Formatting hard drive for mac time machine

Formatting a drive for Time Machine in to Setting up the A window opens showing External Storage Drives connected to your Mac. Select a drive.
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How to Back Up Your Mac | Digital Trends

Just leave this folder alone and let Time Machine use it normally. Place personal files and folders outside the Backups. Time Machine will also work toward filling up the entire drive, not leaving extra room for your files. The ideal way to do this is to create separate partitions on the external drive.

Use one for Time Machine backups and another for your personal files.

How to format a drive on a Mac

You can also make the files partition an ExFAT partition , which means you can use it with Windows PCs and practically any other device you can connect an external drive to. Open the Partition tool for the drive, then delete any partitions that exist. Warning: This process will wipe all the files on the drive!

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If you resized an existing Time Machine partition, Time Machine should automatically keep using it for backups. Important note: If you have useful files stored on the external drive, be sure to copy or transfer them to another safe place prior to formatting. The operation will erase all data and your files will be gone for good. You could use a recovery program like Data Rescue to retrieve them, but the odds of recovery vary.


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I highly recommend you also create multiple partitions. When I opened it, the default content was all there. It showed this format:. What is NTFS? Note: The tutorial and screenshots below are based on macOS Sierra They might be different if your Mac has a different version.

Make sure your drive is connected.

Select the one shown below. Learn more about the differences between these file systems from this thread. You can also check to see if the format was successful. Now your external drive has been formatted to be fully compatible with Apple MacOS, and you can edit, read, and write files to it as you want. Open the Disk Utility app and highlight your external hard drive. If you select the one below it, the Partition option will be greyed out and become unclickable.

About file system formats

Located on the left is a big blue circle with the name of your external drive together with its volume size. Then allocate the desired volume to each partition. Or it might be that you bought a drive to use with your Mac only to discovered it is pre-formatted for Windows.

Read our roundup of the best storage devices available now: Best storage options for Mac. Before we begin there are a few things you need to know, including the most important decision of all, which format to use.

Use a Single External Hard Drive for Time Machine Backups and File Storage

We also have a tutorial on using Disk Utility on a Mac here. Other reasons you might want to use Disk Utility include making a bootable macOS install drive covered here and if you are doing a clean install of macOS.

How to Format An External Hard Drive for Mac

There are a few file formats that you can use but the one that's right for your circumstances depends very much on what you are going to be using the drive for. We'll describe them below, and you'll be able to choose the one that suits you. There are a number of things that are good about it - such as it being more efficient and more reliable. You can choose an encrypted version and a case-sensitive version.