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How Do I Back Up My Mac To an External Drive Using Time Machine?

How do I back up my Mac to an external drive using time machine when I already have files on my external drive. I ask this because I am currently using a PC and manually backing up to my external hard drive. However, when I do make the switch to a Mac, I would like to still use the current hard drive I have. So is it possible that I can safety set up Time Machine with a Hard Drive that already has a lot of files on it? Or do I have to reset the drive and start fresh.

Thank you.

Comments: 3 Responses to “How Do I Back Up My Mac To an External Drive Using Time Machine?”

    2 years ago

    You should get a new external drive and use that solely for your backup. Drives are cheap today and you shouldn't use your backup drive for anything else, just the backup.

    Time Machine works best when it has total control over the drive space. If you store other things on it, then it won't always know how much space may be available (as you add and remove things on your own) and this will lead to problems as it tries to manage space on the drive as it fills up. Even if you partition the drive, there is still the problem that then any data on the drive would be backed up to the SAME drive. So in the case of a drive failure, both your original and backup would be gone.

    Get a new drive specifically for backups, make it 2x the size of your Mac's drive plus other data on external drives. But don't stop at 2x if you can afford it. I use a 12TB drive (Like $220) to backup my 1TB internal and 2TB external drive.

    Ravi T
    1 year ago

    I cannot open and view photos library photos that were backed up to External Hard Drive using time machine. Original photos in the computer internal SSD are okay but I can't view the same photos from the western digital external hard drive using time machine. I do have a provision of iCloud 50GB backup also. Do I need a separate external hard drive for photos only? Please help! Ravi T,

    1 year ago

    Ravi: How are you trying to open the photos in the backup? You would need to restore the library to do that.

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