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Formatting hard drives and external hard drives is usually a fairly straightforward process. The two most popular operating systems, Windows and Mac OS both have formatting utilities built-in, which makes formatting external drives even more convenient. However, with all of the different drive manufacturers, interfaces and other compatibility and formatting issues that hard drives can have, sometimes the best choice is to use specialty formatting apps and utilities.
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If you are unable to get a hard drive formatted or partitioned correctly using the built-in apps that are offered by Microsoft and Apple, then your next step may be to try and format the drive directly, using command line. If you’re comfortable using command line, then you may want to check out our guide on how to format external hard drives to FAT32.
Additionally, your computer may not recognize the external hard drive whatsoever. If this is happening, this guide may be useful.
In those cases where a hard drive is simply not formatting, partitioning, etc., you may want to consider using a specialty hard drive formatting utility, which will often times make things simpler. In many cases, these utilities are often more effective than the built-in options that Windows and OS X offer as well.
If you need to manage partitions, copy partitions or even create boot disks, EaseUS Partition Master Free Edition is an excellent utility that can handle all of that and more.
Currently one of the highest ranked hard drive utilities on many websites, this lightweight Windows app is a bit more intuitive than the built-in Windows Disk Management function, offering several additional options and features.
MiniTool Partition Wizard Free is a freeware disk partitioning and formatting utility that is simple to use and effective. The interface is quite straightforward and the software is excellent at making complex formatting options simple.
It supports Windows 10, just about all file system formats, UEFI and EFI boot, MBR and GPT disks, RAID storage, and SSDs. You can use it to extend your system partition, migrate your OS from a standard HDD to a SSD, convert file system, and lots more.
Paragon Partition Manager free is another great little utility that supports Windows 10 and has a lot of features. It’s four basic functions: backup and recovery, partition manager, disk wiper and drive copy.
What I like about Paragon is that the each function in the software has its own wizard. For those who are uncomfortable with making these kinds of changes, the software does a good job of easing you through the process. They also have a paid version that supports more features and works on bigger drives.
The last recommended partition manager is AOMEI Partition Assistant. It’s pretty much got all the same features as the other programs mentioned above and it also has a freeware version.
It’s also regularly updated and supports Windows 10. Some options will be available in the free version while others will require the paid version. This is true for all of the programs mentioned above. If you only need to perform a one-time task and one program doesn’t work for you, I suggest trying another one before making any purchase.
While the other software on this list focus specifically on external hard drive formatting, the HP Disk Storage Formatter specializes in USB devices such as flash drives. This ultra simple formatting utility has just a few options, but it is effective and has received some great reviews.
Overall, the formatting utilities that are offered by Windows and OS X will format hard drives, but there may be cases when they will fail to format a hard drive correctly. The next option is to use command line, but that’s more complex and not for everyone. Using the variety of hard drive formatting and partitioning utilities featured in this post, you should have no problems getting hard drives or even USB flash drives formatted correctly. Enjoy!
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Home » Tutorials » How to Back up Mac to an External Drive with Time Machine
If you read my previous post about how to format an external drive for Mac, you know that I bought a 2TB Seagate Expansion external hard drive and managed to create two partitions on the disk — one for Mac backup purposes, and the other for personal use.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to back up your Mac data to an external drive. You should back up your Mac on a regular basis, especially if you’re planning to perform macOS updates. I did this several weeks ago while preparing my MacBook Pro for a system update.
Please note that the backup tool that I used is Time Machine, a built-in app provided by Apple. If you want to back up your Mac data without using Time Machine, there are also other third-party Mac backup software worth considering.
Where is Time Machine on Mac?
In the Preferences pane, you’ll see the Time Machine app located between “Date & Time” and “Accessibility”.
What does Time Machine Backup?
Time Machine is the easiest way to back up Mac. And the app is created and recommended by Apple. Once you have a timely backup, it’s incredibly easy to restore all or part of your data in case of accidental deletion or a hard drive crash.
So, what kind of data does Time Machine backup? Everything!
Be aware that the recovery process can only be conducted when your Mac can start up normally.
Note: the screenshots below are taken based on an older macOS. If your Mac is running a newer version of macOS, they will look slightly different but the process should be similar.
Step 1: Connect your external hard drive.
First, use the USB cable (or USB-C cable if you’re on the newest Mac model with Thunderbolt 4 ports) that comes with your external drive to connect that drive to your Mac.
Note: if your external drive can’t show up on Mac or macOS hints the drive is not supported, you’ll have to re-format it to a Mac-compatible file system before continuing the following steps.
Step 2: Select the disk for backup.
Now open Time Machine (I tell you how above) and select the disk you want to use. I have partitioned my Seagate drive into two new volumes, “Backup” and “Personal Use”, as you see from the screenshot. I chose “Backup”.
Step 3: Confirm backup (optional).
If you have used another disk for backup before, Time Machine will ask you whether you want to stop backing up to the previous disk and use the new one instead. It’s up to you. I selected “Replace”.
Step 4: Wait until the process is complete.
Now Time Machine will start to backup all your data. The progress bar gives you an estimate of how much time is left before the backup is complete.
I found it a bit inaccurate: Initially, it said “About 5 hours remaining”, but it only took two hours to finish. It’s worth noting that the remaining time may vary from case to case depending on the write speed of your external hard drive.
It says I have to wait 5 hoursAfter about an hour and a half, it says only 15 minutes remaining
Step 5: Eject your external drive and unplug it.
When the backup procedure is completed, don’t rush to disconnect your device as this could cause potential disk problems.
Like any other hardware device, an external hard drive will fail sooner or later. It’s best to make a copy of the data on your external drive — as they say, a “backup of your backups”!
One good option is to use cloud storage services like iDrive which I’ve been using and I really like the app because it’s super easy to use, and it also allows me to download Facebook photos automatically. Backblaze and Carbonite are also popular options in the market, though I am yet to give them a try.
I hope you find this tutorial helpful. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of data backup these days. Without a proper backup, it’s really hard to restore data. Although you could try a third-party Mac data recovery software, chances are they won’t get all your lost data back.
The main takeaway here is to back up your Mac with Time Machine or another app, and create a second or third copy of those backups if you can.
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External hard disks are a convenient way of storing data. Portable SSD external drives enable you to carry media and files and use it anywhere you like. Many such drive provide offer military-grade toughness.
List of Best External Hard DriveBest External SSD Hard Disk: Top Picks 1) WD 1TB Black My Passport Portable External Hard Drive
WD 1TB Black My Passport Portable External Hard Drive is a portable and slim external hard disk. It is also available in varieties of colors. It is one of the best external hard drives which comes with WD Backup software that automatically backup your PC files onto the drive.
It is one of the most reliable external hard drive which can keep your digital content secure with 256-bit AES hardware encryption.
You can set your password.
WD Discovery software allows you to connect Facebook, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
It uses interface USB 3.2 Gen 1.
The supported platform is Windows.2) Samsung (MU-PA1T0B/AM) T5 Portable SSD – 1TB – USB 3.1 External SSD, Black
Samsung (MU-PA1T0B/AM) T5 Portable SSD is a disk that offers fast data transfer speeds. It is one of the largest external hard drive which is shock resistant.
It is one of the best external SSD which allows you to back up your large size data, including 4K videos and HD photos.
This SSD external hard drive is available in varieties of colors.
Provides security using AES 256-bit encryption.
Offers a password protection facility.
Samsung (MU-PA1T0B/AM) T5 Portable SSD gives you efficient access to your massive data.3) SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD – USB-C, USB 3.1
SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD is a drive that offers transfer speed up to 550MB. It is one of the best SSD external hard drive which enables you to move high-resolution videos and sound files.
This external SSD hard disk uses USB-C as a connector.
Uses interface USB 3.1 Gen 2.
It can work with Mac and Windows operating systems.4) Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1TB External Hard Drive
Seagate Backup Plus is an external hard disk that helps you to manage photos, movie, documents and more. This drive works with USB 3.0 and USB-C computers.
You can make a copy of folders for easy file management.
It is one of the best external hard disk in India that is capable to auto-sync your data to the cloud.
Offers customizable backup.
Supports Windows and Mac operating systems.5) Toshiba (HDTB410XK3AA) Canvio Basics 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, Black
Toshiba (HDTB410XK3AA) Canvio is a disk that offers drag and drops file storage. This drive is available in varieties of weight.
A quick start guide is available with this external hard drive.
It works with USB 2.0.
This disc is available for Mac and Windows operating systems.6) LaCie Mobile Drive
LaCie Mobile Drive is a stylish external hard disk that offers an automatic backup facility. It allows you to keep more than 500 k HD photos and store 165+ hours of videos.
It has a lightweight aluminum design.
LaCie Mobile Drive supports USB-C and USB 3.0.
Offers mirroring and backup software.
Supported platforms are Windows and Mac.7) Toshiba Canvio Advance 1TB Portable External Hard Drive USB 3.0, Black (HDTC910XK3AA) (Renewed)
Toshiba Canvio Advance 1TB Portable External Hard Drive is a disk that is used to store images, videos, etc. It is one of the best external hard drive for PC that has a compact design with vibrant colors.
It can prevent unauthorized users from accessing personal data.
Offers Toshiba Storage Backup Software.
Available in red, black, blue, and white color.
You can backup data by simply set the time.
This drive offers a quick start guide.8) Seagate Expansion Portable 1TB External Hard Drive
Seagate Expansion Portable 1TB External Hard Drive is a disc that provides easy to use solution for instant storage. It helps you to transfer data fast with USB 3.0 connectivity.
It has a drag and drops feature to save files.
Easy to plug in the USB cord.
This disc can be used to store videos, digital photos, and music files.
It has a built-in power management feature.
Provides a quick start guide.9) Transcend 1TB USB 3.1 Gen 1 StoreJet 25M3S SJ25M3S Rugged External Hard Drive TS1TSJ25M3S, Grey
Transcend 1TB USB 3.1 Gen 1 is a disc that is used to quickly transfer your file. It is one of the best portable external hard drive that offers a high level of anti-shock protection.
It comes in iron gray and military green.
This disc offers a one-touch auto backup.
Storage media is 2.5″ HDD.
Supported platforms are Windows, Linux, Mac, and more.10) G-Technology ArmorATD
G-Technology ArmorATD is a portable drive that is made for outdoor filmmakers and photographers. It is made with triple-layer shock-resistant material.
The file transfer rate is 140MB/s.
It protects from dust, rain, and crush resistance.
This disc is USB-C and USB 3.0 ready.
It is compatible with macOS and Windows.11) Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC
Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is a portable drive that is equipped with the unique wrapped around the cable. This tool offers secure hardware encryption.
It is made from shock protection material.
This drive protects data from unauthorized access.
You can schedule an automatic backup.
Supports connector type Micro B.
The weight of this drive is 0.66.12) Plugable 1TB Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive (Up to 2400MBs/1800MBs R/W).
Plugable 1TB Thunderbolt 3 External SSD is a disc to store data without power connection. It is one of the best external SSD for laptop that helps you to improve the performance of the PC by reducing CPU usage.
It is made of aluminum.
Data transfer speeds of 2400+.
This SSD external hard disk has TLC NAND flash
Supports Windows, and macOS.13) ADATA Dash drive HD710
ADATA Dash drive HD710 is a drive with military-grade toughness. It is one of the best portable hard disk which uses shock vibration sensing technology. This drive allows you to store HD photos and 4K videos.
You can quickly wrap the cable to the hard disk.
It is one of the best hard disk in India that provides a waterproof secure cover.
This drive has sensors that can stop disc activity when a shock is detected.
Supported platforms are Windows, Mac, and Linux.14) Corsair CMFVYGTX3C-1TB Flash Voyager GTX 1TB USB 3.1 Premium Flash Drive
Corsair CMFVYGTX3C-1TB Flash Voyager is a premium USB flash drive storage that offers SSD speeds. This drive uses high-speed NAND memory (a form of electronically erasable programmable read-only memory).
Read and write speed is 440MB/sec and 440MB/sec write accordingly.
Supported interfaces are USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.
Supported platforms are Windows, Linux, and Mac.FAQs: ❓ What is a external hard drive?
External hard disks are a convenient way of storing data. 1TB external drives enable you to carry media and files and use it anywhere you like. Many such discs have military-grade toughness.💻 Which External Hard Disk is Best to buy in USA/India?
Following is a list of the best external hard disks to buy in India/USA:
WD Black My Passport
SanDisk Extreme Portable
Seagate Backup Plus Slim
Toshiba Canvio Advance
ADATA Dash Drive⚡ What are the benefits of external hard drives?
Here are the benefits of an external hard drive:
They are lightweight and thus can be moved from one location another easily.
External drives can speed up the performance of the PC having a slower internal drive.
It can be used as an emergency backup drive.🏅 What are the general features of the external hard drive?
Here are the general features of the 1TB external hard drive:
It is made from shock protection material.
This drive protects data from unauthorized access.
Easy to plug in the USB cord.
This disc can be used to store videos, digital photos, and music files.
You can make a copy of folders for easy file management.❗ What size of External Hard Drive do I need?
The size of the external drive you should get depends on your personal needs, requirements of software programs that you are going to use, etc. There are so many external hard drives available depending on the needs of every user. External hard drives ranging from 128GB to higher storage of 1TB, 2TB, 5TB, etc, are available in the market that users can choose from.👉 Where to find an External Hard Drive on PC?
When you plug in an external hard drive on your PC, it can be accessible in “My Computer” along with the existing primary and secondary internal drives.💥 Where to Buy an External Hard Drive?
You can buy an external hard drive from the official website of the manufacturer or retail outlet, local computer hardware vendors, and from online eCommerce portals like Amazon.
It’s always good to regularly backup your iPhone, especially if you fear losing your crucial data to system malfunction.
However, backups can take up large amounts of storage space. So, if you don’t have enough iCloud storage or don’t want to fill up your PC space, you have the option to back up your iPhone to an external hard drive.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into learning how to transfer all your iPhone data to an external hard drive.How to Backup iPhone to External Hard Drive?
Depending on your device, you can apply different methods to backup your iPhone to an external hard drive.
The older macOS system will require you to back up your iPhone with the iTunes application. But, with the latest macOS versions, you don’t need any assistance from iTunes because the backup feature is in-built into the operating software.Backup through Finder
If you’re running on iOS 13 and macOS Catalina or the later versions, the backup process from transferring your iPhone data to your mac device is reasonably straightforward. Instead of relying on the iTunes application, you can now directly backup through your Finder application.
Here is how you can do it.Step 1: Backup iPhone to Mac Step 2: Locate and Transfer iPhone Backup to Hard Drive Backup with iTunes
With the older versions of the macOS and Windows PCs, you will have to download the iTunes application. This process is similar to that of backing up from the Finder application. Here is how you can do it.Back Up iPhone to PC Locate and Transfer Backup to Hard Drive Use Third-Party Applications
If the above backup methods seem too tedious and long, you can opt to back up your iPhone through third-party applications. Many of these applications are free, but you will need to upgrade to the premium version to access the full functionality. Some of the more popular backup apps for iPhone include SyncBird Pro and Dr.Phone.How to Backup iPhone Photos to an External Hard Drive Without a Computer?
If you want to backup your iPhone without a computer device, you can directly connect your iPhone to the external hard drive. But, you will require a USB-C connector or an adapter for this method.
If you have the connector, here are some steps you can follow.
Connect your external drive to your iPhone.
Now, head over to the Files app.
Select the files or photos you would like to transfer.
Now, save the photos to your external hard drive.How To Change your Backup location?
By default, all your iPhone backups are stored in the same location. However, if you want to change your backup location, you will have to create a symbolic link.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can do it.On Mac On Windows Related Questions Why is my iTunes not recognizing my iPhone?
While connecting your iPhone to your PC, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, please make sure that your iPhone is unlocked. Additionally, make sure you tap on the Trust this computer from your iPhone to give full access to iTunes.
If the issue persists, here are some troubleshooting methods you can follow.
Unplug your iPhone and reconnect to your PC again.
Force Quit iTunes application and Restart.
Update iTunes to the latest version.
Update your iOS operating software.How to Transfer Photos from iCloud to External Hard Drive?
If you are running out of your iCloud storage, you clear out the space by transferring the iCloud photos to your external drive.
Here is how you can do it.
FIX: chkdsk stuck on an external hard drive
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If your Windows 10 device is running slow, or if you get force close errors, a good idea is to run a general chkdsk operation. This way you will be able to fix errors and repair any corrupted files, resulting in a more stable and smoother Windows 10 system. This works just as well even if you are running it on an external hard drive.
Many complaints have risen about a chkdsk stuck, as more and more users aren’t capable to fix their Windows 10 problems since the disk check can’t be completed.
As you know, when a disk check is running, it is not recommended to reboot your device as you can end up hard bricking it. So, you should be patient until the check is over – in most cases this can take hours or even a whole day (so there is no problem with the disk check, you just have to let the process do its work).
If you are running a chkdsk on your external hard drive and it is stuck, try to follow the steps from below to fix it.
What can I do if chkdsk gets stuck on an external hard drive?1. Use the Registry Editor
Use the Windows 10 install CD or a repair CD (recovery image) of Windows 10.
Enter the mentioned CD and reboot your device.
Now, from the CD main window run cmd by pressing and holding Shift + F10 keyboard keys.
Next, on the cmd window type regedit in order to open Registry Editor.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE folder and from there select Load Hive.
Go to path C:WindowsSystem32Config and pick System. If a name will be prompted enter something intuitive, such as Disksys, and just press enter to confirm.
Now, you will have to navigate towards DisksysControlSet001ControlSession Manager and select BootExecute.
From there change the autocheck autochk * /rDosDeviceC: line into autocheck autochk *.
Go to your Disksys folder, select unload Hive and exit Registry Editor.
Then in cmd type chkdsk c: /r and wait for the new process to complete.
If you can’t edit your Windows 10’s registry, read this handy guide and find the quickest solutions to the issue.2. Run Disk Cleanup
In the search box on the taskbar, type disk cleanup, and select
from the list of results.
Select the drive you want to clean up, and then select OK.
Files to delete, select the file types to get rid of. To get a description of the file type, select it.
So, if you can’t wait for the chkdsk process to complete or if you think that the disk check is stuck, try to follow the steps from above in order to fix this Windows 10 problem.
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It’s all too easy to run out of disk space.
Thankfully, lots of easy ways exist to reclaim hard-drive space and keep the dreaded “out-of-disk-space” warnings away. Let’s check some of them out.Clean Up Files You No Longer Need
The first step is to get rid of the common space-hogging culprits. These include unnecessary applications and a variety of useless system files.
Your Recycle Bin, Temp folders, and random system files may be hogging gigabytes of potential free space. Microsoft’s built-in disk cleaner, Windows Disk Cleanup, will free up this space for you.
Go to the Start menu, type disk cleanup in the search box, and press Enter for the screen where you can whisk these items away. (If you have a particularly packed system, have patience while Disk Cleaner does its magic.)
By the way, you can schedule Disk Cleanup to run regularly in Windows’ Task Scheduler. Here’s how:
That method runs Disk Cleanup at a set time but still requires your input. If you want to run Disk Cleanup in the background without your supervision, you can create a scheduled task to do this using the command line:
Go to the Start menu, enter cmd in the search box, and press Enter to open the Command Prompt.
Type cleanmgr.exe /sageset:1 to open the Disk Cleanup settings.
Select the types of files you always want to delete and press OK. This will create a Registry key to save these cleanup settings, and also run Disk Cleanup right now.
Here are some other areas to consider for cleanup.
Also, if you have more than one video player or music player or other types of duplicate applications, get rid of the dupes.
Use a Dedicated System Cleanup Tool: Sometimes your manual cleanup efforts don’t catch all the stray items that can be wasting disk space. A utility designed just for thoroughly cleaning your system can do the job a lot better.
For a complete cleaning job, take a look at CCleaner. This free utility erases browser histories and caches, temporary files, system restore points, and other items responsible for your disk drive’s bloat.
Eyeball Your ‘Miscellaneous’ Folders: Some types of folders also just magically accumulate more files. Maybe you have a “temp” or “misc” folder that you just stuff random bits into. Make sure all those forgotten files are ones you actually want to keep; move the useful ones into folders with more helpful names and delete the others.Target Large and Duplicate Files
If you’ve done the above, you’ve made a big improvement in your hard drive space usage, but now let’s dig deeper.
Auslogics Duplicate File Finder (free) finds those pesky files you’ve stored in more than one folder. You can also search solely for duplicate files that take up a large amount of space, quickly identifying the worst offenders.Move Key Folders to an External Drive
Perhaps the easiest way to slim up your system is to expand your space with an external drive. With a cheap USB hard drive or even a flash memory card, you can store your growing collection of photos and videos off of your computer and use your primary drive just for launching your operating system and applications quickly.
Prices on external drives have dropped dramatically recently, so you can have tons of cheap space just for this purpose. If you’re really stuck on space, you can move your whole My Documents folder to another location (that is, another drive).Store on the Web
Cloud storage services offer tons of free space online you can use instead of your hard drive. Microsoft’s SkyDrive, for example, gives you 7GB or 25GB free (depending on when you signed up for the service), while Box, Google Drive, and SugarSync Free offer 5GB. Dropbox Basic starts at 2GB for free.
If you get in on promotions that these services sometimes run, you could score even more space—Box, for example, has offered 50GB free in the past.
To really save space, though, the service you use will have to let you either simply upload your files without having to sync them, as Box does, or exclude some folders from syncing (otherwise, you’ll still have those folders and files stored on your computer). SkyDrive and SugarSync don’t seem to have this selective syncing feature, but Dropbox and Google Drive both do.
This is a great way to keep large folders like videos and photos in your online storage space and remove them from your computer’s hard drive.Run Software in Your Browser
Pixlr Editor can substitute for the space-hungry Photoshop for photo editing, PDFescape does the job of Adobe Acrobat, Screenr is an online screen recorder that can replace Camtasia, and, instead of Quicken for your personal finances, you could try Mint or Adaptu.
So don’t feel cramped if you have a small hard drive. Use some of these strategies and you may find your hard drive to be bigger than you thought.
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