If you read my previous post about how to format an external hard drive, you know that I bought a 2TB Seagate Expansion external drive and managed to create two partitions on the disk — one for Mac backup purposes, and the other for personal use.
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In this article, I’m going to show you how to backup your Mac data to an external drive. You should backup 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 the High Sierra update. You may also be interested in taking a look at the issues I encountered during that process just in case you also want to upgrade your Mac to the latest macOS.
Please note that the backup tool that I used is Time Machine, a built-in app provided by Apple. If you want to backup your Mac data without using Time Machine, there are also alternatives worth considering.
Where is Time Machine on Mac?
As I said, Time Machine is a built-in app within macOS ever since OS X 10.5. To find it, click on the Apple logo on the top left corner of your screen, then select System Preferences.
In the Preferences Pane, you’ll see the app located between “Date & Time” and “Accessibility”.
What does Time Machine Backup?
Time Machine is definitely the easiest way to backup Mac. In addition, 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! Photos, videos, documents, applications, system files, accounts, preferences, messages, you name it: They all can be backed up by Time Machine. You can then restore your data from a Time Machine snapshot. To do so, first open Finder, then Applications, and click on Time Machine to continue.
Be aware that the recovery process can be only be conducted when your Mac is bootable.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Backing up Mac to an External Hard Drive
Note: the screenshots below are taken based on macOS 10.12.5 Sierra. If your Mac has High Sierra or an older version, differences may exist, but the process should look similar to what’s displayed below.
Step 1: Connect your external hard drive.
First, use the USB cable (or USC-C cable if you’re on a newest Mac model with Thunderbolt 3 ports) that comes with your external drive to connect that drive to your Mac. Once the disk icon shows up on your desktop (if it doesn’t, open Finder > Preferences > General, and here make sure you’ve checked “External disks” to let them show on the desktop), move on to Step 2.
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 hours
After 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. Instead, go back to the main desktop, locate the volume that your external hard drive represents, right-click and select Eject. Then, you can safely unplug the device and put it in a safe place.
One More Thing
Like any other hardware device, an external hard drive will fail sooner or later. It is advisable 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. I now use IDrive (read our full review here), and I really like it because the app is so easy to use, and it also allows me to back up my Facebook albums and photos automatically. Backblaze and Carbonite are also popular options in the market, though I have 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, especially when my mid-2012 MacBook hard drive died all of a sudden. I’ve also seen cases where my friend’s computer and hard drive failed. You can imagine their desperation. Without a proper backup, it’s really hard to restore data. Although you could try a third-party recovery program like Prosoft Data Rescue and Stellar Mac Data Recovery, chances are they won’t get all your lost data back.
Anyway, the main takeaway I want you to have from this article is this: Backup your Mac with Time Machine and create a second or third copy of those backups if you can.
With a huge increase in the trend of making personal computer thinner and thinner, most of the companies nowadays are eliminating one of the most important functions of the computer, and that is none other that the CD/DVD drive itself! Now, the CD/DVD drives are not that thin, as compared to the computer itself and hence, they do not fit in the computer. So, to solve this problem, the best alternative is to buy an external DVD burner for your Mac or Windows PC. But wait, there are way too many external DVD burner or USB DVD burner out there in the market. So, which is the best DVD burner that you should buy? Don't worry, we have listed the top 10 best external DVD burner for Mac as well as for Windows.
Recommended DVD Burner Software for Mac and Windows
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Part 1. Top 5 Best External DVD Burner for Mac
#1. The USB Super Drive by Apple
If you are using a Mac, then chances are that you will most of the accessories made by Apple and the USB Super Drive is one of those accessories that is manufactured by Apple. With an incredible design and thin look, this USB Super Drive will never disappoint you. Like the Mac, this USB Super Drive has an aluminium body and will look like it is a part of the Mac. But like all other Apple devices, this will not come at a cheap price. If you buy it, then this device will add to the beauty of the Mac. Also, if you want something that matches the design of the Mac, then this currently the only option.
#2. The Ultra Slim Portable Drive by LG
If you do not want to spend a lot of money behind a DVD drive, then this Ultra Slim portable Drive by LG is the best option for you. This Drive has excellent looks and most importantly, this drive supports M-Discs. M-Discs are nothing but a most durable Disc which lasts way longer than the traditional Discs that we use. So, for those who transfer really important data and cannot change their Discs much, then they can buy an M-Disc and use this drive to use the M-Disc. Remember, not all the DVD drives support M-Disc.
#3. The Ultra Slim DVD Drive by Samsung
This Drive is probably the best substitute for the LG's Ultra Slim Drive. This is also slimmer the LG's DVD Drive and looks excellent. Amazingly, even after being a DVD Drive, this device is only 14mm thick! This DVD drive is the slimmest DVD Drive currently available in the market. But if you are thinking that is drive must be expensive, then you are wrong! This DVD Drive is even cheaper than the LG's DVD Drive.
#4. Slim External Drive by Asus
This DVD drive is a bit different that the others mentioned here. All the other DVD drive has slots in them where you can enter the Disc, kind of like a SIM Card Slot. But this DVD Drive has a Disc Tray where you can put the Disc, and then press the button on the Drive to insert the Disc in the Drive. If you are a fan of this function, then you should definitely buy this Drive but be advised that this DVD Drive is a bit thicker than the other Drives mentioned here.
#5. The Slim Blu Ray Drive by Samsung
If you use a lot of Blu Ray Discs, then this Slim Blu Ray Drive by Samsung is the best option and the biggest advantage of this Drive is that it supports Blu Ray Discs. But don't think that you can get this Drive at a cheap price. Since it supports Blu Ray Discs, it costs similar to the Apple's Super Drive. Also, one of the most amazing features of this DVD Drive is that it consumes a lot less power than the other DVD Drives.
Part 2. Top 5 Best External DVD Burner for Windows
#1. The Smasung Slim External DVD Drive
External Cd Drive For Macbook Pro 2019
This DVD Drive is one of the most fastest DVD Drives currently available in the market and moreover, this DVD Drive supports Blu Ray! This has a USB 2.0 interface and also has a Disc Tray and is only 12.7 mm thick. This device is very slim and very attractive.
#2. The Asus External DVD Drive
This DVD Drive is one the most newest DVD drive available in the market and is extremely fast. This DVD Drive also supports Blu Ray and is very much beautiful. If you are looking for something slim and beautiful, then this might be the device that you should buy. This DVD Drive has very high quality and fast burning speed.
#3. The LG Super Multi Drive
This DVD Drive has a unique curved design and is very beautiful. This is very compact and weighs only 380 grams. This DVD Drive is also consumes a lot less power than the other drives and has a USB 2.0 interface.
#4. The Samsung External DVD Drive
This DVD Drive is an excellent looking device and has the latest USB interface, that is USB 3.0. This drive also has Disc Tray and has an incredible design. This drive is also extremely thin, only 14mm and is very lightweight.
#5. The Dell External DVD Drive
This DVD Drive is very easy to use and is fairly slim and good looking. It is only 14mm this and weighs around 200 grams. This Drive comes pre loaded with the Cyber Link Media Player and uses very less power.