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I'm a software engineer turned wedding photographer and the voice behind Tech Savvy Creative. I love all things technology and spent many years in the world of IT before running my own business. I'm a Mama to Kendall and Quinn, and a Wife to Andrew, and utilizing technology effectively is so important to me because it means I get to spend more time with my favorite people!

I'm Dawn

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Files & Backups

Getting Started With Time Machine

Technology seems to get better and better every day. As our devices get smarter and smarter, it is still so important to have a backup system in place. Hard drives can fail and laptops can be stolen or dropped. You just never know when something can happen, so it is always a good idea to have a plan in place! Today, I’m going to be diving into Apple Time Machine, an amazing back up feature built into Mac OS. If you’re a Mac user, keep reading – you need this!

My favorite part of Time Machine is how it seamlessly runs in your background. As long as your computer is on and your external drive is connected, a backup will take place every hour! Time Machine performs “incremental backups”, which means it only backs up the changes since the last backup. The first backup will take some time, but after that, it’ll be pretty quick!

What You Will Need To Use Time Machine

  • A Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
  • An External Hard Drive that is larger than the drives you want to back up, combined. Here are some of my favorite hard drives, and this is the drive that I use for my own TM backup!
  • If you have both a laptop and desktop, I recommend setting this up with the desktop!

How to Set Up Time Machine

Step #1: Format Your Hard Drive

Whether you are using an old hard drive or you just purchased a new one, we will want to format the drive to ensure it is ready for Time Machine. ** IMPORTANT: THIS WILL ERASE THE HARD DRIVE!

To Format Your Hard Drive

  1. Unplug all drives except the Time Machine drive
  2. Open Disk Utility in Applications > Utilities
  3. On the left, click the drive
  4. Click Erase, and choose Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)
  5. Once complete, plug in other drives – especially the drives you want to back up!

Step #2: Choose Back Up Drive

Open Time Machine Preferences by clicking on the Apple in the top toolbar, then System Preferences. Next, click Time Machine. From there, click “Select Back Up Disk” and choose your newly formatted hard drive!

Step #3: Exclude Drives from Backup

At the bottom of Preferences, click “Options” and add any drive you want to exclude. If a drive or folder shows up in this list, it will be SKIPPED during backup!

Step #4: Start Initial Backup!

Check the box that says “Back Up Automatically” and also “Show Time Machine in Menu Bar”. You will now see the icon in the top toolbar! Click that icon, and click Back Up Now. This will take a while – possibly 1-2 days! Make sure to leave your computer on so it can finish!


That’s it! You’re set! Remember, you will want to leave that hard drive plugged in as often as possible so it can back up as often as possible.

Have questions? Leave them in the comments below!


Learn How to Back Up Your Files with Apple Time Machine with the help of Tech Savvy CreativeLearn How to Back Up Your Files with Apple Time Machine with the help of Tech Savvy Creative

Learn How to Back Up Your Files with Apple Time Machine with the help of Tech Savvy Creative

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