10 Replies Latest reply: Dec 27, 2007 9:03 PM by gogogut
gogogut Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Hello,
I just purchased a 500gb Maxtor external hard drive so I can start taking advantage of Time Machine on Leopard. I plan on partitioning it in two 250gb chunks, one for TM and the other for all of my music.
I was wondering if it would be best to make the second partition a FAT32 in order to move my music on/off of Windows PCs? I am guessing that HSF+ is not readable on Windows PCs. Is this accurate?
Also, if I am using the second partition for music, would it be better to exclude the itunes folder from Time Machine? I thought this might save me space on that partition and extend the life of Time Machine before things have to get deleted.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Ciao,
Rodrigo

MacBook, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 1. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)
    Rodrigo,

    Well, you could use MacDrive on a PC to read HFS+, but Windows will not read it natively. FAT-32 comes with its own problems and limitations, but if it is that important to you to move stuff back and forth, it might be worth having a volume in that format.

    I think a better idea would be to leave any volumes on the Time Machine drive as HFS+, and use some other, possibly smaller, drive to transfer stuff back and forth between OS X and Windows. How you handle this is really up to you.

    If the music you keep on the external drive is a backup, then it does makes sense to exclude the original from Time Machine to save space. I have my iTunes library on a secondary partition on my internal hard drive, so I let Time Machine make a backup of it. The important thing is that you have 2 copies of the entire library, so that it can be completely restored when necessary. Keep in mind that if you exclude it from Time Machine, it will be up to you to keep the backup up to date manually

    Scott
  • 2. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    gogogut Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks for the speedy response.
    I keep about 50gb of music on my laptop and have another 120gb on an external drive I am getting rid of. I am going to spend some time over the holidays making sure that all the music on my laptop is in my master music folder on the external. I don't acquire music all that often, but when I do, I am pretty good about making sure to put a copy in the master music folder. So I thought I would save some space on the TM partition by excluding music. Then the other partition would be storage of movies, archived data, and the master music folder.
    My girlfriend and most of my friends use Windows PCs so I want my music to be accessible by both platforms. So is FAT32 the best option for that second partition?
    And is an even split of 250gb/250gb a good idea?
    Thanks again,
    Rodrigo
  • 3. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)
    Rodrigo,

    Hmmm. Well, with only 50 GBs of music in your iTunes library, it might actually be worth it to allow TM to back it up. Not critical, but it would certainly make any potential restore from TM more streamlined. Let's hold that thought...

    Given your stated reasons for Windows compatibility, FAT-32 would, indeed, be the most logical format. However, I don't like the idea of having that volume on the same drive as your Time Machine backup. First, it is just not "elegant." Perhaps more importantly, though, is the fact that it makes better sense to leave the Time Machine drive alone as much as possible. This doesn't jibe with usage as a "portability" drive, either Mac-to-Mac or Mac-to-Windows. Finally, there are the problems associated with a FAT-32 volume (metadata loss, 4GB file limit, etc.). Provided you have no multimedia files that exceed 4GBs (can be a hurdle with multimedia!), there's no problem with storing "originals" on such a volume, but you might not want to have an actual iTunes library stored there.

    All this said, you are the one who will be using the drive, so it must be whatever makes you comfortable and happy.

    Why are you "getting rid of" the drive you have now? If I were in your shoes, I would be looking at making that one my Fat-32 drive. The 500GB drive could then be dedicated to 2 HFS+ volumes, allowing you to have Time Machine storage and "personal" storage in the native HFS+.

    In any case, I recommend 300GBs and 200GBs for the 2 volumes on the new external, regardless of the format of the second. Also, make sure that you use the first partition (at the top of the graphical representation n Disk Utility) for your Time Machine volume. If you do this, you can delete the second partition to expand the one Time Machine uses in the future.

    Scott
  • 4. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    gogogut Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks again for all your help. I find your comments very useful.
    I am giving my old hard drive to my girlfriend who needs storage for her dissertation video data. So I just bought a Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus 500GB for me.
    The old hard drive has worked perfectly for three years as 2 partitions of FAT32. I used it to back up Mac documents, pictures, and music through drag and drop and lately through SilverKeeper. I never had any problems connecting to either a Mac or PC to transfer music and did so often.
    So I thought I could just make the second partition on this new hard drive a FAT 32 and continue to use it that way just for music and maybe movies if I ever get any. I will keep the music folder on my laptop as max 50gb and just make sure it is all included in the 120gb master music folder on the FAT 32 partition. That way, at least those 50gb are safe even if the hard drive fails.
    I would leave a 300gb initial partition on the new hard drive for TM to do its thing with everything on my computer except music.
    About your comments:
    "it would certainly make any potential restore from TM more streamlined"
    - How does backing up my music do this? I just added the 50gb of music on this new laptop from my hard drive in no time at all and it works flawlessly. How does including the music folder in TM "streamline"?
    "This doesn't jibe with usage as a "portability" drive, either Mac-to-Mac or Mac-to-Windows. Finally, there are the problems associated with a FAT-32 volume (metadata loss, 4GB file limit, etc.). Provided you have no multimedia files that exceed 4GBs (can be a hurdle with multimedia!), there's no problem with storing "originals" on such a volume, but you might not want to have an actual iTunes library stored there."
    -I don't plan to use the new drive for much. I use my laptop everyday and only connect the hard drive to it about once a week. With TM, I would plan to do that more often but it isn't like I would have my laptop constantly plugged into the hard drive. The drive just sits around a lot and doesn't get "hard" use. And only newly-acquired music ould need to be added to the master music folder on the FAT32 partition. I only have music so no huge (+4gb) files. Not to say technology won't change and I start doing something with movies. Just can't imagine it though. I have always just copied the itunes folder so I have all the "originals", no "library".

    I think I have answered your questions and posed some new ones. I welcome any thoughts or advice. I am leaning towards doing a 300gb HFS+ partition for TM and a 200gb FAT 32 for storing and swapping music with other computers. But if you tell me that there are possible tech problems, I would reconsider.
    Thanks for all your help.
    Ciao,
    Rodrigo
  • 5. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)
    Rodrigo,

    If you've been using FAT-32 to transfer Mac-to-PC, and you're comfortable with it and its limitations, then there's no reason not to create a volume on your external (new one). Again, make sure it's the second partition on the drive, so that you can later delete it to expand the Time Machine volume (if needed).

    We can boot to the Leopard install disk, and choose to "Restore" from a Time Machine backup. This erases the target drive, then uses the Time Machine backup as an image for restoration of a complete installation. While the Time Machine backup is not "bootable," it can be used to restore a bootable image on your internal hard drive. I say "streamlined," because including your iTunes library in this "image" would mean that you wouldn't need to re-import your music, then rebuild your playlists, etc. after a restore.

    Good luck, and enjoy Time Machine.

    Scott
  • 6. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    Sandy D Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi, I've been reading your posts and they're very helpful.

    Is FAT32 the only way to make the hard drive transferable/writeable between Mac and PC? What about NTFS, would that work? I am also new to all this.
  • 7. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)
    Hi Sandy,

    NTFS can be read by OS X, but not written to. In other words, you can use an NTFS volume to transfer stuff to your Mac, but not from it to a PC. If this "single-direction" functionality meets your needs, then it might be the best solution (NTFS is a more mature file system than FAT-32, more compatible with modern files).

    MacDrive (search for it on versiontracker.com) is software that will run on your PC, allowing it to access, read, and write to an HFS+ volume. This is, perhaps, the most powerful solution, since it facilitates the use of HFS+ for bi-directional data transfers.

    Scott
  • 8. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    Kerry Jackson Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hello,

    I just purchased the same product and I'm a little lost. How did you create two partitions on the external drive and even the internal drive?

    Also, for some reason I am missing about about 35 gig in total capacity. The original capacity is 500 g, but I only get 465 g. Not sure why?

    My goal is to put my music on a separate drive (or partition if you can explain how to) and remove as many large files from my MacBook Pro as possible.

    Also, do I even need the software that came with the Maxtor. I would think not, because time machine does it all and better (i think)

    I have to Maxtors and would like to utilized them both smartly. The answer in this thread seem to advise on how to use them wisely but the lingo is above my knowledge. PLEASE HELP. ANYONE
  • 9. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    Scott Radloff Level 6 Level 6 (14,490 points)
    Kerry,

    We should be able to get you squared away, and very easily...

    Everything you need is right there in Disk Utility. And, I think your desire to keep your iTunes on a separate partition is pretty smart (that's just what I do myself). That said, there's less reason to do so when using Time Machine, but I like the idea anyway.

    First, let's handle the Maxtor external drive. 465 GBs, formatted, is about right for a 500 GB drive. Drive manufacturers measure drive capacity using the convention that 1000 KBs = 1 MB, while formatted capacities are measured using 1024 KBs = 1 MB. Suffice it to say that all you'll get from a 500 GB drive is... about 465 GBs.

    Evidently, you have already formatted the drive, but we're going to end up doing it again when we partition it. Connect the drive to your Mac, then open Disk Utility. In Disk Utility's "source list" at the left side of the window, select your drive (not the named "volume" that will appear indented underneath), then select the "Partition" pane in the body of the window. Use the pull-down to select a "partition scheme" (2 volumes?), then click the "Options..." button. Make sure that "GUID Partition Scheme" is enabled, then click "OK."

    Now you can size and name your partitions. If you will be using this drive with Time Machine, you probably want to make the partition you will use with TM as large as possible, and it should be the first partition on the drive (at the top of the graphical representation). This will allow you, at a later time, to remove the second partition in order to increase the size of the first (TM) partition.

    When you like the relative sizes of your partitions (make sure you give them appropriate names), click the "Apply..." button. Voila! Your drive has been partitioned.

    Now, let's talk about your internal drive. Right now, you only have a single partition (also called a "volume") on that drive. You want two (right??). In the past, we had to format (erase) a drive in order to achieve this, but in Leopard we can dynamically re-size "live" volumes, and add new ones to a drive (Yeah!!!).

    Again, in Disk Utility, select your internal hard drive (the drive, not the indented "volume"), and select the "Partition" pane. You will see one large volume in the graphical representation, and at the bottom right of the visible "volume," you should see a "grab" icon. Click on this little graphic, and drag it up, making the volume smaller. You must do the math as you re-size it, subtracting how much you would like to allocate to your new volume. When you think you've given yourself enough free space, click the "+" button below to add a new volume in the free space you've created. Give it a name, then click "Apply."

    Normally, I would strongly recommend making a good backup prior to performing this "surgery." However, there are a couple of additional issues you must consider. The final goal, for you (I think), is to have your iTunes Library stored on the secondary internal volume, and then to have everything backed up properly by Time Machine. If you already have a load of important data that you need to protect, I think the best course of action will be to use Time Machine to make a complete backup, but to your second Maxtor external drive. This backup will merely be a temporary one, since you will not yet have your Mac set up the way you ultimately want it set up.

    Having made that one good (complete) backup, you can begin re-sizing and partitioning your internal with peace of mind. Once it is set up the way you desire, and you have moved your iTunes Library to that secondary internal, you can change your Time Machine backup disk to the first (partitioned) Maxtor. Additionally, your new backup should include that new volume from your internal drive (the one that will now hold your iTunes library).

    If you follow everything that I have listed above, I think that your TM drive would be best containing all HFS+ volumes. Of course, another way to go about all this would be to use one Maxtor, with only one volume, for Time Machine, then partition the other Maxtor for "file transportation." In this case, you could create any kind of volumes you desire on that second Maxtor, like FAT-32 volumes for transfer to and from Windows computers.

    Scott
  • 10. Re: Partition external drive for TM and other
    gogogut Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    WOW! Scott has done an amazing job of explaining the ins and outs of this process. Just as an update, I ended up partitioning my new 500GB external HD with 300GB for Time Machine and 200GB as FAT32 for music.
    Time Machine works perfectly for the first partition as I have excluded my itunes folder.
    The second partition holds all 120GB of my music while only 50GB remains on my MacBook. I just need to remember to add any new music to my external HD when I get it. Every time I do so, I change the folder name to include the date so all I have to so in iTunes is look at Date Added to see what needs to be updated.
    As I said, everything is working great. The Maxtor is fast and quiet. I am using Firewire and have no complaints.
    Time for me to go read about iWeb as I work on publishing a webpage.
    Thanks for all your help.
    Ciao,
    Rodrigo