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Can I add an external hard drive to my Apple Time Capsule?

Posted on 2015-02-24
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Last Modified: 2015-02-24
If the storage capacity of my Time Capsule is not keeping up with my needs, is there any way to purchase an external hard drive and somehow increase its total capacity?

Thank you.
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Question by:bbdesign
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by:Kimputer
Kimputer earned 250 total points
ID: 40628107
An external hard drive can be added through the USB port. However, it depends on your interpretation of "increase total capacity", if the outcome suits your needs.
That's because the second drive will show up as a seperate volume. You interpretation of "increase" could be that you intended the original volume to be increased, which is not the case.
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strung earned 250 total points
ID: 40628109
Just plug a large USB drive into the USB port of the Time Capsule. It will not extend the existing drive, but can be used to start a fresh set of backups. You can still then go back to the older backups on the original drive if you need to.

Before you connect the new drive to the TC, connect it to your Mac directly and use Disk Utility to format it as Mac Extended Format (Journalled). Give the volume a name you will remember (change it from "untitled")

Then connect it to your Time Capsule.

Go to Finder and pull down the Finder Menu to Finder Preferences. Under the Sidebar tab, make sure you have the box ticked for "connected servers".

Your Time Capsule should show up in the finder sidebar under "Shared" (Click "show" if it does not). When you click on the TC, it should now show "data" which is your TimeCapsule internal drive, as well as your new drive.

Now to use it, open the Time Machine preferences, click "Select Disk" and select your new disk. Then select "backup now".

This will create a full new backup. This may take hours and it is a good idea to be connected to your time capsule by ethernet while this is done as it will go faster. You might consider doing it overnight.
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Expert Comment

by:strung
ID: 40628112
Alternatively, you can archive the existing TimeCapsule backup to the external drive, then switch to it and continue incremental backups on the external drive. You can then erase the TimeCapsule's internal drive and use it for network storage:

http://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT1281
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by:bbdesign
ID: 40628141
Thanks guys. Yes, I think what I want to do is get an external drive for my main computer which needs the extra storage space. Then the existing TC should be able to handle the other two computers I have, which don't need as much backup storage.

My TC is 2TB. Any advice on a good-quality USB external drive? Its been a long while since I've needed to purchase a hard drive. Sorry if that question is sort of off-topic.

Thanks again for the advice!
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Kimputer
ID: 40628162
Any drive from the bigger brands will do (mostly Seagate/WD/Samsung). It could be one of those handy 2.5" ones where you don't need to find an external power plug nearby (USB cable is enough). These are 2TB max though. Under 100 bucks.
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