I have an external 500 GB hard drive that I used to use for Time Machine backups with my PowerBook G4 running OS X 10.5 (Leopard). However, I now use it with a white MacBook running 10.8 (Mountain Lion). The PowerBook backups are still on the drive (each machine gets its own directory by default), but I have not backed up the PowerBook since I started using the drive with the MacBook.

My question is, is it safe to do a backup of the PowerBook again? Does Time Machine in Mountain Lion do anything differently to the drive that would make it not work correctly with Leopard, or vice versa?

I ask because the PowerBook is finally failing (occasionally boots directly to a kernel panic) so I'd like to do one last backup before it bites the dust.

1 Answer 1


Yes - whether you have a USB or other direct drive or a network drive, Time Machine will cooperate with different Mac backing up to the same destination.

The only problem would be if you enabled FileVault on a direct attached drive since only Lion and later can read those.

  • I know I can backup two machines to the same drive; I'm more concerned with the fact that one is running 10.5 and the other 10.8. Sounds like it will be fine though (I don't use FileVault).
    – daGUY
    Dec 2, 2012 at 22:41
  • It will be fine. Inside the Backups.backupdb folder each machine will get it's own sub folder for all the backups relating to that machine.
    – bmike
    Dec 2, 2012 at 22:44

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