Back Up Your Hard Drive With Time Machine

Backing up your hard drive has never been easier, thanks to the software Apple has been including with your Operating System since Leopard 10.5.

I've done it myself, more than once, it's true. I've had hard drives fail on me without having a back-up of any kind. It was devastating, but eventually I learned, and now I keep redundant back-ups of all my data, thanks to the affordability of external hard drives and the native Time Machine software. Still, I see it every week, and my un-scientific study shows a good 40-60% of people still don't keep a good back-up.

Here's how easy it is to do: blog2-img1

  1. Plug any external hard drive into the USB port on your Mac.
  2. When the Time Machine software launches and prompts you whether or not you'd like to use said external hard drive as your Time Machine back-up, say yes.
  3. Get some sleep.

Seriously, it's that easy. In operating systems Mountain Lion 10.8 and previous, you don't even have to partition the disk, just click yes and ignore. In Mavericks you will have to partition the hard drive as Mac OS Extended (journaled) in Disk Utility, but the software will lead you like an ox by the nose through every step.

The beauty of Time Machine, is that you can access old files that you've changed in the past, and restore the old configuration of that file to the present date. Consider if you've changed your iPhoto library, or deleted an important email, or edited a movie, document or Garageband file. Also, if your hard drive should fail, and the probability of that is 100%, you can restore your entire system, docs, and network settings from that most recent Time Machine back-up.


  • Hi Dan, thanks for the January newsletter. I added my vote to you for "outstanding customer service".


  • Hi Dan,

    It was great to meet you and thanks for your help, I love the dual screen and upgrades. I seem to have forgotten how to access the iphoto shots from the original iphoto and can only find the few new ones, can you re direct me.


  • Hi Dan:

    Thank you so much for helping out with my urgent problem the other day, so promptly – and from the arena! I really did appreciate it (and was so impressed!).


  • Just a quick note to thank you again for coming by……this is working ever so much better. See you next month.
  • Whoa .....fabulous ...wonderful ...fantastic ...beautiful......OMG ...thank you so much. I will look into the photos and see what I can do  ....touble is I don't actually know much about Marilyns life! I will make something up .....!!  wow Wonderful to what you have created...


  • Just got home. plugged the router and computer in and its working!!!  Go figuure. You must have done something right.


    Al Z

  • Hi Dan,

    I picked up quite a few useful things in class even without a laptop, and enjoyed the course. Do please let me know if you decide to offer an intermediate level follow up. Thanks,


  • Your expeditious replacement of my hard drive is very much appreciated. I had a little trouble restoring the system, but it's now working perfectly (and it seems to be a little faster).In my excitement I forgot to ask about warranty. What do I do?Thank You again

     Trevor W Jackson

  • Dan retrieved the iPhoto library I had deleted from my boyfriend's computer from a Time Machine backup I didn't even know we had. Thank you Dan, you saved my bacon!

  • Hi Dan,What a difference!  My MacBook is working much faster now, and not getting hung up.  The newer OS and more memory really helped.Thank you.