I currently have an external, HFS+ drive as my time machine storage that backs up my Macbook Pro Retina (Mac OS Mountain Lion 10.8.1). I also have another external NTFS drive (that I share with my Windows Desktop) which has all my photos etc which I would like to backup via Time Machine.

i.e. Current

Macbook Pro Retina ===> external Time Machine drive


Macbook Pro Retina ===\
                       +====> external Time Machine drive
External NTFS drive ==/

If I go into the Time Machine preferences, I see the external NTFS drive (as well as all other NTFS/HFS+ drives) inside the exclude list. I can also remove the NTFS drive of interest from this exclude list - thereby including it into the backup list.

The problem is that the settings aren't sticky. When I reenter the Time Machine preferences, the external NTFS drive is again seen on the exclude list. And the actual files themselves aren't backed up either.

So, how can I backup the data on my external NTFS drive via Time Machine?

  • I think Time Machine only supports HFS+, because it is hardcoded into the filesystem. EDIT: I have a solution if you can put the drive on a network. – duci9y Sep 7 '12 at 8:48
  • @duci9y Yes, putting the external NTFS drive on a network IS an option (on the desktop windows machine). What is your networked solution? – DeepSpace101 Sep 7 '12 at 20:05
  • Sorry, but I saw you were using Mountain Lion, the method only works on Snow Leopard, and its different from what you are trying to achieve. It only works for Bootcamp partitions and is not networked, I thought that wrong. – duci9y Sep 10 '12 at 9:09

The only way you could would be to hack the OS to recognize and handle the NTFS filesystem. If the content of the files were small, you could automate copying them using rsync or another tool to an HFS + extended volume (boot or otherwise), but this just isn't something Time Machine has the code to handle.

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