Can a limited portion of the disk (e.g., 50%) be allocated to Time Machine, leaving the remaining disk for customized file storage?

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    The short answer is yes. For best results you may want to repartition the LaCie Hard Drive into two or more partitions. This will allow you to give each partition a distinct designation/name (e.g., Time Machine, Music, Misc.). OS X will then see each partition as an independent drive with limited capacity, load or eject them accordingly, and prevent Time Machine from overwriting your "customized files" if its backups become too big.
    If you decide to repartition the LaCie, you can use Disk Utility (in the Utilities folder) for the purpose. Just make sure that you don't store any files on the external drive before. Disk Utility will erase everything on the disk when repartitioning it.
    I don't know for a fact, but don't think the LaCie comes with software that would allow you to repartition it without losing the apps (LaCie Private-Public, Eco Mode, etc.) already installed.

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