All hard drives eventually fail. When that happens, it can be an inconvenience or a total disaster. It all depends on what you do now.
Playing it safe will cost about $120 and take 5 – 10 minutes of your time.
If you can use a credit card and press a few buttons you have all the skills needed to proceed.
Buy A Backup Drive
To determine what size drive you need, take a look at how much of your current Macintosh Hard Drive you are using.
- Go to the finder, select Macintosh HD in the sidebar, and press Command I.
- An information box pops up. Look in the General section at the size listed as Used. The number will be in GBs (Gigabytes.)
With a Used size of 250GB or less, you’ll need a 500GB backup drive, and with 250GB or more, you’ll need a 1TB (Terabyte) drive.
I recommend GDrives like this one on Amazon. On Amazon prices range from $100 – $200, depending on the drive size and connectivity options.
See Post Update – Getting A Backup Drive… Updated Recommendation.
Connectivity determines the speed of data transfer. All Western Digital drives come with USB 2.0 or backwards compatible USB 3.o and this is perfectly fine for a backup drive. If you’d like something a little faster, look for a WD drive with a Firewire 800 connector.
Once you click “Purchase,” you’re half-way there.
Setup Time Machine
Make sure your Mac is connected to a power source.
- Connect the Western Digital drive to your Mac with the USB Cable provided in the box.
- You will immediately be asked if you’d like to “Use This Drive To Backup With Time Machine.” Click “Decide Later.”
- Go to the Finder. Select the Western Digital drive in the sidebar. On the drive you’ll see Western Digital Software.
- Copy the WD Software files to your desktop. Do not attempt to install them now. The WD software includes speed and security utilities that you can choose to use at a later time.
- Go to System Preferences. Select Time Machine.
- Click Select Disk. Locate your Western Digital Drive. Click “Use As Backup Drive.”
- Time Machine will turn on and begin a countdown to making your first backup.
When Time Machine is turned on for the first time it backs up your entire computer. This can take a couple of hours. The Time Machine icon in the Menu Bar looks like a clock face inside a revolving circular arrow. When this arrow stops revolving, the backup is finished.
Time Machine makes incremental backups every hour. Leave it plugged in if you own a stationary iMac. If you’re on the move, try to plug it in at least once a day.
There’s only one rule – The more often you backup, the safer your data.
If you have questions about this post or need Mac, iPhone or iPad help call us at 310-621-5679.