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Carbon Copy Cloner

Hard Drive Back-up For Macintosh

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Fast, Easy Back-ups For the Macintosh

  • Apr 9, 2011
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By now, almost everyone understands the wisdom of performing regular back-ups of your hard drive.  With the Macintosh, OSX, Time Machine can mostly automate this process. 

I always back up to an external hard drive.  This way, if the worst should happen, I can quickly grab the external and run.  This has never happened to me, but fires, floods, earthquakes, lightning strikes, and natural disasters do happen.  

I have a very erratic schedule so i rarely back up  at the same time each day.  I also never turn my external hard drive on except for back ups or the occasional recovery of a file when I need the previous version.  This protects me from the rare, but still possible, destructive malware attack.  A powered-off drive is less susceptible to power brown-outs (potentially more damaging than surges) and the lightning strike.

For about three years now, I've been using Carbon Copy Cloner, (CCC) a shareware product from Bombich Software (www.bombich.com).  This nifty program allows you to either schedule back-ups automatically, manually, clone the entire drive or copy selected folders.  It works on all the three Macs I have from a G4 PowerBook running OSX 10.4.n to the latest version of 10.6.n.  With Intel Macs, you can actually boot your system from the cloned USB drive.  Power PC Macs do not support booting from USB drives but will from a Firewire drive.

The first time you clone a large drive, it may take quite a while depending upon your processor speed and how much data is involved.  Subsequent back ups are much faster as CCC only copies changed files by examining the metadata for files.  It also deletes files on the cloned drive no longer found on the main drive.  So, if you have files you want to save that are no longer on your main drive, they should be copied to a different drive or a partition on the external.  As I have a 1.5 TB external divided into three partitions, this isn't a problem.

All back-ups are performed in the background with very minimal effect on system performance.  I was doing a back-up that I began after I started writing this review and it is finished already.  But I have only added a few music videos since yesterday, so it probably took longer to decide what to copy than it did to do it.

CCC has been totally reliable, updates for it are also free and install with the usual Mac "No Muss, No Fuss" method. 

While many people are completely satisfied with Time Machine, for those of us with erratic schedules and a paranoid* approach to protecting the external drive and our data, CCC does a perfect job.

*  Yes, I know I'm paranoid, but I sometimes wonder if I am paranoid enough? 
Fast, Easy Back-ups For the Macintosh

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April 27, 2011
I think you're doing the right thing! Actually, I hardly back up my hard drive. All I do is to keep portable copies of the datas and photos. So far so good... I wonder, if you back up the hard drive and your computer crashed, what happened if you have another computer of a different make and hard drive size? I've been pretty lucky so far so haven't got the chance to find that out. In any case, I hope I never have to find out :p
April 27, 2011
When you have everything back up to a second hard drive, you can transfer as much or as little data as you choose. Because I have several external hard drives, I can offload rarely-used data from main drive to one of them and only attach it when I need those old movies/pictures/files. So far, my internal drive has the capacity to store it all, so no problem. I will say that there have been two occasions when the external back ups saved me when the main drive took a dive. Another point is, data stored on an external is very easily transferred to a new computer's hard drive. The popular saying among we nerds is, "If you haven't had a hard drive die, you just haven't owned one long enough yet."
April 27, 2011
That's quite true. I changed my gadgets quite often! :)
April 27, 2011
I tend to keep mine a little longer. But upgrading is usually a good idea. That's why the external back ups are so useful. They make data transfers a snap. Although with thumb drives getting better and larger in capacity, those are pretty useful, to. When USB 3 becomes common, the transfer rates will be phenomenal, too. By then, we'll all probably be on SSDs, too so today's speeds are tomorrow's crawl. ;)
About the reviewer
James Smith ()
Ranked #307
Retired bum, technical writer and fitness fanatic in João Pessoa, Brazil.
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