Backing Up to Your External Hard Drive

Save yourself some grief; De Prez Allen Laudenslager will walk us through getting ready to back up to an external hard drive.  This is a must!
He introduces the subject, "Because of the complexity I will be doing it in two installments. This is the first and is mostly about how to format the drive when you first get it home so it will work with your Mac."

"Many of you will remember my hard drive failure way back in May of 2009. I was relying on my Mobile Me account with Apple to keep my back ups. Imagine my surprise when the backups clear back to February of that year were corrupt!

"I can’t begin to tell you how much stuff I lost because Mobile Me didn’t have any way to tell me that the backups were corrupted. I’ve been putting off buying an external hard drive and backing up to several DVDs once or twice a month for the last 2 months.

"I just got a new external drive as a birthday present and now I’ll be backing up using Super Duper AND time machine. This will automate the process and provide a lot more security.

"So, now I’ve convinced you to buy that backup drive for between $60 and $150 there is one important thing you need to do as soon as you get it home.

"Format the drive.

"Almost any drive you buy will be formatted for Windows and that is incompatible with OS X. Just connect the drive, go to Finder Applications and scroll down to Utilities. Once you open Utilities, look for and open Disk Utilities. The process is the same in Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard.

"In the top left hand column, you’ll see the computer’s internal drive listed first, followed by your brand new external drive. Highlight the external drive and the right hand column will give you the options to format the drive to work with your Mac. Select partition and then rename the drive.

"Why rename? To make it obvious which drive you are selecting a few weeks from now when you’ve forgotten the details of the process. There is, also, always the chance that you will have so much stuff that you will be connecting more than one external drive. Seem unlikely? I remember my first hard drive, 20 megabytes. Yes, that’s right, meg, not gig. If you have lots of photos, you may very well need several drives depending on the sizes you buy.

"I recommend setting the drive up as one big partition and then creating folders if you need to organize further. Next, select Mac format, extended journal. Then click apply. The process will take several minutes but once done, the external drive will show up in finder and you can transfer files just like any folder on your computer.

"In the next installment, I’ll explain why I am using both Super Duper and Time Machine to back up my files and how to set up to use either or both."