External hard drive, backing up files, updates, and security ?s

Hey everyone. I’ve had my Mac Book Pro for about 5 years now and I haven’t done anything in the way of backing up my files, updating it, etc. When I was going through school just getting through classes and trying to learn design principles and the software ate up all my time. Now I realize I need to back up my files for myself and clients, and have some degree of security.

Where do I start? I want to see about updating the OS but I thought it would be wise to back up everything, which I really don’t know how to do. I was thinking about just getting a few USBs to back up my important files but then I heard that an External Hard Drive would be better. I have no idea how it works.

After that, I plan on updating/upgrading the OS. Then after that checking the security of it, firewalls, etc. I was using public wifi on my college campus and I only found out now that that’s a really bad idea.

It feels pretty daunting. Can anyone give me a heads up for this? For dummies? I probably should just go out and buy an external hard drive but I don’t even know if I have to buy a Mac version of it, if it’s difficult, if it will mess up my mac book if I do it wrong…

Thanks for any help.

I would say an external hard drive or a cloud backup would be the best for you. The last few hard drives I’ve purchased are USB ard Work fine on Mac. You should probably use Disc Utility to format the drive before using for backup. After that use Time Machine to do your backups. Be aware, the first one will likely take some time. If you go with a hard drive rather than the cloud, you’ll need to be disciplined enough to plug it in and backup on a regular basis.

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it free, works and great for recovering data if you need a new drive or something 5 years ago.
I have time machine backups that show files from 2005 i still go through and have 3 back up son Snow leopard, Mountain Lion and Highest Sierra.
my macbook air 2010 has 2 current HD set to cap up data.

WHAT do i use for my 2019 dell XPS that is similar?
none is answering that question.

Yes. You are overdue. It doesn’t need to be manufactured by Apple. Many externals are preformatted for both Windows and Mac, so it’s just a matter of plugging it in to your Mac then it will show up on your desktop as an additional drive where you can store things. If it doesn’t show up then you may have to format that drive for Mac before it will show up. At that point you can just drag things over to it manually, but the more efficient move is to use Time Machine (which is most likely already installed on your Mac). Use Time Machine to specify which drives get backed up to which destinations and how often. As Steve_0 noted, the first back up will take awhile.

In the professional world, it’s common practice to have redundant back ups. You should consider at least one more external as additional back up, and then backing up to the cloud is good practice too. iCloud, Google drive, etc. Just don’t put anything in there that you don’t want to be made public, such as passwords, financial data. Security in the cloud appears to be dubious, but it’s important to have off-site back up in case you have a catastrophic loss of your equipment, such as fire, flood or theft.

We just use Seagate or similar 4 terabyte drives for Time Machine backup.
You have been rather lucky if you haven’t had an emergency requiring a reload. Between Adobe and Apple we’ve had some spectacular meltdowns that required time machine reloads.

Before doing any update, it’s a good idea to do the Time Machine backup and UNPLUG the drive (trash it first to disconnect it!) Even when doing security updates. Give the update a bit of time to run, to make sure the machine stays stable, then reconnect your Time Machine drive.

That part about unplugging your backup, in the not too distant past, there have been updates that have crashed outboard drives. I don’t take the chance any more.

Get an external hard drive and use Time Machine. Schedule reminders so you don’t go too long without backing up.

Consider this motivation to get a backup system. I have an NAS (network attached storage) that my computer backs up to via Time Machine. It’s done automatically every hour or so. A few years ago, the hard drive in my iMac went out. I ran to the Apple store in our local mall, bought a new computer, plugged the thing in, and chose the restore from a backup option from the setup steps. A few hours after the drive failed, I was back up and running. The most time-consuming part of the process was getting in and out of the Apple store.

Ditto to Steve. I had a hard drive failure on a Mac, restoring from time machine was flawless. It was exactly as my old hard drive had been. It was as if nothing had happened (well, other than swapping the hard drive out and waiting for the backup to restore.)

On a side note I also use a cloud based backup service for peace of mind, just in case my mac and backup drive burn up in a fire. Or some other unlikely, yet possible scenario.

Yep, Apples will even remind us, mine is telling me i need a back up after 45 days, but backed up last week on a 2nd hd.

I have mine on autobackup. The only time I shut it off is immediately after doing the backup before an update (and uplugging the drive.)
I’ve done backups from Time Machine more often in the past 5 years than the previous 15 combined. It might not even be for a reason other than a new OS breaking too many things.

Speaking of that, be sure to read up on the death of 32 bit if you plan to upgrade to Catalina. Check that your apps will run before doing that upgrade, or you will absolutely need that Time Machine to dial back your OS. We still only have one machine updated to Catalina and continually finding dumb things Apple no longer thinks we want to do. Between Apple and Adobe…I can’t retire out of this industry fast enough.

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how many designer here use Apple products?
i have both a MacBook and Dell XPS, even iwhen Earth forbids this.
will the switch to ARM processors change the way we compute as in 2007 when intel replaced PPC chips and leopard was a different format as Snow leopard?
can we use our back ups in the future?

I hope to be retired to the top of a mountain somewhere before I have to figure out any of what you said.

I have a cheap 3Tb external for backups - just need to remember to copy off important stuff every once in a while.

apple might be switching to a different processor company for their computers.

I hope to be retired to the top of a mountain somewhere…
in the Alps or on Mount St. Helen?

Hopefully a nice, relatively-warm-sometimes one, like maybe the Smokies or the Adirondacks (though I hate NY state government with a passion.)

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i agree with the NY gov, they are crooks!
My goal is the Laurentides or somewhere safe and mountainous as well.
deer ticks can always be plucked!

Chickens. Free ranging chickens will take care of every tick around. Of course you may have to watch where you step.

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We had a couple of dozen free-ranging chickens on the farm where I grew up. There were no ticks, earwigs, centipedes, box elder bugs, daddy longlegs or other assorted crawling insect nuisances. The chickens would spend half the day looking for these delicacies to gobble up.

They were fun to watch, but the roosters would fight to establish a pecking order. The lowest-ranking rooster would be pecked until his comb was a mass of bloody scabs and his tail feathers were pulled out. He would end up hiding behind the barn for days on end to avoid the other roosters.

Occasionally, the low-ranking roosters would win pecking fights and their status would go up, which meant they began pecking other roosters and stealing away their cadres of hens.

Even the highest-ranking roosters were no match for my dad’s axe, though — I hated that part.

I too would like to have chickens again once I retire (no axes), but I’ll never get my wife out of the city.


Thanks for all the replies, this is very helpful.

I went to go buy an external HD the other day.
The one’s in the Mac section were Lacie and WD. The Lacie one said it was compatible with OS Sierra, High Sierra and Mojave. I’m still on Yosemite. :frowning:
The WD one was more expensive so I checked the PC section for a cheaper version, 1TB, but the back said it was compatible with Mac OS only after installing something for it.

Either way, I’m going to have to use Disc Utility to format it? And all those external HDs, where they’re labeled simply “Portable HD” are fine right?

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