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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 04:18 PM   #1
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New backup strategy / please recommned

Hello, I have Macbook 3.1 with a 320 GB internal HD, an external FW400 drive with about 220 GBs and a WD 1TB USB 2.0 drive.

A while back I abandoned Time Machine because I was afraid it would eat up all my external HD space. My parents all still using TM with their Time Capsule and getting good results. Also, I learned on this forum that you can use TM to roll back versions of software, which I was unaware of. Also, I'm a big fan of bootable clones but have struggled (haven't) to create one recently because my LaCie FW drive is too small to contain the data on my internal HD at this time.

My current backup strategy is pretty inefficient. I've got a few copies of my HD and certain directories that I backup individually (such as my music folder because it is invaluable to me). The backups are not bootable, because I need to store them on my 1TB drive along side other data (such as movies and other stuff I don't need on my internal HD). So right now I can fit about 2 copies just to be safe (totalling 500GB +) and then I have a little less than half a TB for separate folders/files and large files (installers/media) that I don't want to keep on my HD. Also, I don't want to have to format my 1TB drive and try to partition it to create a bootable clone.

Here's my idea for a new backup strategy:

I'd like to use my 1TB drive with TM. I don't need separate copies with TM because it tracks changes in data and I can always go back and find files I shouldn't have deleted, if necessary. Anyway, I'm sure TM will take less space than trying to store redundant copies of my whole HD. I also want to use my Lacie FW400 drive to create a bootable clone of my HD. However, since my internal HD contains more data than can be stored on my Lacie drive, is it possible to create a partial backup that contains mainly system files and excludes media (like my iTunes library for example)? This would give me a means of booting externally in a crisis and even salvaging media from my TM backup, in case my internal HD is damaged/fails/stolen.

Also, I've been using carbon copy cloner with good results for a while. I used to be on superduper! but I think I switched over because of compatibility issues in the early days of Leopard and never looked to switch back. Which backup application (aside from TM) do you recommend? CCC or SD! or another?

Is my new backup strategy a sensible one? Thanks for your suggestions, I apologize for the long post.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 05:33 PM   #2
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I have been using SuperDuper since Tiger and never had an issue with it. SuperDuper does cost money but you can do bootable backups of the whole HD, or just user files. It can also be scheduled to do backups and it will just update the backup which it calls "Smart Backups". Anyway, SuperDuper will work for you. I cannot speak for CCC since I have not used it. But CCC is free.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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CCC does fine. I can't say I've compared it to SD! in a speed test for example but it works and it's free so why pay for SD!? The functions like scheduled backups are interesting but useless to me since I don't have a NAS and need to physically plug in my drives for backups, thus everything is set to manual, even TM.

Thanks for the suggestion! Cheers.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 06:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat McCrotch View Post
CCC does fine. I can't say I've compared it to SD! in a speed test for example but it works and it's free so why pay for SD!? The functions like scheduled backups are interesting but useless to me since I don't have a NAS and need to physically plug in my drives for backups, thus everything is set to manual, even TM.

Thanks for the suggestion! Cheers.

CCC (my favourite) latest versions are VERY fast, especially for incremental backups, and it also has an option for a saved "schedule" to only run when the specified backup drive is attached.

You don't need to anything manually for it to run and do its thing. Just connect your backup drive, and unmount it before disconnecting it.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 06:31 PM   #5
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Sorry, I forgot to answer your question "However, since my internal HD contains more data than can be stored on my Lacie drive, is it possible to create a partial backup that contains mainly system files and excludes media (like my iTunes library for example)?'

Just open CCC, and on the left panel where "everything" is shown and listed, CAREFULLY go through the list and uncheck any of your data you don't want CCC to backup.

Save to create a new schedule with an appropriate name and options wanted set and uncheck the old schedule or delete it if you won't need it again.

Another option is to just buy another larger drive for ALL your data backup. Having two or more backups is definitely NOT considered excessive, especially if your data has any value to you!!!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 07:02 PM   #6
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CCC does fine. I can't say I've compared it to SD! in a speed test for example but it works and it's free so why pay for SD!?
For the same reason you should make a donation to the author of CCC.
So they will-can stay in business and keep us supplied with top quality software.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 07:20 PM   #7
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For the same reason you should make a donation to the author of CCC.
So they will-can stay in business and keep us supplied with top quality software.

100% +1!!!!

I donated four times the suggested donation amount years ago and I dare say that would be a minimum suggestion amount. Especially those who use CCC with and on multiple Macs.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 07:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat McCrotch View Post
CCC does fine. I can't say I've compared it to SD! in a speed test for example but it works and it's free so why pay for SD!? The functions like scheduled backups are interesting but useless to me since I don't have a NAS and need to physically plug in my drives for backups, thus everything is set to manual, even TM.

Thanks for the suggestion! Cheers.
Why would you want to pay for SuperDuper? That's easy. It's got absolutely superb support from its developer Dave Nanian. CCC support and updates have never been as good or as prompt. I switched a number of years ago from CCC to SD and am glad that I did.

As for doing a partial bootable backup, I'd bite the bullet and just get a bigger HD for that external enclosure and then make complete cloned backups of your HD. I encourage people to have a cloned backup (or two) and a TM backup - and if you only have one, make sure it's a clone. Why? Because you cannot get up and running again immediately if you have only a TM backup, because it's not bootable. You're SOL until such time as you get a new HD installed in your laptop and can reinstall the OS and then, and only then, recover your files using TM. Of course, much depends on what you use your Mac for. If it's for work and essential to your day to day functioning, then being without a working cloned backup is just foolish, IMHO. Hard drives die, more often than any other internal component of a computer.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 08:36 PM   #9
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Why would you want to pay for SuperDuper? That's easy. It's got absolutely superb support from its developer Dave Nanian. CCC support and updates have never been as good or as prompt. I switched a number of years ago from CCC to SD and am glad that I did.

As for doing a partial bootable backup, I'd bite the bullet and just get a bigger HD for that external enclosure and then make complete cloned backups of your HD. I encourage people to have a cloned backup (or two) and a TM backup - and if you only have one, make sure it's a clone. Why? Because you cannot get up and running again immediately if you have only a TM backup, because it's not bootable. You're SOL until such time as you get a new HD installed in your laptop and can reinstall the OS and then, and only then, recover your files using TM. Of course, much depends on what you use your Mac for. If it's for work and essential to your day to day functioning, then being without a working cloned backup is just foolish, IMHO. Hard drives die, more often than any other internal component of a computer.
Thanks for the insight on Superduper!

As far as bootable clones go, you're preaching to the choir! My first Macbook was a lemon and many things failed in it (my HD failed twice). The second time my HD failed I happily used a clone as my main HD for about a week until apple was able to replace my Macbook under warranty.

However, I fail to see the clear advantage of having my full iTunes library, movies, iphoto library etc on my cloned HD. Couldn't I still access all that stuff from my TM backup if my internal HD died?

The way I see it I've got a way out for every HD failure in my setup.
internal fails -> boot from FW Lacie drive and use media on the 1TB USB drive
1TB or LaCie drive fails -> trash it and backup again from internal to a new HD.

I'd like to point out one shortcoming of CCC. I have been attempting pm-r's suggestion of unchecking certain boxes in the left hand column (like itunes library, movies, downloads, trash) and other things that aren't essential on my clone and still it takes account of 100% of the data when clicking the clone button. I have about 250 GB of data and it's still says that my 250 some GBs of data can't be copied to my 220GB hard drive, even with all the big folders unchecked (iTunes is more than 80-90Gbs itself). After clicking "proceed anyways", only then will CCC run a scan to se what needs to be copied or not from the source drive. Kinda annoying. I wish there was some kind of count on the bottom left that would read "200GB selected" or something like that. Those are common in installers that give you an update of the amount of data that will be installed depending on the configuration of your install (like choosing not to install certain language packs when installing OS X for example)
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 11:08 PM   #10
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I'll agree with Paddy's suggestion 110% , as I also suggested get a bigger single cloned backup drive for ALL your existing Mac's data.

Sure you can sometimes get access to some of your data as you suggest, until your Mac OS X determines that you don't have proper permissions to access the data, besides having to have all the extra drives with your data connected to maybe provide access that can often be a real PITA to get things reliably working when you can have ALL your data readily available, permissions all intact by using a larger backup hard drive and save yourself a LOT of extra time and make things a bit easier and quicker for your use.
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