7 Replies Latest reply: Sep 1, 2010 10:46 AM by farazthambi
farazthambi Level 1 (0 points)
I have a MBP running on 10.6.4. I am totally new to this so any help is appreciated.

I would like to back up files etc to an external drive, which I used during my windows days - its (NTFS-3G) format. My external drive already has a lot of data so I cant format it. I would like to know if its possible to partition the hardive so the half is NTFS for windows and the other for the required mac version and how.

And how can I backup my HD (cause I want to reinstall the os) so I can have all my data back. Can I do it with Carbon Copy Cloner since time machine is not able to read my external HD


Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • eww Level 9 (52,975 points)
    You can't start a Mac up from any drive that has an NTFS format, so cloning to your NTFS drive would be pointless. If you can't reformat that drive, you can't repartition it. Get another one to use for your Mac backup, and use the NTFS drive for extra data storage or selective manual backups of specific data.
  • Neville Mayfield Level 4 (1,305 points)
    To do this you will need to store your old files somewhere else temporarily, eg on a friend's Windows drive. Then reformat the drive according to Apple's rules for a startup drive but create at the same time 2 partitions, more if you want. The Windows file partition should be FAT32 for windows & Mac capability. Copy back all your old files to this partition. This can't be used to startup in Windows yet. Use the Apple partition for a cloned copy of your Mac HD if you want. This will be able to be used as an Apple OS startup if you want.

  • farazthambi Level 1 (0 points)
    by start up drive you mean?

    So I format the drive into two partitions one FAT32 format for windows and other for mac, then use disk utility or Carbon Copy cloner to copy my hard disk.

    is that right, which is better time machine or carbon copy.

    And the partitioning and formatting can be done in disk utility?
  • Neville Mayfield Level 4 (1,305 points)
    If you want to be able to use the external drive to start your computer, ie the Mac partition you create, you must use the GUID partition scheme and the standard Apple drive format. A partition you want just as backup storage for your Mac need not be bootable. The second partition can be formatted to be compatible with windows files, FAT32 - so that the files can be read/written by either the Mac or a Windows computer.

    A partition ("drive") that you want to use now & then as an alternative startup, eg use a clone for startup, must be formatted to be bootable. A Time Machine backup is not bootable whereas a Carbon Copy clone can be as also can a SuperDuper. TM retains incremental backups for as long as there is space whereas CCC basically just maintains a current copy of your drive, not any older versions of files.

    I have a bootable backup (SuperDuper), a TM backup (not bootable) and a Windows backup (not bootable) on my external drive, ie 3 partitions. The 1st & 2nd partitions are Mac OS Extended (Journaled), the 3rd is MS-DOS (FAT). This was all done with Disk Utility. Note that if you subsequently want to change the size of partitions you can lose the data on the FAT 32 partition though there should be no problem if it is just moving the slider between the 2 Mac partitions. So choose the sizes wisely!

    Once the drive is formatted you can copy your Windows data back to the FAT32 partition and direct CCC &/or TM to the other partition(s). The drive is attachable to either a Mac or Windows computer.

  • farazthambi Level 1 (0 points)
    I am starting to get a hang now. Just a few more questions so I get it clear.

    So after partitioning and formatting the HD into two drives, Say I use SuperDuper to copy my Mac HD to my external drive (how will I set it to be bootable and GUID) and use the FAT32 to copy the data from my friends laptop (since I would have moved my external drive data to the other laptop)

    I have a 600GB external drive, so I will partition it 300/300

    I found this article on backing up, is that how I back up on disk utility.


    Thank you soo much

    Message was edited by: farazthambi

    Message was edited by: farazthambi
  • Neville Mayfield Level 4 (1,305 points)
    When partitioning the external you will select the external by its maker ID. On mine it's 1TB WD. My corresponding computer drive is 250.06 GB ...(serial number I think). This is the leftmost name for the external.

    Click once on this. In the RH window of DU select 'Partition' at top. For Volume scheme select 2 partitions. Under the boxes showing the partitions click Options and choose GUID partition scheme. Then click on the 1st partition and give it a name. This is the drive name that will show on the desktop. Select Format and choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Repeat for the 2nd except choose MS-DOS (FAT) for the format. Then click the Partition button at the bottom.

    When this has finished click once on each partition to verify that your choices have been applied and quit DU.

    I think if you use the DU method for backup described in the article you will just have a disk image, .dmg, on your external which can't itself be used as a startup directly whereas if you use CCC directed to this partition it will look just the same as your internal drive with the same login details, passwords, screensaver, Mail details, etc., and you ought to be able to start the computer from this. With DU's disk image you would need to 'install' it on a drive first. I'm not too sure about this as I didn't read the reference to restoring from the article.

  • farazthambi Level 1 (0 points)

    I have done the partition and done in the format.

    When I try to move my old external drive files to the Windows drive which is in FAT32 format it shows an unexpected error (error code 0) cannot copy.

    Now I am confused, I am reinstalling my OS since its slow so I dont want to get back all the old settings back. If I do a time machine backup I can just copy back all the files I want right - which makes sense