Nuclear Explosion

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.)

Used Hard Drive Space On A Mac

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.

Menu Bar With Time Machine

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.

John Carroll - No Problem Mac

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