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Ok, I often use my external hard disk in other computers than mine, and I use it with Time Machine. So I want a solution for being able to do that as good as possible.

Things to consider:

  • Time Machine must run on it

  • Accessible data for Macs and PCs

  • Bootable for rescue

Maybe I'm going way too far, but I do consider those things as basic stuff that at least some hard disks could even already come along with.

I was thinking in some variation of this scheme:

  • 2 or 5GB Extended Journaled for my regular Mac OS Disc
  • 1 or 2GB FAT for some Windows Boot Disk and Windows files
  • 1 or 2GB either EXT3, 4 or maybe XFS for some kind of Ubuntu
  • a gParted "disk" (never really made any)
  • at last, all the resting for Data and Backup - probably Extended Non-Journaled

So the actual data would be like that for TM, and it would be easily acessible by booting to Ubuntu or installing the drivers on windows from the FAT partition.

I still don't know how should the Boot Record be, but I'll most likely use GUID Partition Table or GRUBS2 if possible.

Any suggestions? Any better solution? Any solution already made and ready to just "install" on the disk? :P

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I could be wrong here, but:

I don't think Intel Macs are bootable from the same sort of MBR that IBM compatibles ("PC" with BIOS) boot from. You may end up having to choose.

I don't believe there are any legacy BIOS machines that boot from EFI--I know you can boot Linux from an EFI box using ELILO, and maybe GRUB2 will do it. Windows 7 probably runs from EFI but that's no help to all the existing legacy BIOS boxes out there.

You may have better luck with booting from CD.

share|improve this answer
Yeah, maybe I'll have to drop the booting but, you see, I've included it there because the purpose is to be able to retrieve data from it. If I'm on somewhere that somehow can't access the HFS, I would like to be able to boot into my system to get them. Sure the CD is way more compatible, even because most old systems won't even boot from USB, but I think it is worth trying. – cregox Feb 18 '10 at 16:44

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