8 Replies Latest reply: Sep 20, 2011 10:06 PM by Grant Bennet-Alder
MIKEinMICH Level 1 (0 points)

Hi, I've run up against a few  questions with differing opinions on the answers so I thought I'd ask here vs. OS X forums...


I have multiple Macs with various OS's all accessing a single Airport Extreme as the networking device and internet

source - using both the Ethernet and wireless connection.


I would like to put a 1TB hard drive on the USB port of the Extreme as a central Backup HD for all of the computers

that can read/write to it.  The particular one I have, a LaCie, indicates a minimum OS requirement of 10.5. 


I have several machines running 10.6/10.5.  Others are running 10.4, another is 10.3, and still two more are OS 9, and

OS 8.6 .


Putting aside the obvious question of why I have so many different OS's -- and yes I can migrate all but a couple to 10.5+...

is there any reason i should not be able to use this HD to serve as backup for all machines on the network regardless of

each one's respective OS version?


I haven't even formatted the HD yet  but beyond that the question is, is there any reason/need to partition the 1TB HD or

could this simply be a matter of dragging each computer's respective HD volume(s) onto the 1TB HD directly? 


If that is doable - would I then be able to use "Time Machine" on the OSX volumes...and, say.. Super Duper or CC Cloner

for the backup of the older (OS 8.6/9) OS machines' volumes?


I'm trying to avoid going to a fee-based backup service like "Carbonite" etc. and do this myself if there's a simple way to

accomplish the goal on my own...


Thanks a ton for any advice and help with this!



  • a brody Level 9 (65,758 points)

    Sorry for the delayed reply, but yes, it is extremely difficult to use a single drive for both Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 backup.  Primarily, it has to do with the fact that you have already started using Intel Mac operating systems such as 10.6.  That has changed the bootable format for the drive to be GUID.  It is possible though:




    Hope this helps.

  • OS94Ever Level 1 (5 points)

    Hi Mike,


    I have as many macs as you...lol


    I gave up on attempting to use one drive as my master backup system since mounting OS 9 volumes under OS X 10.5 and 10.6 will eventually write info to the volume that OS 9 cannot understand and create various Btree errors when running the OS 9 disk First Aid utility; also I have not found a utility that can defrag any volumes over 190GB under OS 9; so as a general rule of thumb... Use one backup system for all Macs 8.6 thru 9.2.2 and another for OS X Macs.  Also keep all OS 9 Volumes to 190GB or smaller and use Norton Speed disk to optimize (defrag). 


    - Jerry


  • MIKEinMICH Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Jerry, thanks for your reply!  Amazing how Macs can multiply...but having a home-based

    office and studio and being all Mac-based for 30 years i guess not surprising to accumulate

    so many; ) 


    I appreciate your advice...and if you don't mind me expanding on the initial question a bit...

    i am a little challenged about a strategy to do some consolidating of content from the various

    computers of different eras running various OS's. 


    I see your point re: one backup system for the OS 8 and 9 volumes... (Carbon Copy Cloner

    for example...?) In my current networked setup, Each of my home-office/studio machines is

    sharing internet access via an Airport Extreme with a D-Link switch/router expanding the

    capacity-  so they're all connected whether by Ethernet or Wi-Fi/Airport.  This gets into a

    networking question and I've always considered it more hassle than it's worth to try and get

    my OSX and OS 9 /OS 8 machines to be able to "see" and interact/exchange files with each

    other.  I've been wanting for a long time to merge/purge duplicate data on the various computers

    by offloading everything to a single hard drive and then using some kind of duplicate file find

    utility on that 'master' volume.


    Ultimately what I was hoping to do was to be able to put a single 1TB HD on the USB outlet of

    the Airport and drag/drop stuff from all the machines using that device as the "target" -- the only

    catch is that the volumes on the network that are pre-OSX don't seem to have the ability to see -

    read/write to that Airport-attached HD.   My oldest machine is a Beige G3 w. 8.6 - it is ethernet cabled

    to the Airport router and internet connectivity is fine...  but i haven't been able to get it to recognize

    that Airport HD. 


    Unless there's actually a way that i'm unaware of, the only route i've considered is to

    attach that to the external HD by way of FW or USB - i gave it PCI cards for that capability at

    some point but it's kinda flaky in even recognizing any external drive using that type of

    direct connection. For starters,  I wonder an old G3  would have issues if i'm using a current

    generation 1TB HD?  I know it has given me an unrecognized device message when i put a

    usb thumb drive on it....and for that matter same thing with my Quicksilver G4 with OS 9.


    Thanks again for any other thoughts you might have,



  • OS94Ever Level 1 (5 points)

    Dragging large amounts of data via ethernet will be way too time consuming.


    Get 1 or 2 (for redundancy) FW 400 drives for all Macs that run 9.2.2 and below.


    Get USB 2.0 or FW 800 for OSX units

  • a brody Level 9 (65,758 points)

    Unless of course you have a Mac with gigabit ethernet.  The only thing faster than gigabit ethernet is Thunderbolt or USB 3.  Macs don't have USB 3.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,684 points)

    I have one more Mac in the basement running Mac OS X Server. I use a school-like setup where ALL user files are on the Server. Any user can log in at any Mac, and individual Macs can get serviced, upgraded, or replaced whenever you like.


    They are connected with Gigabit Ethernet switches and cabling. The beige G3 has an Add-on PCI card so it has Gigabit Ethernet as well. The stand-alone Internet Router (provided by Verizon) is not Gigabit-Ethernet capable, but that does not make any difference, as it is not handling the local File Trasfers.


    I backup only the Server with Time Machine, and i'm done. The server uses a Mirrored RAID for the User files to increase time-to-repair after a drive failure.

  • OS94Ever Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks for the flashback Grant, I prefer your answer...


    I used to have a Novell 4.11 Server (in the basement also) with exact same setup, but it was hardware RAID 5 and had mac name space loaded on it; was pretty much the same idea, I used a tape backup to backup the server and thus backed up all 7 mac's by keeping all users data files on the server.  Aslo, the IPX client for mac was so fast as compared to appletalk

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 (56,684 points)

    Gigabit Ethernet gives you "near hard drive" speeds for most file accesses. You can also use a little scripting to put cache files back on the local Macs. I first did a school system (for a school) based on AppleShareIP and 100BaseT Ethernet. Later I moved ot Mac OS X Server 10.2, then up through the versions. Time Machine becomes available in 10.5. I am running 10.6 Server at home now.


    Gigabit Ethernet makes it pretty snappy for all but Video editing. And your Ethernet Router does not intervene in Mac-to-Mac transfers, so it can be much slower.