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HuskyTech Knowledgebase

Configure Automatic Backups in Snow Leopard (Mac OS X)

Every Mac bought today has the Time Machine program installed when purchased. This is the easiest data backup program to use in the event of system failure or mistaken file deletions. The following is a guide to configure automatic backups on Macs using Time Machine. If you have issues during the configuration contact either HuskyTech or refer to Apple’s documentation for the application Time Machine 101.

There are two methods of configuring automatic backups in Mac OS X.

  • Method 1: Auto Detect (Easiest)
  • Method 2: Manually Select and Configure Disk

Method 1: Auto Detect (Easiest)

  1. Plug in your external hard drive.
    • For some hard drives that are brand new from specific manufacturers, you may have to run an included utility to configure the drive for use on Macs as well as remove any unnecessary apps included with it. For Time Machine, the user needs no 3rd party applications.
  2. In most cases, after the drive is recognized your Mac will show a window that will ask you, “Do you want to use “(your hard drive’s name)” to back up with Time Machine?” Select the option, “Use as Backup Disk.” – See an example see it
    • Your computer should automatically configure the backup disk to use the default settings for backups. To configure specific features, reference Option 2’s instructions to navigate the options contained in System Preferences under Time Machine.
    • If this method fails to recognize automatically, use Method 2.

Method 2: Manually Select and Configure Disk

  1. Find the “System Preferences” icon in the Dock. If your Dock does not have the system preferences icon in it, navigate to the finder and use the search bar (or spotlight), searching for “System Preferences.” – See an example see it
  2. Once in System Preferences, navigate to “Time Machine” under System. Select this icon. – See an example see it
  3. Select the option “Select Disk…” Make sure that the Time Machine switch on the left hand side is set to “On.”
    • Note: you may have to select the lock on the lower left side in order to unlock the system preferences to allow changes. The lock should like open as displayed in the example. – See an example see it
  4. From the Select Disk… menu select the external hard drive from the listed disks (you can determine this by looking at the capacity of the drive or the name). After highlighting the disk, select “Use for Backup.” – See an example see it
  5. The backups do not always start immediately after configuring the backup disk. To do a backup on demand, select “Back Up Now” from the Time Machine toolbar icon.
    • Under Latest Backup, the user can determine the last completed backup of their system. – See an example see it
    • The user can select “Enter Time Machine” to see their backed up files in their previous versions over time. This is inherently difficult to use sometimes. HuskyTech recommends either contacting us or referencing Apple’s documentation where questions arise. See Time Machine 101.

Where can I get and external hard drive?

External hard drives are much more available to consumers than ever before. You can purchase external hard drives from a variety of retailers in a variety of forms and capacities. The costs of these devices are based around where you buy it, the capacity of the drive (how much data it can hold), and the portability of the drive (the smaller, the more expensive).

If you are interested in purchasing an external hard drive, do your homework and monitor the pricing of the hard drive you are interested in. The prices tend to fluctuate. If you have questions, contact HuskyTech.

We have included some example retailers below:
UConn Co-Op Technology Department
BestBuy, Walmart, Target
NewEgg, Amazon, TigerDirect