Back up Macbook

  gav223 10:43 30 May 2011


I would like to backup my Macbook and have come across an issue.

I have a 1000GB external hard drive with 450GB used.

After opening Time Machine it states the following: reformat required (incompatible filesystem).

I definitely do not want to reformat it and lose all the things I have on there.

What is the best solution for me.


  bremner 10:55 30 May 2011

It sounds as if you have the drive formatted as FAT and Time Machine must be backed up to a drive formatted as HFS+

You have two options.

Buy a new drive for the back up.


Use third party software to re partition the existing drive - like gparted Click Here. You must be very careful using such tools that you do not do something wrong with the result you loose your data.

Data should always be on at least two independent storage mediums. If that is not currently the case then getting a new hard drive may be the best solution.

  gav223 11:12 30 May 2011

Hi bremner.

I do have another hard drive, but it's only a 160GB. Would this be sufficient.

I could transfer what I have on that one to the 1000GB.


  bremner 11:53 30 May 2011

What size is the Hard Drive in the MacBook and how much is in use?

  gav223 12:03 30 May 2011

The hard drive is 250GB and I've only used 48GB.

I have almost all Data on the 1000GB drive.

I know it may seem common sense that this will be OK, but i've never done this before and after reading a tutorial it states to use a hard drive at least 250GB. Don't know why.


  bremner 12:19 30 May 2011

With Time Machine if you are a light user - which means you do not use a great deal of your drive space - then a drive the same size as your hard drive should be used. For a medium to high user then 1.5 to 2 x the hard drive size should be used.

This is because Time Machine does an incremental backup.

In your postion I would buy a 1TB drive and partition it 32GB HFS+ for Time Machine and 650GB ExFat to back up the data on your existing external drive.

  gav223 12:25 30 May 2011

I have just moved the Data from the 160GB drive to the 1000GB drive and the formatted it to Mac OS Extended (it didn't give me a HFS+ option.

After the format was completed Time Machine asked me if I wanted to use this drive to backup.

I agreed and it is now in the process of backing up.

It shows that it is only going to be using 44.21GB, so I have plenty of space.

I would say that there will never be more than about 50GB ever on the laptop as every now and again I transfer any Data to the 1000GB drive.

Is this going to be OK.

  bremner 12:41 30 May 2011

It will be ok but you will find it fills quickly. You need to keep an eye on it and upgrade if necessary.

You still should address the lack of any backup for all your data on the external drive.

  gav223 13:17 30 May 2011

When you say it will fill quickly, how does that work.

Does it just keep adding to it. If I only ever have around 50GB on the laptop can't I just backup once a month and overwrite what is on there already instead of adding to it.

Also can you explain a bit more about "You still should address the lack of any backup for all your data on the external drive".

Should I be backing up all Data on my 1000GB drive.


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