Finally, you can click the Options button on the Time Machine screen and exclude any files or folders that you do not want to backup. Depending on how much data you have, the backup will takes its time to complete. So be prepared to wait. Luckily, you can carry as using your computer as normal while the backup is taking place in the background. Founder of Switching to Mac and managing editor.
He began blogging in and quit his job in to blog full-time.
How to back up your Mac
He has over 15 years of industry experience in IT and holds several technical certifications. To start, go to System Preferences and select Time Machine. GeekTool — A Rainmeter Alternative. Now you have a good idea of the minimum size of your Time Machine backup. You can go larger, which will allow for more Time Machine backups to be kept. You can also go a bit smaller, though no less than 2x the used space on the startup drive.
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- Back Up Your Mac With Time Machine and SuperDuper!
Now that you know the preferred minimum size for the external hard drive, you're ready to set up Time Machine. Start by making sure the external drive is available for your Mac. Be sure to follow any instructions provided by the manufacturer. Most external hard drives come formatted for use with Windows. If that's the case with yours, you'll need to format it using Apple's Disk Utility. Once configured, Time Machine will pretty much take care of itself. When your external drive gets filled up with backups, Time Machine will start overwriting the oldest backups to ensure there is space for the current data.
With the 'twice the Users data' minimum size we suggested, Time Machine should be able to keep:. Time Machine is a great backup solution, one I highly recommend, but it isn't the end-all for backups. There are a few things it's not designed to do that I want in my backup strategy. The most important of these is to have a bootable copy of my startup drive. Having a bootable copy of your startup drive takes care of two important needs. First, by being able to boot from another hard drive, you can perform routine maintenance on your normal startup drive.
This includes verifying and repairing minor disk issues, something I do routinely to ensure a startup drive that works well and is dependable. The other reason to have a clone of your startup drive is for emergencies. From personal experience, I know that our good buddy Murphy loves to throw disasters at us when we least expect them and can least afford them.
Should you find yourself in a situation where time is of the essence, perhaps a deadline to meet, you may not be in a position to take the time to buy a new hard drive, install OS X or macOS, and restore your Time Machine backup. You'll still have to do these things to get your Mac working, but you can postpone that process while you finish up whatever important tasks you need to finish by booting from your cloned startup drive. A copy of SuperDuper. I mentioned on Page one that you can also use your favorite cloning app, including Carbon Copy Cloner.
If you're using another app, consider this more of a guide than step-by-step instructions. An external hard drive that's at least as large as your current startup drive; and earlier Mac Pro users can use an internal hard drive , but for the most versatility and safety, an external is a better choice. SuperDuper has many attractive and useful features. The one we're interested in is its ability to make a clone or exact copy of a startup drive.
SuperDuper calls this Backup - all files. We'll also use the option to erase the destination drive before the backup is performed. We do this for the simple reason that the process is faster. If we erase the destination drive, SuperDuper can use a block copy function that is faster than copying data file by file.
How often to create clones depends on your work style and how much time you can afford for a clone to be out of date. I create a clone once a week. For others, every day, every two weeks, or once a month may be sufficient. SuperDuper has a scheduling feature that can automate the cloning process so you don't need to remember to do it. My personal backup process has a few holes, places where backup professionals would say I could be in danger of not having a viable backup when I need it.
But this guide isn't intended to be the perfect backup process.
Use a Single External Hard Drive for Time Machine Backups and File Storage
In the most likely type of Mac failures, they'll have a viable backup available to them. This guide is only a beginning, one that Macs readers can use as a starting point to develop their own personal backup process. Share Pin Email. Tom Nelson has written hundreds of articles, tutorials, and reviews for Other World Computing and About. He is the president of Coyote Moon, Inc. Updated August 13, A Mac — Seems obvious, but it's a good place to start. A storage device — I recommend an external hard drive , but you can also use other solutions, such as a NAS Network Attached Storage box, or if you're a Mac Pro user, an internal hard drive.
An external hard drive is still the preferred method, though. I also think old-fashioned rotational storage devices are still the preferred media for backups. I like using two different backup applications because they fulfill several purposes. They cover the need to restore individual files or previous versions of files Apple's Time Machine , restore a complete copy of my hard drive if something catastrophic occurs Time Machine and SuperDuper , or have a working backup that can be put in place as fast as rebooting my Mac SuperDuper.
There's another bonus of having two different backups: You've got something to fall back on if Murphy pops up when you go to restore your data. Where to Store Time Machine Backups. Time Machine Backup Size. My reasoning goes like this:. Let's take my Mac as an example, and see what a minimum Time Machine drive size would be.
What does Time Machine Backup?
Size of Used Space on the Startup Drive. Open a Finder window. Find your startup drive in the list of Devices in the Finder sidebar. Right-click the startup drive, and select Get Info from the pop-up menu. Make a note of the Used value in the General section of the Get Info window. Size of Secondary Drives. Size of User Space. To find the size of your User data space, open a Finder window. Right-click the Users folder , and select Get Info from the pop-up menu.
The Get Info window will open.