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How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files

When you set up Time Machine, your Mac wants to use the entire external drive exclusively for backups. Here’s how to get around that and use a Time Machine external hard drive for backups and file storage.

Using only a 2TB external hard drive for Time Machine backups knowing that your Mac has a 128GB SSD makes no sense. It is best to make optimum use of the external hard drive by using it to store video files and other data that you may need.

Now that nearly every Mac is shipped with fast SSD, many of us have learned to live with the smaller storage capabilities of computers. At the same time, external hard drives are cheaper than ever. This means it’s easy to get an external hard drive large enough to store both Time Machine backups and for external file storage.

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

If you plan to use your external hard drive for both of these purposes, there are two points you need to know first. We’ve explained everything below, including how to store files on a Time Machine external hard drive without even partitioning it first.

How Time Machine Works

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

You can use Time Machine built into your Mac to automatically back up all your files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files. When you have a backup, you can restore files from that backup if the original files were deleted from your Mac or your Mac’s hard disk (or SSD) was erased or replaced with other files.

Time Machine works by creating historical backups of your Mac. This means that it keeps old copies of files even after you have edited or deleted them, until a time when you need more storage space for newer backups as older backups are deleted when the backup disk is full. Time Machine automatically backs up every hour for the last 24 hours, for a daily backup for the last month, and for a weekly backup for all of the past months.

In contrast, the alternative to historical backups is to replace previous files each time you back up your Mac. This way, you will have no way to recover a deleted file if you have already made a new backup. This is clearly not particularly useful.

The downside to historical Time Machine backups is that older files stay on your hard drive until you run out of storage. You may not bother keeping backups of files you deleted years ago, in which case there are better uses for an external hard drive.

Be careful when storing files on a Time Machine backup disk

The more you use a mechanical element, the more likely it is to fail. An external hard drive is no exception; It has moving parts that read and write data, which can wear out over time.

If you choose to use your Time Machine backup disk as external storage, you may shorten its life by doing so. This is because the hard disk will perform many reading and writing actions while saving, modifying and deleting additional files.

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

It’s also worth noting that Time Machine does not back up any additional files you keep on your external hard drive. Even if this happens, you will lose the original and backup files at the same time if the hard drive stops working.

We strongly suggest that you keep several backups in different places for any important data.

Store files on a Time Machine backup disk without partition

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

Technically, there is no need to partition your hard drive if you want to use it for external storage as well as for Time Machine backups. All you have to do is start copying files and folders to the drive using Finder.

If your Time Machine backups are encrypted, you may need to authenticate changes to the hard drive with an administrator password.

Just make sure not to edit or save anything in a folder Backups.Backupdb. This is where Time Machine stores all of your backups.

Because your external hard drive is running out of storage space, Time Machine deletes older files from a folder Backups.Backupdb To save space for new files. If your files are in this folder, Time Machine may delete them as well.

You may want to create a new folder called Files To clearly separate your files from your Time Machine backups.

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

Pros and Cons of Avoiding Segmentation

The above method is the fastest and easiest way to save files to external Time Machine backup disk. Unlike using partitioning, which we’ll explain below, you can start saving files to your hard drive without first erasing all your Time Machine backups.

But the lack of a separate partition also means that Time Machine backups will continue to grow in size until they take up all the available space on your external hard drive. Although Time Machine won’t delete your personal files when this happens, it may take up more space than you’d like.

This is why partitioning is the most practical long-term solution. You can allocate a specific amount of space for your Time Machine backups and file storage so that neither of them takes up more storage than is available.

Create a partition to store files on a Time Machine backup disk

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

After partitioning the hard drive, your Mac sees each partition as a separate hard drive. They each have a unique name, different storage space, and can use different formats. You also need to eject each partition individually before you can safely unplug the hard drive.

Unfortunately, creating a new partition often erases data on the external hard drive. This means that you may lose any existing Time Machine backups. You can back up to Time Machine after partitioning the hard drive, but your backup history will restart from that point on.

When partitioning a hard drive, you can choose how much space to allocate for Time Machine backups. We recommend that you use a size that is two to four times the size of your Mac’s internal hard drive. If you don’t want year-long backups, you can reduce this size as you see fit. However, it should be at least twice the size of your Mac’s storage.

For example, if you have a 128GB MacBook, you should allocate at least 256GB for Time Machine backups. If you can save more space, definitely do so.

How to partition your external hard drive

  • Connect the external hard drive to your Mac. Then go to التطبيقات -> الأدوات المساعدة And run Disk Utility.
    • If you can’t find it, tap Cmd + Space To search for disk utility using Spotlight.
  • Select the external hard drive from the sidebar and click the . button division. Use the plus (+) option to create a new partition and choose the name, format, and size for each partition by selecting it in the diagram.

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

  • The Time Machine partition must use the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format, but the File Storage partition can use any format. Choose ExFat if you plan to use it with Windows; Otherwise, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  • When you are ready to create your partition, click Application , followed by section. When the process is complete, you should see each partition as a separate hard disk in Finder.

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

  • If you can’t partition your external hard drive, you may need to reformat it first. Select your hard disk in the sidebar and click the button to survey. Choose any name and select the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. After scanning the hard drive, go back to the second step above.

How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac

After partitioning the hard drive, you need to set up Time Machine again. To do this, open the Apple menu and go to تفضيلات النظام -> Time Machine How to partition a Time Machine external disk to store your personal files - Mac . Click Select Disk and choose the new Time Machine partition to start creating a backup.

Remember that Time Machine backups will start from scratch from this date onwards. Also, don’t forget that you need to create separate backups of anything in the file storage section.

Better use of your Mac’s storage

If you don’t need access to your five-year backups — and you’re keen to keep your precious data safe — you probably don’t need a lot of Time Machine space. By partitioning your hard drive, it’s easy to create a separate space for your Time Machine backups along with other media or files you want to store.

If you find your storage space is still running low, you’ll be glad to know that external hard drives are cheaper than ever. Take a look at the best external hard drives to see what options are available.

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