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takamine 04-23-2008 07:26 AM

500GB - Bootdrive + TM + FAT32
Hi everyone

I just purchased the Western Digital MyBook Studio 500GB edition. It should arrive sometime next week hopefully. It's pre-formatted with HFS so it should work well with my Macbook.

I'm a new mac user and just want to be sure on backing up things. I plan to partition the external HDD 3 ways:

A) For external booting (SD clone would be appropriate right?)
B) For TM backups
C) For extra file storage

This way, I can pretty much run my macbook off the external and access all my files when I'm at home.

Basically my current Macbook has a 160GB HDD on it, and I've filled up around 100GB already.

I just have some questions:

1) How big should the partitions be for each of the 3 partitions mentioned above (considering my current HDD usage state)? I'm thinking of making partition 1 160GB, same size as my current HDD in my Macbook. What do you think?
2) How much space does TM exactly take up? After the initial backup, does it take up around 100GB already and slowly build up from there? Would 200GB be suffice for that?
3) How would I format the 3rd partition to be FAT32? Would I need to do that on a PC? And there is a 4GB file limit right? I'm ok with that as most of the files will be movies/music and I don't do any HD video stuff. So perhaps the rest of the remaining space for it (140GB). My reason for this is so I can copy media files from my PC when needed.
4) Are there any flaws/changes I should consider to my proposed new setup? What recommendations would you give?
5) Side question: if the external is a 7200rpm drive, would it run "quicker" than my internal 5400rpm 160GB?

Would appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks!

dnanian 04-23-2008 08:37 AM

You're not going to be able to host a FAT32 volume that Windows can read on a drive you've got partitioned for the Mac. Windows doesn't understand the partition scheme...

The other stuff sounds reasonable, although Time Machine likes as much space as you can give it, the more the better. Less space = fewer backups.

takamine 04-23-2008 08:58 AM

Thanks for the reply. Not sure exactly what you mean. Sorry, just a bit lost with some things.

I know Windows doesn't understand HFS+. But I can format Partition C to be FAT32 somehow right? That would allow me to share files between Windows and Mac wouldn't it?

dnanian 04-23-2008 09:03 AM

No, because to work on your Mac (as bootable), you need to partition using the "GUID" or "Apple Partition Map" partition schemes, neither of which is recognized by Windows.

takamine 04-23-2008 09:57 AM

So you're saying, by using the GUID for my Macbook (latest revision), it will partition the 3 partitions that I've proposed. And by doing so, I can't set partition C to be FAT32? Is there a way around this?

Does that mean I can't have a bootable partion and another FAT32 partition on the same physical drive (meaning i'd have to buy another separate drive in order to meet my needs?)
Ford Customline

dnanian 04-23-2008 11:09 AM

No. You can set it to FAT32. But Windows won't recognize the GUID partition scheme. And yes, in general, you need a separate drive. You might be able to use PC/Mac drive to manipulate the drive, though, but it's software you'd need to purchase for your PC.

takamine 04-23-2008 11:15 PM

Thanks for the replies, Dave. Sort of makes sense.

In summary it's sort of like this: Mac partitions the drive using GUID, whereas windows uses something else. If I want to create a bootable drive on the external for my macbook, it has to be GUID. But this means windows won't recognize it. Is that what it all means? Sorry, slowly understanding it.

On a side note, I may consider purchasing SD. Wondering if you accept Paypal? And if i'm from Australia, can I pay using US$ as it works out a little cheaper?


dnanian 04-24-2008 07:42 AM


The online store accepts PayPal; I don't know if you can pay in US$, but I would assume so.

takamine 04-24-2008 09:13 AM

Alrighty, Thanks for everything Dave. My external should arrive next week so I may purchase it then when everything's set up.

Thanks again

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