ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

Friday, March 8, 2013

Can I Use an Toshiba External Hard Drive Without Automatic Backup?

Many years ago I wrote this post on Reformating your HD for Mac Operations after I bought one, realized it was formatted for Windows and the instruction manual was useless in terms of what to do with it.  A quick search on Google found such helpful suggestions as:

1. Send it back
2. Get rid of your Mac and switch to Windows


I wrote the post not only to help anyone else who might have the same problem, but so that when I bought a second (or in my case THIRD) external Hard Drive I'd be able to find how to do it using my own instructions.

Recently I bought this great Toshiba Hard Drive on eBay for less than half retail of what they sell for on Amazon-- and Amazon has the best prices, about 2/3 of what brick and mortar stores sell them for.

The woman selling (unopened) told me that she sold it because she wanted something as only an external storage device, not one that automatically backed up the system, and that she had a Mac and this was "only for Windows".

Can you see a trend here?

So I bought it, and despite having written the post about formatting your External HD which comes up as #1 on Google I was still wondering if I'd be able to use this, since I wanted it for the exact same reasons she did, and it says right there on the box AUTOMATIC BACKUP.

But sure enough, you don't have to use this for the intended purpose.  You can set it up as simply a drag and drop external storage device.  I wanted this one for my laptop, since I often have raw files that can be up to 2GB in size, and finished work needs to be stored safely and simply and using an external HD I can do that by creating internal folders of my own naming to make things easy.

I won't go through the whole reformatting sequence, since you can read the original post-- but three things of extreme importance:

1. When you first plug it in opt to DECIDE LATER when it asks if you want to backup your whole system.
2. The reformatting itself can take quite a few minutes, resist the temptation to think it's not working, damage can and will occur if you stop it.
3. FOLLOW my instructions step by step-- to the letter.  Don't skip around, don't assume you understand it, it's written in plain non techie language and it will work.

I've done this with about a dozen hard-drives now (three are mine), and there are some 120+ successful commenters on the original post, but mixed in there are a handful of people who were unsuccessful, but if you read through their problem they did not follow the instructions.

So pay not attention to that writing on the box-- you can get one of these automatic backup devices and make it work the way YOU want it to.