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Jodie99

Mirror External Hard Drives

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Hi! 

I have starting using an external hard drive as my main drive as before I knew any better I used to save my photos to my iMac. Since I have started shooting for clients now I would like to have another hard drive as a safety net. (I also have an additional hard drive for time machine) My question is how do I mirror the hard drives? I've read about it but cannot figure out how to do it! OR would it be better to have a cloud account such as crashplan? Thanks Jodie 

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Before I start recommending stuff, what version of the MacOS are you running?

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Hi Brian I am running Mac OS Catalina Version 10.15.4 

I have 2 external western digital desktop hard drives, one I have started using as a main drive for my photos instead of the iMac hard drive and I have been copying across to the other drive, this isn't ideal if I go and do further edits to my photos on my main drive though as I have to update the 2nd drive. I run time machine on a smaller Western digital passport. 

Thank-You 

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Great! You have Catalina!! Stay there. This program that I'm going to recommend DOES NOT WORK WITH BIG SUR and you will have to pay the $27.95 to get the scheduler running.

SuperDuper! for Mac.

That program will do what you are asking, dump one HD to another at a specific time. If you are looking for more of a hardware based solution, then we can talk about a RAID1 setup, which automatically syncs two hard drives together. If one HD fails, you can use the other, replace the failed drive and rebuild it and you have two mirrored hds again. 

Keep in mind, you have to pay a premium for this type of hardware.

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That's brilliant, Thanks so much. I'm going to download it, and hopefully not get too confused! 

 

Thank-You 

 

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Hi Brian - Not sure what i am doing wrong.... I have downloaded the software you recommended, I opened the program and you get a box pop up that asks you where you want to copy from and to. I want to copy my main external photo drive to another external drive as a back-up - They don't appear in the drop down box? My Mac hard drive appears and my passport for mac which is set up to Time Machine 

Thanks 

Jodie 

Screen Shot 2021-08-31 at 16.21.36.png

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Let's take SuperDuper out of the equation. First, I want you to hook up your main photos drive to your Mac directly (not a USB hub) and the new drive. Can you see both of them on the Mac Desktop? Also what does your Disk Management Utility look like. Application Folder >> Utilities >> Disk Utility. Here is a snapshot of mine currently:

78903322_ScreenShot2021-09-01at8_12_35AM.thumb.png.643360dc1aae4914907855a152de25d3.png

What does yours look like? I need to see the left column clearly.

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Hi Brian - Yes I can see 3 external hard drives on my desktop. My main photo drive, the new hard drive which i hope to use as a back-up and my passport for mac hard drive which i have time machine on. 

I've attached a screenshot 

 

Thanks 

Screen Shot 2021-09-01 at 19.57.50.png

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First, I'd rename the "My Passport for Mac" and call it "Time Machine." This helps eliminate confusion.

Second, click on "Photos 1" and "Photos 2" in Disk Utility. I want to see what partition type those two drives are. Your main one is APFS, which is what you want for SSD Drives, not traditional spinning hard drives. Post those screen shots please.

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Hi Brain 

I have attached the screenshots of the two external drives in disk utilities. 

Screen Shot 2021-09-02 at 18.18.25.png

Screen Shot 2021-09-02 at 18.17.51.png

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See this right here? Where it says, ExFAT?

1101527346_ScreenShot2021-09-02at5_33_15PM.thumb.png.c0f4478a34fb38a1a78f627cfb24aef3.png

That's why!!!

Your hard drives are partitioned with ExFAT. We will need to Nuke the new HD, re-partition it and format it with Journaled HFS+. Then we will manually need to copy all of the contents from the Photos 1 Drive to the freshly created Journaled HFS+ Partition on Photos 2.

Then we will need to Nuke the Photos 1 Drive, then copy all of the stuff back.

After which, you will be able to use the program. I will explain later. Gotta go start dinner.

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OK, I'm back. So what is ExFAT and why do the manufactures use it?

Honestly? It's a half-assed way for them to save money. Around 20-30 years ago, HD Manufacturers would have a "Macintosh Formatted" and a "Windows Formatted" version. Often, the "Mac Version" was about $30 more than their Windows Counterpart. Why is this such a big deal? BECAUSE IT WAS THE SAME DAMN HD IN THE BOX.

The manufactures knew that people usually paid more for a Macintosh computer, as opposed to a Windows-Clone computer, so they would charge a premium for Mac users. Unethical? Absolutely. All a consumer would have to do is buy the "Windows" version of the HD, delete the existing partition, create a Macintosh one and format it. Took a total of 5 minutes or so, even today. So why ExFAT now?

It's because Apple really came on the scene with their iMac line, especially when they switched to Intel-Based Macs. Apple made it so easy to switch that HD manufactures took notice for when users needed to go back-and-forth between a Windows Computer and a Macintosh Computer. People didn't want to use special translator software, they wanted their HDs to work in both worlds, without having to format the HD. Well, since Microsoft made it "Public Domain," for lack of a better term, HD manufactures jumped on partitioning their drives with it. This way they could sell to both Mac and Windows users, and the HD Manufactures didn't suffer from the extra support calls for why a HD was working on one computer platform vs another.

The problem with ExFAT is that it's not 100% bulletproof. For me personally, and by my recommendations...it's risky to use. In my humble opinion, it's almost like a "Pet Project" that Microsoft came out with and other Manufactures adopted, but it's not mainstream. Personally, I would never put my data on a ExFAT HD. But that's just me.

Anyway, hopefully this solves the mystery. Now we are ready to fix things and get you straightened out. Let me know when you want to begin, and we are going to start with your new HD, probably the one labeled, "Photos 2."

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Thanks for that Brian......I don't think I would ever of solved it in a million years! 

Will I have problems with most software I use then not recognising my hard drives or just certain ones? 

I am In the UK so about to collapse into bed. I can do what ever time is best for you tomorrow? 

 

 

 

 

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Yeah, we can go over this tomorrow. Honestly, it’s not that difficult to accomplish, we just need to approach things logically and one-at-a-time. 
 

I’m on New York Time. Sounds like you are about 6hrs ahead of me. I’m assuming that the Photos 2 is the new EHD? If so let me know and I will write up a set of instructions. 
 

Warning! We will be nuking the contents of this drive. So if there is anything important on it, be sure to back it up to another drive. 

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Yes Photos 2 is the new drive, there was a few bits on it which I have taken off. 

Photos 1 is my main photo drive which I now use and have most of my photos on the rest are on my Mac drive which I will move over at a later date. 

 

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OK, great! I want to try these instructions that I wrote out awhile ago, and you are the perfect candidate to test drive them. Let me know if you don't understand something or an item needs clarification.
 

Quote

Part 1


The first thing I want you to do, if you haven't already, is turn on the feature that allows you to see HDs and other "Mounted Devices" on your Mac Desktop. 

  • Open the Finder. The easiest way is to click the Smiley Face on your DockBar:

 

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.31.00 PM.png
 

  • Then head to the Finder Menu and select Preferences:
     

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.32.35 PM.png

  • Once there put checks next to these items and change the bottom to "Macintosh HD" if you want:

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.33.29 PM.png

  • From there, just click the Red Circle in the upper left corner to apply the changes.

After you make this change, things like the Macintosh HD, any External Drives, Memory Cards from Cameras that are in a Card Reader and even portable DVD Disks will all appear on the Mac Desktop. This makes accessing them a breeze and is one of the things that has always puzzled me on why this feature isn't turned on by default. For example:

 

Screen Shot 2020-11-01 at 11.32.41 AM.png

 

Quote

 Part 2

 

  • First, as you saw in my example above, your new EHD should appear on the desktop, though it may not. Here is an example of currently Mounted Devices on my iMac. You should see something similar if you followed my steps above:

    Screen Shot 2020-11-01 at 11.32.41 AM.png
     

Now the fun begins! Let's get that new Hard Drive prepped for use on the Macintosh!!
 

  • Click your Applications Folder, then open Disk Utilities.
    • Head to  Applications Menu >> Utilities >> Disk Utilities.
       

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.27.22 PM.png
 

  • This is where your Disk Utilities might look slightly different. Anyway, here is mine:

    Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 3.38.59 PM.png
     
  • While in your Disk Utilities Module, please make note of any additional Hard Drives listed in the left column. Pay special attention to the Hard Drives listed under the "External" Section. For this process, it is much safer to only have one EHD Mounted / Listed!
     
  • It is imperative that you  Eject and Remove ANY EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO ERASE!!!  Your Disk Utilities Window should appear as follows, with only ONE External HD listed:

    Screen Shot 2020-11-05 at 7.42.04 PM.png

     
Quote

WARNING!!!

Clicking on the WRONG EHD and then doing a Erase / Partition is a VERY BAD THING. This is why we only want one EHD Mounted, so to be safe let's eject that Time Machine Drive and disconnect it, along with any other EHDs. Macs are a real PITA when it comes to Data Recovery. Which is great if you are trying to get rid of things, bad for when you do something stupid, like I did...and delete pictures from the years 2007-2011.

I still haven't gotten everything back, even after all these years of my knowledge, using several different programs. :(

 

  • You can Eject the EHD from Disk Utilities, just click the little up-arrow/line next to the drive you want to remove.

    826781034_ScreenShot2020-11-05at7_55_04PM.png.f05dbd237c650ec583c252a322a53cd1.png

 

Quote

Part 3

 

  • First select the EHD that you want to Format for use on the Mac in the left column:
     

Screen Shot 2020-11-05 at 6.32.24 PM.png

  • Then click the Erase Button at the top:
     

Screen Shot 2020-11-05 at 6.34.35 PM.png

  • Your Window should appear similar to this. At this point, give your new EHD its official name. Make it something Obvious, like WD 3TB or Client File EHD 3TB. Something recognizable and simple. You can only have so many characters for the name, so keep it short and simple: 

28157356_ScreenShot2020-11-05at6_38_07PM.thumb.png.149308a75a024bf9664c81fca2d618be.png

  • Then click the UP/DOWN arrows on the right, in the Format Section. If this was originally a Windows EHD, it will more than likely say, Windows NT File System (NTFS), or be listed as ExFAT:

    759432713_ScreenShot2020-11-05at6_35_31PM.thumb.png.56fdfa226a1377c3315c622b28fece29.png
     
  • A list will appear as follows:

    1740699543_ScreenShot2020-11-05at6_35_47PM.thumb.png.04e42ec78632a8dcbe773a9dcc19c07e.png

     
    • For a Traditional Spinning Hard Drive, ONLY SELECT THE MacOS Extended (Journaled.) DO NOT SELECT the "Encrypted / Case Sensitive" Options!
       
Quote

99.999% of the time, most people will use the MacOS Extended (Journaled) option.

 

  • For a Flash Based Hard Drive (i.e. SSD, m.2, etc.) choose APFS. DO NOT use APFS for a Traditional Spinning Hard Drive! DO NOT SELECT the "Encrypted / Case Sensitive" Options!
     
  • Again, it's either the "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" or the plain "APFS." Do not use any other option. For the people that do use those options, have reasons to do so. For the 99.9999% of us out there, including myself, we want to keep our Partition Types as simple as possible.

     
  • For the majority of users doing this, your new External HD will most likely be the "Traditional / Spinning" type/kind, as SSD/m.2 Drives tend to be extremely expensive for capacities over 1TB. As time goes on, this will definitely change, but for now your Disk Utility Window should look something like this:

    538930640_ScreenShot2020-11-05at6_38_35PM.thumb.png.c9e20a024992d7ef170482535f91a460.png

     
  • Simply Click the Erase Button and let the MacOS do its thing:

    1839382751_ScreenShot2020-11-05at6_39_43PM.thumb.png.0183c710211f05cd5a51004411ec2571.png
     
  • When finished, you might get a message from the MacOS asking if you want to use the EHD for Time Machine or not. If this is a Data Drive, tell it NO!
  • Of course, if this EHD is meant for Time Machine, tell it Yes.
     
Quote

PLEASE NOTE!! You want to keep your Time Machine External Hard Drives separate from your normal day-to-day backups!

AGAIN, DO NOT USE YOUR TIME MACHINE EHDs as a normal Data Backup Drive, not matter how tempting it might be.  Trust me on this, your TM EHD should be used to back up the internal "Macintosh HD" only and not have it backup any externals.

Keep things simple when it comes to Time Machine Drives.

 

  • If everything goes as expected, and followed all of my instructions, you should see your new EHD mounted on the Mac Desktop:

    984169479_ScreenShot2020-11-05at6_41_36PM.thumb.png.8737227e619712937552cd42fc041f6e.png

     
  • You will also see it as follows in the Disk Utility Module of the MacOS:

    515601105_ScreenShot2020-11-05at7_12_13PM.thumb.png.2b8f9779c142d91444b155218773724d.png

That's it! That is all it takes to make your Windows Hard Drive and convert it for use on your Mac. Keep in mind that with the MacOS and the way its designed, is it treats both Internal and External Drives the same. So don't go over 75% - 80% capacity on either drive, Internal or External. The more full your hard drive is, the slower your Macintosh runs. 

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After you get your "Photos 2" Drive Erased / Partitioned / Formatted, go ahead and plug in the Photos 1 Drive and let it mount. Both HDs should appear on your desktop. Simply open Photos 1 and do a "Select All," then right-click and select COPY. Open the freshly formatted Photos 2 Drive and Right-Click and select "Paste." Or press & hold the Command Key while tapping V. This will (paste) copy the files from one EHD to the next. (Self Explanatory, I know.) 

The reason I'm pointing this out, is if you do a copy and paste and something screws up during the process, you can cancel and try again. If you do a "Cut & Paste" you are moving the files...and if something bad were to happen, you aren't getting those files back. This happened to me once, with a customer's data that they didn't have backed up. Learned my lesson on that one, and I have been using computers since 1981!! I always used to Cut & Paste without thinking.

I don't do that anymore. :)

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Once you are sure that everything made it's way to Photos 2, right-click on the drive and eject it. Then do the same thing above for your Photos 1 drive, erase, format, rename, etc. Then hook up Photos 2 again. (You might have to power cycle the drive or pull out the USB cable and re-seat it.)  Let it mount, and then do a Select-All and Copy & Paste from Photos 2 to Photos 1.

At this time, each drive will be a mirror of each other and now should appear in SuperDuper.

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Oh, I didn’t answer one of your questions! Once we get your EHDs partitioned to a genuine Mac Format, software programs won’t have any trouble reading them. Unfortunately, I’m thinking any new EHD that you buy today has a good chance of being ExFAT. But I could be wrong. Basically, any new EHD that you buy, you just need to check it and see if it’s ExFAT or NTFS. If it is, just follow my directions above and change it to a Mac only drive. 
 

Easy Peasy. 

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Brilliant Thanks Brian - I am halfway through the process now. Great set of instructions...... I have been holding my breath for most of it! 

So far so good! 

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Hi Brian - I successfully followed your instructions Thank-You. I am just trying to get the super duper part sorted now, The EHDs now appear in the program but I am a bit confused as it says that it will delete everything on images 2? I just wanted to set it up so basically anything changed on my main photo hard drive (images 1) also changed on images 2. is that something to do with scheduling and not the copy now option? I've looked on you tube but I keep getting different answers! 

Screen Shot 2021-09-06 at 09.15.30.png

Screen Shot 2021-09-06 at 09.15.54.png

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OK, simply put, SuperDuper wants control of the situation. This is what happens when you use programs to do stuff for you. It needs to create a log of what's on Images 1 and then make sure that it successfully goes to Images 2.

By now, all of your images should be on the Images #1 Drive, correct? If so, let it erase Images 2 and let it do its thing.

Edit: There are primarily two kinds of backups. Incremental and Full. SuperDuper is going to make a Full Backup to Images #2 from #1 and then will probably do Incremental backups (the changes you make to images 1) going forward, after the Full Backup.

For all intents and purposes, keep saving things to Images 1!! Images 2 is just for cloning, not usage. If you were looking for two hard drives to be a Mirror of each other at all times, that's a RAID1 Setup and a completely different thing. In fact, I would not even call that EHD "Images 2," I'd name it something else, like "Clone" or "Off-Site Backup."

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Hi Brian 

Brilliant - Thanks so much for your help. I have run super duper and it seems to of copied everything successfully. 

I've just got one more question I hope you can answer! I am using the scheduler to run when I plug my 2nd hard drive in.

Should I choose the erase and copy or the smart updates? Am I right in thinking that I want the smart updates as this will just add changes and not delete the whole lot and re-copy? 

Also 'Repair Permissions' what does it mean and should it be ticked? 

 

Thanks - is it possible to buy you a beer or two? Appreciate your help. 

Screen Shot 2021-09-09 at 10.52.29.png

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"Smart Update" compares the files on the Images 1 Drive to the Images 2. If there is a change, usually with file-size and/or date & time, it will back up those files only, since Images 2 already has the other files after the first full backup. Basically, it's a "Incremental" backup and only backs up the files that have changed. Which saves a lot of time.

"Erase Images" (the one you have selected in the screenshot above) is the brute force method. It erases the files on Images 2 and then copies over the files from Images 1. This could be a good thing or a bad thing...

Good that you have a 100% clone each and every time.

Bad if there is data corruption on Images #1 or you did something to one of your images (or screwed something up), with the Erase/Brute-Force Method, you won't be able to go back in time and get the original file before SuperDuper runs. Since that file will be erased by SuperDuper and the corrupted file would have been copied over. Make sense? If you choose the "Smart Update" and schedule the clone once every few days, you have a small window to copy the untouched file from the Images 2 drive. If that sounds like a feature you'd like to have as a fail-safe, use "Smart Update." If not, use the default choice.

"Repairing Permissions" is one of those normal Mac-Maintenance things that should be done every once-and-awhile. Because the MacOS is based on an Operating System called Unix (Pronounced You-Knicks) it has things called "Permissions" on each of the files. Sometimes those Permissions get out of whack and need to be reset according to the "Master List" that the OS has records of. Basically, that setting is meant for how conservative do you want SuperDuper to be? Do you want it to repair permissions to the Images 1 EHD before it copies the files?

Since you are primarily backing up Photos and such, I'd say no. That's not to say that you should never repair permissions once-and-awhile, it's just every time seems a bit much.

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Ok Great that makes sense now. Thanks for all your help. Much appreciated. 

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