Re-formatting external HD

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Stephen Hart
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Re: Re-formatting external HD

Post by Stephen Hart » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:26 pm

georgeandjolie wrote:reformat (or partition?)
In the old days, you could actually do a so-called low-level format of a drive. Not anymore. Now all you can do is partition. It's a little confusing because a drive will usually come with one partition, and you will be repartitioning it into one partition. The difference is in the kind of partition. No need to worry about the technical details of this. Just look at Options in Disk Utility, and it will give you instructions.
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Richard Serkes
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Re: Re-formatting external HD

Post by Richard Serkes » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:40 pm

Think of the hard drive as a filing cabinet. It comes with one drawer or partition. But it may be more convenient to add more drawers or partitions so you can find what you want. Note: When you add more drawers you don't increase the size of the filing cabinet so when you partition a hard drive you don't add any storage. The amount of storage is the same regardless of how many partitions you create.

For example, I have an external drive connected to my iMac via a USB cable. When I formatted it I had Disk Utility create three partitions on that single drive. One partition is called CLONE, one is called BACKUP, and the third is called PHOTOS. I keep my old photos in the PHOTOS partition, my SuperDuper! clone in CLONE, and the BACKUP partition is where MobileMe's Backup3 data are stored. I'm anal retentive so I like lots of little piles.

If you partition your external drive you don't have to make all the partitions the same size. You might want to make a small partition to store your old PC data leaving the lion's share for Time Machine. Disk Utility will ask you what size you want the partitions to be and what you want to name each partition.
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georgeandjolie
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Re: Re-formatting external HD

Post by georgeandjolie » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:26 am

Good info.
I especially like the analogy of anal retention and...piles.

Disk utility did say to back-up first as the files may be lost during the partitioning process-- great.
Richard, why not just move into the house next door to us?

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Stephen Hart
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Re: Re-formatting external HD

Post by Stephen Hart » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:01 pm

georgeandjolie wrote:Disk utility did say to back-up first as the files may be lost during the partitioning process-- great.
Any files on a drive will be deleted by partitioning, at least without heroic resuscitation attempts.
Some partitioning changes can be done without deleting all files on a drive, but I would never trust that. But changing the partition table type will erase files.
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georgeandjolie
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Re: Re-formatting external HD

Post by georgeandjolie » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:48 pm

Yikes!
There are minefields everywhere.
Thanks Stephen

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