Turn Old Hard Drives Into Time Machines

July 26th, 2008

Apple / Mac

I’ve all but gutted my first Hackintosh — the Celeron D-powered war horse and by doing so, I saved myself some cash. While everyone’s running to buy the wireless Time Capsule device, I only have one machine i really need to back up and that’s my HackBook Pro I use at the office. Why waste cashola on a wireless hard drive when I can turn my old internal Time Machine drive into a backup solution for my portable Mac?

After searching the usual geek discount sites including TigerDirect, NewEgg and eBay, I settled on finding a great deal at a CompUSA retail store. It’s a silver aluminum 3.5″ IDE to USB hard drive enclosure. I know what you’re saying: “You have a SATA laptop, why slow things down with an IDE backup?” Well, it’s actually an EIDE (Like that makes a huge difference) but what I was doing before I bought this enclosure was backing up using the drive inside my Hackintosh — over the network. Ouch! I’m still using 10/100 Ethernet, so those backups were moving pretty slow even for IDE.

Now I’m hitting about 3X that speed through USB on the same Western Digital EIDE hard drive! Well worth the $19 I paid for it and it comes with a power adapter, USB cable, and the chip supports up to 750GB IDE drives. More than I’ll ever need since I have a smaller, older 160GB in it now and it’s doing great. I will warn you though, Time Machine gets picky with what drives you try to feed it via USB. Older drives, like my 120GB WD wouldn’t work correctly — kept erroring after only 50-100MB into the first backup. So play around with it, but once you find a drive that Time Machine “likes” in your external enclosure, you’re in business!

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About Richard

Richard is a professional web developer and business consultant. He opened his first web hosting company at the age of 13 out of his bedroom on an ISDN connection and hasn't looked back since. Richard currently resides in sunny Florida.

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