Partitioning New My Book Studio LX ext. drive & making Apple software upgrades (long note)

We have an iMac (7,1) that is several years old, 2 G Hz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, with 232 GB internal hard drive (224 GB used), runs Mac OS X 10.5.8, which has become noticeably slower in its operations. It is used mostly for iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, some school work using Word for Mac, surfing using Foxfire or Safari, Netflix (DVD Player for disks and Netflix Now for streaming, to external LCD). Given that it is summer, I’ve decided to add an external hard drive and update relevant software.

I’ve purchased a 2TB Western Digital My Book Studio LX for Mac, says it is already formatted for Mac. Based on reading various postings, my initial plan is to partition this new and previously unused hard drive into 3 parts – 1) First, Backup for the iMac, with an allocation of 1.2 TB for use with Time Machine; 2) Second, all iTunes music files, with an allocation of .4 TB; 3) Third, all Photos and personal movies/videos, with an allocation of .4 TB, formatted FAT (??) so I could swap photos files between Mac and PC.

I would not be using WD Smartware software to do this, nor to manage the external hard drive once everything is installed and updated. In many of the different postings, running the WD software seems to create problems that a normal everyday user like me can’t solve. I would use Time Machine to back up existing Mac files. I have no backup at this point, I know I am really exposed on this.

The software upgrades for the iMac I’m thinking about are OS X Lion and iLife ’11.

The sequence of steps I see based on my interpretation of various at this time:

  1. Connect WD hard drive (via Firewire 800) and create the 3 desired partitions on the new external hard drive, using Disk Utility application and process on Mac (, WD Knowledge Base, Answer ID 3865). Would format First and Second Partitions with GUID format for Intel processor on MAC, would format third partition in FAT format. Won’t install nor use the WD Smartware.

  2. Would use Time Machine to manually backup existing Mac files to First partition.

  3. Would copy, not move iTunes files from internal hard drive to external hard drive. Would use this drive as the main iTunes file going forward.

  4. Would copy, not move, photos to Third Parition.

  5. Would get upgrade to Mac OS X Lion

  6. Would get iLife ’11

7)Would use Time Machine to manually back up everything again, and then set for regular backups.

Are there problems or flaws in my understanding of how works or in my sequence?

The only problem I see is that Apple suggests for a Time Machine drive to be clean with no additional partitions, info and no additional data other than Time Machine data…

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