Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have an external HD that's about 60% full. The remaining space is more than enough for a Time Machine backup of my hard drive. If I enable Time Machine using that disc, will it erase my existing files, or just use the free space?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It will just use the free space but it won't backup the files on that disk as stated on the relevant Apple support document

Time Machine works best if you use your backup disk only for Time Machine backups. If you keep separate files on your backup disk, Time Machine won’t back up those files, and the space available for Time Machine backups will be reduced.

share|improve this answer

No it will not erase your existing files. Time machine will create a folder on your external hard drive called Backups.backupdb. This will contain your time machine backups. Once your disc space is full, time machine will start erasing old backups however so it can always store your most-recent backup.

share|improve this answer

No, it does not. It creates a Backups.backupdb/ directory for itself and leaves your other files untouched.

However, if (on Lion) you want to encrypt your backup it uses the same full-disc encryption as FileVault, and I think your other files on the disc will also be subject to that. (I haven't tried this myself.)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.