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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes System
I wanted to use Time Machine on my exFAT hard drive, but turns out that these volumes aren't supported from Time Machine! There is a very simple way to use Time Machines on unsupported hard drives, as long as you follow these instructions carefully you shouldn't have any issues at all.

First, connect the unsupported volume (in this case, an exFAT external hard drive.) When it mounts, open the Terminal and type these commands, substituting 'My External HDD Name' for the name of the unsupported volume.

cd /Volumes
cd 'My External HDD Name'


Next, type this code, substituting for your needs:

hdiutil create -size 320g -type SPARSEBUNDLE -fs "HFS+J" MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle
open MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle


Here, a 320GB sparse bundle named 'MacBook-Backup' is being made and mounted. You can change these values as you see fit. From herein, I'll refer to the sparse bundle name as 'MacBook-Backup'.

After you've run these commands, a new volume named untitled will appear on your Desktop. This will become your Time Machine backup volume. If you want, rename it to something else (I called mine MacBook Pro Backup) and run the command:

diskutil list

You should see a list appear of all connected volumes. Find your new volume's name and read along until you find the disk identifier. In this case, my identifier is disk2s2, but yours may be different.

Finally, enter the commands below (entering your password if prompted). Replace disk2s2 with your identifier, and 'MacBook Pro Backup' with the name of your new Time Machine volume.

sudo diskutil enableOwnership /dev/disk2s2
sudo tmutil setdestination '/Volumes/MacBook Pro Backup'


Now, open the Time Machine preference pane in System Preferences, and turn Time Machine on. That's it - you've set up Time Machine with an unsupported volume!

[crarko adds: I'd suggest having a known good backup handy before trying any procedure like this, just in case. If Time Machine recognizes the volume you should be good. The hint resembles what has been done using network volumes. If you do try this out please post your experience to the comments.]
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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: redfood on Apr 17, '14 08:47:38AM

I can't believe Mac OS X Hints has stooped so low as to require readers to answer a marketing poll before viewing an article.

No wonder almost no one contributes to this site anymore.



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: drudus on Apr 17, '14 10:29:38AM

Use adblockers & anti tracking extensions to skip this nonsence.

I know the site loses out if we block adverts, however I refuse to participate in lame surveys to see content.
Rethink the purpose of your site - ad revenue or useful Mac hints?
Do you have readers or 'streams of income'?

I guess we should expect nothing better from Macworld, I stopped reading your Macworld articles when you started autoplaying video adverts. Spamming MacKeeper adverts over your site helps Mac users install crapware.



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: stottm on May 08, '14 10:51:50AM

Ads? Auto-playing videos? Mandatory Survey's? Evil Tracking Cookies? What is this junk of which you speak?

Oh wait, I installed the plugin from ghostery.com and POOF, no more garbage. I also installed a FlashBlocker so no more auto-playing video ads either.

I would not mind white-listing Macworld but seriously, the advertisements are horrible... I'll suspend the blocks now and then for awhile until I am reminded why enabled them in the first place.



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: stottm on May 08, '14 11:09:57AM

List of stuff blocked by Ghostery on an article on Macworld.com which is far worse than Hints.

Adify
BlueKai
Brightcove
Casale Media
Centro
ChartBeat
Demand base
Doto mi
DoubleClick
DoubleClick Spotlight
Eloqua
eXelate
Facebook Connect
Facebook Social Plugins
Gigya Socialize
Google Adsense
Google Analytics
Google+ Platform
Integral Ad Science
Korrelate
Krux Digrtal
Linkedln Widgets
Lota me
Matomy Market
Media Optimizer (Adobe)
Moat
NetRatings SrteCensus
Omniture (Adobe Analytics)
OpenX
Outbrarn
Pinterest
PubMatic
PulsePoint
Ouantcast
RadiumOne
Reddit
Research Now
ScoreCard Research Beacon
SimpleReach
Simpli fi
Sizmek
TradeDesk
TRUSTe Notice
Twitter Badge
Twitter Button
T ypekit by Adobe
ValueClick Mediaplex
Viglink



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: Supp0rtLinux on Apr 17, '14 11:24:34AM

This is handy... you're basically making a filesystem within a filesystem. If you google around a bit, there's way of making that sparse bundle file dynamic in size and encrypted too. I do this on an external drive. The entire drive is HFS, but within I have a dynamically expanding and encrypted sparse bundle on it. Works out pretty well as I don't have to "reserve" a certain amount of the space of the source drive... allows me to use the rest of the drive as I see fit. In the old days, I had a 1Tb drive setup like this with 500Gb for general storage and 500Gb as my encrypted sparse image file. But the sparse image was only 200Gb full while the other 500Gb partition was almost full. That's when I redid it to have the sparse bundle grow dynamically. The basic idea is laid out here: http://www.cnet.com/news/how-to-set-up-a-dynamically-resizing-disk-image I think this would work well for your idea as well. Just bear in mind that not all filesystems will support this. exFat will. So will HFS. NTFS will work too if you pay for the options to get write support for NTFS in OS X. But regular FAT won't due to max length for filenames, etc. Just be aware of the limitations of the underlying unsupported filesystem.



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: Strod on Apr 18, '14 02:32:32PM

Another limitation of FAT32 that people may want to take into consideration if they want to use the hint is this:

While under some circumstances a FAT32 volume can be up to 2 TB (IIRC), a Disk Image created on it is limited to at most ~ 500 GB.

The reason is this: Files in FAT32 can be at most 4GB, so the only way to get a Disk Image greater than that is to make is a Sparse Bundle. BUT:

Sparse Bundles store the contents in "bands", that is, files that are at most 8 MB (that's 8 x 1024^2 bytes). So far, so good. But all the bands are saved in the same subdirectory, and AFAIK FAT32 can hold at most 65,535 files in a single directory.

65,535 files * 8 MB per file = 512 GB (where 1 GB = 1024^3 bytes). So your internal filesystem can hold less than that at most.



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: davidallie on Apr 22, '14 07:04:26AM

Thanks for the info and link, Supp0rtLinux. The CNET article was helpful. As I read it, I wondered about the differences between sparse disk image and sparse bundle disk image, so did a search and came across a really good article by Mike Bombich (of Carbon Copy Cloner) that describes the differences between the two types.

Better yet, Mike provides an applet that will compress sparse bundle disk images. Check it out here: http://help.bombich.com/kb/dmg-and-remote/backing-up-to-a-disk-image

Edited on Apr 22, '14 07:04:55AM by davidallie



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: idontwanttoregis on Apr 17, '14 05:51:52PM

Does it work well though? Is it safe? :P



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: msadesign on Apr 20, '14 04:32:56AM

"I guess we should expect nothing better from Macworld, I stopped reading your Macworld articles when you started autoplaying video adverts. Spamming MacKeeper adverts over your site helps Mac users install crapware."

Macworld explained elsewhere that auto play was due to some overzealous marketing types (and it's gone). I for one give them the space they need to make the various sites work- as in figuring out how to make them pay. Nothing wrong with that. When they do some dumb stuff, as in the aforementioned 'survey', just cut them a new one- but realize that the content remains pretty good over the sites they manage. The net is still a very new place.

I'd like to see more here, too, but I check it everyday and learn something fairly often.



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: drudus on Apr 20, '14 09:10:43AM

I'm afraid the autoplaying adverts isn't gone, check this in Safari 5.1 on OS X
http://www.macworld.com/article/2138470/how-to-get-started-in-podcasting-sharing-the-results.html

The sidebar has an autoplaying video advert with sound. The sidebar item is titled 'How to videos' which is Macworld.com's own content - so much for blaming the 'other marketing types'.

Generally Macworld content is good, but hunting down which tab is playing this junk makes me want to kill all adverts - everyone loses.



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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes
Authored by: satcomer on Apr 25, '14 03:42:05AM

The hint came from this older blog post Configuring OS X Mountain Lion Time Machine to Work With CIFS (SMB) Share: http://rajiv.sg/blog/2012/11/19/configuring-os-x-mountain-lion-time-machine-to-work-with-cifs-smb-share/



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