Merging old external USB drive to time capsule

I just got a time capsule and I want to know how and if possiable to take my existing USB external that I had been using for my time machine and copy it to my time capsule.
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yes, it can be done. The easiest way to do it is to use SuperDuper. The free version is sufficient for this task, but it's a great utility worth the money.

First ensure your computer has a name in System Preferences >> Sharing (This is required for the Time Capsule backup to work) and set up the Time Capsule using AirPort Utility, and then connect to the TC's drive in the Finder so you can see what files are on it (it should have none at this point). Leave this window open so you can see when a file with an extension of .sparsebundle appears after starting a backup.

Next, in System Preferences >> Time Machine, click Change Disk and select the Time Capsule and force TM to start a backup by going to the TM Icon in the Menu bar near the clock, click it and click "Back Up Now". Wait for that file with the .sparsebundle extension to appear and when it does, cancel the TM backup by going back to the TM icon in the menu bar and selecting "Stop Backing Up" and in System Preferences >> Time Machine, turn Time Machine off 9to prevent it trying to back up when you are doing the next steps, which will take a LONG time.

By the way, when you do these next steps, I HIGHLY recommend you are connected directly to the TC from the Mac using an ethernet cable - it will be SIGNIFICANTLY faster than WiFi!

Now, double click on the .sparsebundle file on the TC. It will now mount on your computer.

Next is where SuperDuper come in. Launch SuperDuper and set it like this:

Copy - set this to your OLD, EXISTING backup on the LaCie drive

To - Set this to the "Backup of [computer name]" on the Time Capsule

Using - "Backup - all files"

Click on the "Options" button in SuperDuper and select "Erase backup, then copy"

Double check, and then treble check you set everything correctly. Seriously. I rushed this once on one machine that I was replacing an external drive with and had the from and to locations reversed. I lost my old backup to that machine. :(

Anyhow, once you have double and treble checked and are 100% certain you have all the settings correct, click "Copy Now" and then go watch a marathon of Doctor Who as the backup is running. It is not crucial that it be Doctor Who that you watch. You can substitute Battlestar Gallactica or M*A*S*H if you prefer... :) The point is, it will take a LONG TIME to do this part...

Anyhow, when it finishes, go back to System Preferences >> Time Machine and re-enable Time Machine, again, double checking the target is the Time Capsule and then open Time Machine from the Dock (this will load slowly - slower than it did on the local LaCie drive - be patient!) and make sure all the data is present. If all is well, and I expect it to be (it's worked everytime - except the one time I was an idiot - for me and I have done this about 20 times or so).

Now, you have moved your backups and they incremental backups each hour should be fine going forward.

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Member_2_4942450Author Commented:
could this work with a time cap that is backing up two laptops?

Laptop A is the only one I had been using an external for and laptop B is so new that I hadent really been doing many backups with it
Yes, it will work for multiple backups, because each backup would have it's OWN .sparsebundle. Each machine will only back up to it's own sparsebundle, recognizing it by name. I don't know if there is a technical limit to how many machines can use on Time Capsule (though there is a practical limit due to performance limiting factors. In fact, the TC was designed specifically for being a backup destination of multiple Macs.

If you do migrate two backup sets from two different computer, after doing the first one, just be EXTRA, EXTRA careful that when you do the SuperDuper step, you don't replace the wrong SparseBundle on the TC since SuperDuper WILL LET you. Time Machine will not use the wrong one however so long as both computers have different names in System Preferences >> Sharing
Member_2_4942450Author Commented:
I am not at my home network yet but when I get back from UK I will check it out. On the plane now heading back. I will report tomorrow. thanks
Member_2_4942450Author Commented:
Great Answer
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