup [trying to untangle that maze of hard links.]


Edited by Hal Itosis (11/08/11 01:36 PM)

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#19001 - 11/08/11 02:43 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: Hal Itosis]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Hal Itosis
FWIW, i see no such [Verify Backups] item in Snow Leopard's menu extra... so it must be new in Lion.

I couldn't find it either so I want browsing in Help and came up with the following tidbit

Originally Posted By: Apple Help
Open the Time Machine menu in the menu bar, press the Option key on your keyboard, and then choose Verify Backups.

Don't do this when you are in a hurry wink
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#19002 - 11/08/11 03:46 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: joemikeb]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Yes, that's exactly what I meant, re menulet in TM's menu bar icon. That's where it's greyed out. Still awaiting further info from Apple.

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#19003 - 11/08/11 04:58 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: joemikeb]
Hal Itosis Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Loc: 10.6.8 (build 10K549)
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Open the Time Machine menu in the menu bar, press the Option key on your keyboard, and then choose Verify Backups.

Don't do this when you are in a hurry wink

Thanks joe, now i see it. Apple hides too much stuff behind the option key [...the most egregious being 'Convert to ACC...' in iTunes (which lets us convert something that isn't already inside its library).]


Hmm, I wonder if that does anything different than a 'verify disk' using Disk Utility would (other than making the mounting/unmounting of the backup volume a bit easier).


EDIT:

Decided to consult teh google. A quick results scan produced these top hits...
  • Why is “Verify Backups” in the Time Machine icon menu disabled?
    ^ that from August, as yet unresolved... which (in a sense) jives with grelber's Apple support experience.

    and...

  • 10.6: Verify Time Machine Backups
    which contains this comment:
    Originally Posted By: e_whizz
    5/02/11 4:00:26 PM com.apple.backupd[1507] Backup verification requested by user.
    5/02/11 4:00:26 PM com.apple.backupd[1507] Attempting to mount network destination using URL: afp://charlie@TimeCapsule.local/Data
    5/02/11 4:00:35 PM com.apple.backupd[1507] Mounted network destination using URL: afp://charlie@TimeCapsule.local/TimeCapsule
    5/02/11 4:00:35 PM com.apple.backupd[1507] Running backup verification
    5/02/11 4:00:36 PM com.apple.backupd[1507] QUICKCHECK ONLY; FILESYSTEM CLEAN
    5/02/11 4:06:29 PM com.apple.backupd[1507] Backup verification passed!
    5/02/11 4:06:30 PM com.apple.backupd[1507] Ejected Time Machine network volume.


Seems to be a basic filesystem check (a la Disk Utility).


Edited by Hal Itosis (11/08/11 05:19 PM)

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#19063 - 11/11/11 04:15 AM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
If you're still interested in altering the frequency of TM backups, I found a link to TimeMachineScheduler for Mac. I haven't used it myself so I can't say anything from personal experience.
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#19099 - 11/11/11 11:46 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: grelber]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Originally Posted By: grelber
A small issue. I tried to select Verify Backups from the TM menulet, only to find it greyed out and therefore non-selectable. Keeping in mind that I haven't been backing up for a whole day as yet, is there something I can do to check on the backups?
Update:
Okey-dokey. Just checked/spoke with Apple support. Senior advisor advises that he has also experienced this problem and that it's shown up on a number of discussion boards. Engineering is to be consulted for potential problem resolution — which likely means that it may be addressed in a subsequent OS 10.7 update.
In the interim I suspect that it's nothing to be concerned about, namely that TM is properly doing its business.

Okay, here's the 'final' skinny on the issue from the senior advisor who just got word from Apple's engineers:

It seems that this (not being able to verify) is normal behavior in Lion, unless backing up to a network drive. The "local" backups on Lion (which include USB external hard drives) verify automatically.

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#19205 - 11/16/11 12:33 PM Re: External hard drives for backups [Re: dkmarsh]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
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


That struck me as really weird, so I did some research and discovered why.

It's not the hard drive or enclosure; the drive works just fine with 32-bit or 64-bot OS X. It's the software on the drive.

The drive comes formatted NTFS (Windows format). It ships with Mac NTFS software that lets you use the drive without reformatting. By default, OS X can read, but not write, NTFS disks. The drive ships with a free OS X driver that lets you both read and write NTFS...but that software only works in OS X in 32-bit mode. Their NTFS driver isn't 64-bit clean.

If you plan to reformat the drive, or you plan to leave it NTFS but use someone else's NTFS software, you're fine. smile
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