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Mac OS X: stop asking me to use new disks for Time Machine

Posted by Lou TarDisk on 2017-06-14


All Mac users should set up Time Machine backups to ensure they have their data and MacOS X installation saved. You can always use an external hard drive called Time Capsule or any network drive for a Time Machine backup.

But what can get annoying is when Time Machine will ask you if you'd like to set up a new HD as a Time Machine backup every time you connect an external drive to your Mac. Basically, if you plug in a blank drive to a Mac, a dialog box will be triggered asking: “Do you want to use (drive name) to back up with Time Machine?” With two different options: “Use as backup disk” or “Don’t Use”.

Here, we'll show you how to disable this box without making any changes to Time Machine's settings – though if you're just a casual Mac user, it's probably a good idea not to try this, since it involves making changes via the command line.

How to disable Time Machine - Use New Drive Setup Requests in Mac OS X

  • Open Terminal from /Applications/Utilities/ and enter the following syntax:

defaults write DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool true

  • Press Return Key for changes to take effect. After it finishes, exit out of Terminal
  • Connect a new hard disk to the Mac, and you will see that OS X will no longer display the “Would you like to setup Time Machine:” prompt

How to Re-Enable Time Machine - New Disk Backup Requests in Mac OS X

Now, if you disabled the screen and want to return OS X to its default state, use these defaults command string:

defaults write DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool false

Remember, if you hit the Return key the changes will take effect. Now the Mac will again offer to use a new disk as a Time Machine backup drive as a default option.

Regardless of which settings you choose, you should always backup your Mac on a regular basis. Don’t forget, backing your files up is a big deal.

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