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Time Machine: is it possible to leave some data on time machine, but remove it from my mac?

245 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2013 1:28 PM by SwankPeRFection RSS
zmarie91 Calculating status...
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Mar 22, 2013 12:08 PM

At the moment I have around 60gb of photos on my 250gb macbook pro, which I have been told is slowing it down. I would love to have it somewhere safe away from my mac but I'm scared to use an external hard drive because of many horror stories I've heard.


I'm currently in the process of backing up my photos online (snapfish), so when I do eventually man up and transfer them to a hard drive there will be a back up there, too.


I have a WD My Book 1tb hard drive for mac that I use with time machine. However I was wondering whether I could keep using it for time machine, but delete the photos off my mac and  keep them on the hard drive only, somehow?


If not, can anyone reccommend a relatively inexpensive external hard drive for mac (500gb-1tb) to store my photos? How do others back up important data, is it common to keep two hard drives?


Thanks in advance.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.5)
  • markwmsn Level 4 Level 4 (3,935 points)

    Time Machine is not an archive system. Anything you delete from your main drive will eventually be removed from the Time Machine volume when the last backup containing it is deleted. (The larger your TM disk is compared with your main drive, the longer it will take, but it will happen sooner or later.)


    Also, you will have only one copy (no backup) of those photos. If the TM drive dies, they are gone.


    I've used a number of different brands from time to time. They all have supporters and detractors, success stories and failures. There are really only a few companies making the actual disk mechanisms; the others put them together into packages with electronics and cases to make external drives.


    If the photos (or other data) are important to you, don't stint on protecting them. Some people advise at least two backups, with one offsite; more for more valuable or time-critical data.

  • Network 23 Level 6 Level 6 (11,500 points)

    markwmsn is right.Time Machine is only a rolling backup system, not an archive system. If you have data that should never be deleted, do not rely on Time Machine because old data will be purged eventually.


    I am not sure why you feel Time Machine is safer than a "scary" external hard drive, since the Time Machine backup is external hard drive.


    Here's what the professional photographers do, since their lives rely on not losing photos. At least two backups on external media, with at least one offsite. Having at least two exact copies of the photo archive is how photographers get around the very real fear of hard drive death. It means that you can survive the loss of both your original and one backup drive simultaneously, because there will still be one more backup out there. Because while hard drives do fail, there isn't any other type of backup media that's so easy and fast to update. So you use redundancy to mitigate any failures and then stop worrying about it.


    The other solution that is used is online storage through companies like Crashplan or Carbonite. They guarantee your data won't be deleted because they maintain redundant backups themselves.


    Of course you can combine hard drive and online cloud backups, and then your data can survive almost anything that doesn't take out civilization itself.

  • Eustace Mendis Level 7 Level 7 (24,565 points)

    A 1 TB external hard drive costs <$100 at places like Best Buy or Tiger Direct.


    I do not know what "horror stories" you have heard about external drives. If the concern is that it will fail, get two of them and use one for as an archive and the second as a duplicate archive.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    One option you have is to place another Folder on your TM backup disk called Manual Backup and put a copy of whatever you want in that.  The TM backup folder is called something else and you won't interfere with it if you do this.  I have a manual copy of my profile folder from the user's folder on mine that I take a full copy of from time to time.

  • markwmsn Level 4 Level 4 (3,935 points)

    If you do take SwankPeRFection's option, don't count that as a separate backup/archive from the TM backups; if the disk gets corrupted or damaged, you lose both of them.

  • SwankPeRFection Level 4 Level 4 (1,435 points)

    Well, true... as you're always at the mercy of the target media remaining more viable than your source media.


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