Backup Multiple Mac Partitions – Time Machine or Drive Cloning

Time Machine can backup multiple internal or external drives as well as partitions simultaneously, which are directly connected but are unable to do data backup on any network. A single partition is referred as volume. Time Machine can be used for backing up of multiple volumes in Mac. Another option alternate to Time Machine is to clone the Mac drive.

Time Machine can back up all internal drives, irrespective of the type, whether it is SSD or a HD. The user has the choice of exclusion of a volume, if a backup is not required. All external drives are in the excluded list. Therefore, they need to be removed for the exclusion list, in case they are to be backed up.

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If there is an erasure or restoration of volume, then it gets treated as a different one and need to be excluded again.

If there is an external drive and that is not connected, Time Machine goes with its all other normal activities, by skipping this drive. With the availability of the same drive, after a period, Time Machine has the system of backing up, what is new or changed, since the last backup happened.


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The backup for the Mac contains the backup of the volumes. There are some issues, which are associated with the backup of the multiple OS X volumes and Mac drive cloning. These are as follows:

  • The best option is the backing up separately and in different volumes. The drives can reside on different partitions of the same drive or they can be altogether different drives. This is considered the safety factors.
  • Backup from the same OS X volumes will ensure that when the Time Machine is switched
    Off from another volume and lot of changes are incorporated, then back up is not done till
    One switches to the other volume, where Time Machine is running.
  • Backing up of both OS X volumes, but in different volumes is made possible by a dual
    Backup system, either with the Time Machine or using another app.

How to View the Backup?

When the user enters Time Machine from the Finder Window, the backups for the volume is shown in the Finder Window. We can also view the backups for different volumes. The volume needs to be selected, even before we enter the Time Machine. The Finder Sidebar is used for displaying all the volumes, which are connected to the Mac. The user’s computer needs to be shown on the selected Finder bar. When the backup is done, then the sidebar will display all the connected disks and partitions. The chosen one is selected in the side bar. If it is not displayed in the sidebar, then we need to select the folder.


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How to restore entire volumes?

The restoration process operates for the OS X volumes or the data-only volumes. The OS X volumes can be restored form the Restore from Time Machine Backup option. The data-only volumes need the ‘Star Wars’ display of Time Machine.

Transferring with Volume Assistant or Migration Assistant

The volumes that have OS X installed are recognized by this. A new Mac can be set up from the backup of multiple volumes, with the help of this Setup Assistant or Migration Assistant.

Alternative to Time Machine

Another option is not to use Time Machine but the cloning of Mac drives. This is made possible with professional software for cloning the hard drive and the logical volumes, through the formation of an image file. The image file will lead to the restoration of the data pertaining to data loss or inaccessibility of the data.

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