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Posted on: April 16, 2019

I had to do some serious troubleshooting on my wife’s Macbook Air over the weekend, so I am recording some notes here about:

  • Partitioning an external drive
  • Minimising dongle use
  • Reactivating Microsoft Office


macOS Disk Utility.

To create a two-partition external drive in macOS Mojave, run the Disk Utility:

  1. Set View to Show All Devices (Show Volumes does not allow partitioning)
  2. Select the device at the top level, not at the volume level.
  3. Format the device with the GUID scheme (the other options do not allow mixed partitioning, e.g., one Time Machine, one general storage).
  4. Create two partitions.

The newer Macbook line only has USB-C ports. This can mean investing in several new dongles or a one expensive all-in-one dongle or dock.

But if the only corded peripheral you need is a backup drive, one cheap option is a USB-C to Micro B cable. These can be surprisingly hard to find and range cost anywhere between S$5 and S$40.


After restoring a new laptop from an older one with Time Machine, most applications and their settings will also transfer. One exception is Microsoft Office that needs to be reactivated online.

After several frustrating and time-consuming attempts to reactivate Microsoft Office on the new laptop, I have found this to work:

  1. Visit the Office 365 site and remove the old laptops listed as still having Office installs.
  2. Download the license removal tool.
  3. Install and run the tool.
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. Launch any office application and reactivate the suite with an authorised log in.

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