4 Replies Latest reply: Sep 7, 2008 12:06 PM by erwincoumans
acywong Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have a WD external hard drive which I have used to back up files from a PC. Now I am switching to an iMac, and intend to use the same WD external hard drive to back up my iMac files using Time Machine. The WD drive comes with some original files related to the drive, but Time Machine requires me to reformat my WD drive.

1. Does that mean I have to move the orginal files from the WD drive, reformat the drive, and then copy back the original WD files if I want to keep these original files?

2. What format should I use for the WD drive (Mac OS or NTFS), as I wish to back up Mac OS files as well as Windows XP files (I intend to set up boot camp)?

3. How does Time Machine work? Does it only runs when I boot up as Mac OS, or will it also run when I boot up as Windows XP?

4. When Time Machine backs up data, does it back up the whole iMac, both the Mac OS partition and the Windows XP partition? Does it back up the Mac OS partion to a Mac OS partion on the WD drive, and the Windows XP partition to a Windows XP partion on the WD drive, with their respective file formats (Mac OS and NTFS)

iMac, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (257,850 points)
    1. Yes, if you want to save those files. Repartitioning and reformatting the drive will destroy any data currently on the drive. Do this before setting the drive up as a TM backup drive since TM will erase the drive automatically if it's not correctly partitioned and formatted.

    2. The drive must be partitioned using the GUID partition map and formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) You will not be able to use the drive on a Windows computer unless you have third-party software on the PC such as MacDrive from MediaFour. Plan to use a separate drive for your Windows backup or use Winclone - VersionTracker or MacUpdate.

    3. TM is automatic. You can learn all about it here. Of course it can only work if the computer is turned on. It does not work with Windows.

    4. TM only backs up Mac formatted drives or partitions.
  • acywong Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Does that mean:

    1. I cannot back up the boot camp partition using Time Machine, as it will be NTFS format.

    2. I will have to partition my WD drive into a Mac OS partition and a NTFS partition, using what software? I think Time Machine will reformat my whole WD drive.

    3. I will have to back up my boot camp partition separately using a Windows back up program
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (257,850 points)
    1. Yes, I thought I made that pretty clear. TM does not work with Windows drives or Windows.

    2. No, that won't work because OS X cannot make an NTFS partition and Windows cannot make a GUID partition. The drive will have to be used exclusively for TM or you can create a FAT32 partition for Windows. Partitioning and formatting is done using the OS X utility Disk Utility.

    3. Yes. Or you can use Winclone which is an OS X backup utility that makes a compressed backup archive of a Windows drive. However, the backup can only be restored to the same drive on the same Mac (it isn't portable.)
  • erwincoumans Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Just for the record, there is affordable commercial software that lets OSX read/write NTFS partitions, search for Paragon NTFS for Mac. See http://www.paragon-software.com/home/ntfs-mac/

    Also, there exists software that lets Windows create/read/write Mac formatted disks, called MacDrive from Mediafour. See http://www.mediafour.com/

    Hope this helps,
    Erwin