Backing up both Intel and PPC computers to the same Time Machine drive - Macenstein

Backing up both Intel and PPC computers to the same Time Machine drive

Faithful Macenstein reader Scott writes:


I just got a 750GB external hard drive with the intention to back up both my iMac and my older iBook G4. I installed Leopard on both to use Time Machine. I plugged in the hard drive to my iMac and have it backing that up. When I went to plug it into my iBook, it said it would erase the hard drive and then start backing up the iBook, which would then, obviously erase everything that I have backed up from my iMac. Have you or any of your readers come across a similar issue? I feel like it can be done somehow, but I’m not exactly sure how.


Hmm.. Well, Scott, would I be correct in assuming your iMac is a newer Intel based iMac? If so, my guess is that the Time Machine drive is formatted in the Intel-friendly GUID, which the older PPC iBook isn’t going to like. According to this Apple tech support article, Intel and Power PC Macs need to format their Time Machine drives differently (“Apple Partition Map” for PPC, and GUID” partition scheme for the Intels).

It would be nice if time Machine told you this, but what I would suggest doing, if possible, is trying to run Time Machine wirelessly from your iBook with the drive connected to your iMac. Mount the time Machine drive remotely, and try that. It should work, although your first backup will take a while (obviously, it would be smart to plug the iBook into an AC outlet before doing so). The only problem would be in order for this to work you’ll have to always back up the iBook while using the iMac as a “bridge”, of sorts.

Any other readers have any suggestions for Scott?

4 Responses to “Backing up both Intel and PPC computers to the same Time Machine drive”
  1. Kris says:


  2. Hmmm. Kris, can you have 2 partitions on the same drive formatted with different partition schemes?
    I’ve never tried that.

    -The Doc

  3. Dan says:

    How’s the iBook G4 coping with Leopard?

    These look like they could hold some answers, despite the fact they are for booting rather than storage.


  4. Matt says:

    The partition map scheme applies to all partitions on the drive (dur, it’s a map OF the partitions) so The Doc’s medicine won’t work. Ah well, drives are cheap as chips.

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