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sublimeguide
Jan 9, 2013, 06:49 AM
Hi there everyone,

Soon I think I'm gonna sell my mid 2012 Classic MBP (since its hard drive is way too slow for my needs, I don't like glossy displays and its resolution is actually a downgrade visually from my previous PC monitor) and I'm probably gonna wait and buy the next gen retina MacBooks which hopefully will feature a bit more storage for less money since Apple's current prices are absolutely ridiculous. Currently the price of aftermarket SSDs isn't so high at all (compared to the prices 1-2 years before and Apple's current offerings) but I guess the current retina MBP is the whole "satisfactory" package.

My question is this: I'm currently using SuperDuper! To make backups of my machine, and so far the software is backing up everything wonderfully(I've even disabled Time Machine, because I don't see why I would waste space on my external hard drive, housing 2 backups). But if I sell the MacBook before actually purchasing the new one, how I will restore everything to its original state on the previous machine? I guess it will be the same version of the OS - Mountain Lion which will be a plus and make things easier, yes?
Since obviously the previous Mac won't be at hand, when I restore the stuff to the new one and I will be relying on the backup contained in my external HDD, how should I approach this (without Migration Assistant which probably would have been the best option). Is SuperDuper's FAQ section there is this line, which reads:
"In general, brand new Macs come with special builds of OSX that have support for the new hardware. Even though the version number might be the same (e.g. OS X 10.5.7), the build number is often different.
This means that, most of the time, you should not use SuperDuper! to copy from an old Macs to a brand new one."

What would you suggest me to do? I suppose some of you might have experience in this and can offer a valuable advice? That is one of the main reasons I switched to a Mac - the ease of use, pleasant interface, frequent updates and lack of (frequent) issues. I hope I have seamless experience in this "department" as well!

Thank you very much for your attention and input!



justperry
Jan 9, 2013, 07:06 AM
The only things you need are your Home Folder and Library Folder (the Main one which is invisible by Default.

For Applications you could also sync that one later but sometimes Apps won't work because there are more files in other places then the above, if an App won't work after syncing then just reinstall that App.

But, for now backup your whole disk, CCC is better than SuperDuper, I learned a while ago this one also backups the recovery partition.
CCC is free up until 3.4.6

davidlv
Jan 9, 2013, 07:22 AM
Since obviously the previous Mac won't be at hand, when I restore the stuff to the new one and I will be relying on the backup contained in my external HDD, how should I approach this (without Migration Assistant which probably would have been the best option).
What would you suggest I do? Thank you very much for your attention and input!
When you get the new Mac and turn it on, it will prompt you about transfering data, even before you create a new user.
At that prompt, specify transfer information (data) from another disk.
Plug in your external disk (USB) and select that disk.
All of your user data, your applications and settings will be transfered, without disrupting the new OS. It is really painless, but it may take a while. My new MBP (2011 refurbished MBP) took about 1.5 hours to transfer everything from a USB 2.0 external HD, about 375GB!
After you get everything set up and settled down, reclone the new Mac to your external to make sure you have a bootable drive.
I also recommend Carbon Copy Cloner, well worth the $40 IMO for the best backup app out there, and yes it does give you the option to copy the recovery partition. :cool:

justperry
Jan 9, 2013, 07:25 AM
When you get the new Mac and turn it on, it will prompt you about transfering data, even before you create a new user.
At that prompt, specify transfer information (data) from another disk.
Plug in your external disk (USB) and select that disk.
All of your user data, your applications and settings will be transfered, without disrupting the new OS. It is really painless, but it may take a while. My new MBP (2011 refurbished MBP) took about 1.5 hours to transfer everything from a USB 2.0 external HD, about 375GB!
After you get everything set up and settled down, reclone the new Mac to your external to make sure you have a bootable drive.
I also recommend Carbon Copy Cloner, well worth the $40 IMO for the best backup app out there, and yes it does give you the option to copy the recovery partition. :cool:

Why spend the money while I said, CCC is free up until 3.4.6!

sublimeguide
Jan 9, 2013, 09:13 AM
Thank you very much to both! This was helpful. I think I will get around just fine now.

Just one more question. After examining (using DaisyDisk) how is my disk space being managed (and started transferring stuff to my USB 3.0 drive to make sure everything will fit even on the 256 gb retina version (not all which is usable) On offtopic note - I should have invested in SYnology NAS enclosure since I don't like plugg in in cables every time I want to access something I store on the external hard drive (even with the high transfer/read speeds). Going through the router, wirelessly is much more elegant solution).
So, back to the DaisyDisk checkup of the space.
I have there 3 screenshot which I find peculiar that almost 40 gigabytes without my knowing (minus the Application folder). Granted, there are some important system files, but isn't this too much?
Here, see:
Too much space (http://imgur.com/a/6Tyn2#0)

switon
Jan 9, 2013, 10:08 AM
Hi sublimeguide,

First of all, I don't use SuperDuper, so I don't really know its features, but I do use CCC, so I'm familiar with clones in general.

I saw in your post that you didn't think both TM and SuperDuper backups are needed, so you halted your TM backups. Let me offer an alternative.

Clones are just that, clones, of everything including all system software. If you migrate to a new machine, the clone of your older machine's drive will typically not be appropriate on the newer machine (different drivers and kernel extensions, etc.). Hence the warning from SuperDuper. On the other hand, if you make a TM backup, then Apple's Migration Assistant (MA) can help you move over all of your non-system related files, such as personal preferences, content, etc., without affecting the actual OS kernel on the new machine. This is more difficult to accomplish using a clone, such as CCC, and generally requires more user knowledge of the OS. With TM and MA, this is more-or-less automatic and hands-off.

In addition, TM backups provide a easily available time history of your drive, thus TM makes it easy to go back an hour, a day, a week, or a month to find a prior version of a file. To do this with a cloner is somewhat more difficult than with the TM interface, at least with CCC. A cloner, on the other hand, typically provides a bootable clone, something that the TM backup does not.

So, in my opinion, TM and a cloner are somewhat complementary, and I use both. TM provides that hourly backup of previous versions of files, while CCC provides a bootable clone. Because of this, and for greater security, I recommend using TM on one external drive and CCC on a another external drive that you can swap periodically with a third external drive that you store off-site. TM makes hourly backups on disk1, once a week you make a new CCC clone backup, alternating between disk2 and disk3, where you swap disk2 and disk3 to an off-site storage site. You might also think about using a Cloud service as one of these backups.

I know that this is redundant, but I have used both under different circumstances. The TM backups for recovering older versions of a file or two and for migrating from an older computer to a newer one, and CCC clones for booting off of an external drive in order to "fix" the internal drive of a laptop. The off-site storage is so I won't loose irreplaceable data.

Regards,
Switon

Bear
Jan 9, 2013, 10:14 AM
When I turned on a brand new Mac, during its setup screens, I had the option of using a Time Machine backup to restore user data and applications. This worked well.

sublimeguide
Jan 9, 2013, 10:35 AM
Hi sublimeguide,

First of all, I don't use SuperDuper, so I don't really know its features, but I do use CCC, so I'm familiar with clones in general.

I saw in your post that you didn't think both TM and SuperDuper backups are needed, so you halted your TM backups. Let me offer an alternative.

Clones are just that, clones, of everything including all system software. If you migrate to a new machine, the clone of your older machine's drive will typically not be appropriate on the newer machine (different drivers and kernel extensions, etc.). Hence the warning from SuperDuper. On the other hand, if you make a TM backup, then Apple's Migration Assistant (MA) can help you move over all of your non-system related files, such as personal preferences, content, etc., without affecting the actual OS kernel on the new machine. This is more difficult to accomplish using a clone, such as CCC, and generally requires more user knowledge of the OS. With TM and MA, this is more-or-less automatic and hand-off.

In addition, TM backups provide a easily available time history of your drive, thus TM makes it easy to go back an hour, a day, a week, or a month to find a prior version of a file. To do this with a cloner is somewhat more difficult than with the TM interface, at least with CCC. A cloner, on the other hand, typically provides a bootable clone, something that the TM backup does not.

So, in my opinion, TM and a cloner are somewhat complementary, and I use both. TM provides that hourly backup of previous versions of files, while CCC provides a bootable clone. Because of this, and for greater security, I recommend using TM on one external drive and CCC on a another external drive that you can swap periodically with a third external drive that you store off-site. TM makes hourly backups on disk1, once a week you make a new CCC clone backup, alternating between disk2 and disk3, where you swap disk2 and disk3 to an off-site storage site. You might also think about using a Cloud service as one of these backups.

I know that this is redundant, but I have used both under different circumstances. The TM backups for recovering older versions of a file or two and for migrating from an older computer to a newer one, and CCC clones for booting off of an external drive in order to "fix" the internal drive of a laptop. The off-site storage is so I won't loose irreplaceable data.

Regards,
Switon
Wow. That was really insightful (and useful) post! Thank you for being helpful and taking the time to write it.
I didn't really think too "deeply" about the function of clone backups and now with the info and insight provided by your post, I actually might switch to using Time Machine exclusively (since I think it suits my needs better) but one thing I didn't like about it, is that it makes backups constantly until the hard drive I use gets filled up. I don't want that. I want to have one (1) backup, without many previous versions of it. Or at least an option with which I can restrict it to only ~3 backups. I currently have only one 2TB WD Caviar Black in external enclosure and don't wanna invest more funds into other drives (at least at the moment). When I used Time Machine I don't remember seeing an option that lets me have only one version of the backup. I only discovered on the web how to delete previous backups in time machine mode, but I don't know if that won't corrupt some of the files there...

Yes, Time Machine is closest solution to "one-size-fits-all" but it doesn't come without some limitations.

@Bear
Yes, I guess I will stick to this. Thank you for your input!

Bear
Jan 9, 2013, 11:08 AM
...
I actually might switch to using Time Machine exclusively (since I think it suits my needs better) but one thing I didn't like about it, is that it makes backups constantly until the hard drive I use gets filled up. I don't want that. I want to have one (1) backup, without many previous versions of it. Or at least an option with which I can restrict it to only ~3 backups. I currently have only one 2TB WD Caviar Black in external enclosure and don't wanna invest more funds into other drives (at least at the moment).
...Yes, Time Machine will fill up the drive with backups, however it will also delete old backups when more space is needed. So there's no reason to think about buying more disks for backups, well except if you want multiple backups.

Also, from my experience, it can take a while to notice some important file is missing from your system. It's better to have access to multiple backups. Also, if it isn't clear TM only uses a bit more space than the files that were changed or added between runs. Just doing web browsing, my hourly backups tend to be under 25 MBs. When I'm doing real work they of course get larger. My internal drive has about 550 GBs of space used. The Time Machine disk I started using in February last year has about 750 GBs of space used.

And I do know of cases where people had to go back to an older backup on their Time Machine disk to restore a good working system.

All in all, in most cases, it's better to just let Time Machine do its thing and maintain the backups automatically.

switon
Jan 9, 2013, 11:25 AM
Wow. That was really insightful (and useful) post! Thank you for being helpful and taking the time to write it.
I didn't really think too "deeply" about the function of clone backups and now with the info and insight provided by your post, I actually might switch to using Time Machine exclusively (since I think it suits my needs better) but one thing I didn't like about it, is that it makes backups constantly until the hard drive I use gets filled up. I don't want that. I want to have one (1) backup, without many previous versions of it. Or at least an option with which I can restrict it to only ~3 backups. I currently have only one 2TB WD Caviar Black in external enclosure and don't wanna invest more funds into other drives (at least at the moment). When I used Time Machine I don't remember seeing an option that lets me have only one version of the backup. I only discovered on the web how to delete previous backups in time machine mode, but I don't know if that won't corrupt some of the files there...

Yes, Time Machine is closest solution to "one-size-fits-all" but it doesn't come without some limitations.

@Bear
Yes, I guess I will stick to this. Thank you for your input!

Hi sublimeguide,

Allow me to qualify your impression of multiple backups and TM. I think a little better insight into what TM is doing will be very helpful to you. (Now I've written on this before in MacRumors, so I'll just summarize here.)

TM's initial backup is a full backup of your disk. Subsequent backups are just differential backups (backing up only the differences between the previous backup and the current state of your disk). What makes TM so useful is that even though subsequent backups are differential, the way TM works is that links are created from the non-modified files in earlier backups to the current TM backup. Thus when you examine the current backup (in the TM "Star Wars" GUI interface), you will find all files on your disk including those that have never been modified and thus the unmodified file actually resides in the initial TM backup. The links go all the way from the current hourly TM backup to the initial TM backup at the beginning of time (i.e., your first TM backup).

In practice, what does this mean? For most users, or your typical user, this means that a TM partition roughly twice the size of your boot disk will keep a historical backup record of up to several years (since the TM backups are only keeping the differences and not full disk backups). So you say you have a 2TB backup drive --- if your boot drive is 1TB then this should keep all of your TM backups stemming back several years. Of course, the actual length of the historical backups depends on how fast you as a user create/modify new content, but this is a rough Rule of Thumb that applies to most users.

When the TM partition does become filled, say a couple or more years down the road, then TM will automatically start deleting its oldest backups, the ones from the start of your TM backups. BUT --> when TM deletes these old backups it does not just willy-nilly delete them, rather it only deletes files from the oldest backups that are no longer linked to your current backup, thus you won't loose your latest backups during this deletion process. In other words, even after your TM partition has become full, your TM backups will still be useful to you for recovering any previous versions of files for the last couple of years --- it is only the very oldest of files that have long disappeared from your system that will be deleted by TM.

So you see, you really don't need to restrict TM to just ~3 backups, as its inner workings will keep many more differential backups and automatically do the "right" thing when it comes time to delete some of those backups when the partition is full (but this only typically happens after several years).

In summary, I still recommend TM for hourly backups of your work on an external disk having a TM partition of roughly twice the size of your boot disk. And I also still recommend a weekly or monthly CCC clone of your boot disk, that you test to make certain you can actually boot off of the clone, to a separate external drive that you store off-site between clones.

Regards,
Switon

sublimeguide
Jan 10, 2013, 01:53 AM
Hi sublimeguide,

Allow me to qualify your impression of multiple backups and TM. I think a little better insight into what TM is doing will be very helpful to you. (Now I've written on this before in MacRumors, so I'll just summarize here.)

TM's initial backup is a full backup of your disk. Subsequent backups are just differential backups (backing up only the differences between the previous backup and the current state of your disk). What makes TM so useful is that even though subsequent backups are differential, the way TM works is that links are created from the non-modified files in earlier backups to the current TM backup. Thus when you examine the current backup (in the TM "Star Wars" GUI interface), you will find all files on your disk including those that have never been modified and thus the unmodified file actually resides in the initial TM backup. The links go all the way from the current hourly TM backup to the initial TM backup at the beginning of time (i.e., your first TM backup).

In practice, what does this mean? For most users, or your typical user, this means that a TM partition roughly twice the size of your boot disk will keep a historical backup record of up to several years (since the TM backups are only keeping the differences and not full disk backups). So you say you have a 2TB backup drive --- if your boot drive is 1TB then this should keep all of your TM backups stemming back several years. Of course, the actual length of the historical backups depends on how fast you as a user create/modify new content, but this is a rough Rule of Thumb that applies to most users.

When the TM partition does become filled, say a couple or more years down the road, then TM will automatically start deleting its oldest backups, the ones from the start of your TM backups. BUT --> when TM deletes these old backups it does not just willy-nilly delete them, rather it only deletes files from the oldest backups that are no longer linked to your current backup, thus you won't loose your latest backups during this deletion process. In other words, even after your TM partition has become full, your TM backups will still be useful to you for recovering any previous versions of files for the last couple of years --- it is only the very oldest of files that have long disappeared from your system that will be deleted by TM.

So you see, you really don't need to restrict TM to just ~3 backups, as its inner workings will keep many more differential backups and automatically do the "right" thing when it comes time to delete some of those backups when the partition is full (but this only typically happens after several years).

In summary, I still recommend TM for hourly backups of your work on an external disk having a TM partition of roughly twice the size of your boot disk. And I also still recommend a weekly or monthly CCC clone of your boot disk, that you test to make certain you can actually boot off of the clone, to a separate external drive that you store off-site between clones.

Regards,
Switon

Switon,
Yes, you were right, you explanation really was helpful and enlightening in this situation. Knowing this, I am much more eager to use TM because it actually makes sense and seems to do a nice job. And the fact that it's well integrated directly into the OS is a big plus. I have partition one part of my 2TB external HDD (1TB) to serve me as a warehouse for movies and some photos. And the other 1TB is for the time machine backups. My current internal is 500GB but my next (the retina, if there aren't any storage upgrades from apple) will probably be 256GB and the backup partition at 4 times the internal size should do it.*
So again, thank you very much for your assistance and sory that because of me you had to write information which you previously wrote in other, similar topics.

One last question though. If I happen to delete a bunch of materials (big size ones) to shrink the size of the space being taken, will the time machine backups reduce its size automatically with the next backup as well? I guess having in mind the way it works (keeping previous versions of the system files), I suppose not? If I work with a lot of big video files I guess then it will start to make big updates to the backup, yes?
Best,
SG

switon
Jan 10, 2013, 08:06 AM
And the fact that it's well integrated directly into the OS is a big plus.

Yes, Spotlight actually does indexing with TM in mind, thus TM does not have to "search the disk" to find what has been modified in order to backup, a process that would be both time and CPU intensive, rather it just has to look at the Spotlight index to see what to include in its current differential backup, a process that is much faster and less CPU intensive --- this is a big plus! Some of the other third-party backup apps do not use Spotlight's index, say some of the cloners, so they have to "search the disk" each time they backup in order to determine the differences that need to be backed up. (By the way, as you can imagine, say you generate a huge number of new files taking up a huge amount of space all at once. Spotlight begins its indexing of these new/modified files, but Spotlight indexes in the background at a lower priority so that it doesn't interfere with your current work. Now say that TM starts its hourly backup before Spotlight has had a chance to finish its indexing. Then obviously TM will have to wait for Spotlight to finish its indexing or do the indexing itself [this is the same thing]. This means that sometimes TM takes a longer time to actually do its differential backup than what you might expect, simply because Spotlight had not completed its indexing before TM started.)

One last question though. If I happen to delete a bunch of materials (big size ones) to shrink the size of the space being taken, will the time machine backups reduce its size automatically with the next backup as well? I guess having in mind the way it works (keeping previous versions of the system files), I suppose not? If I work with a lot of big video files I guess then it will start to make big updates to the backup, yes?
Best,
SG

Yes, TM will keep those "big files" in its hourly backups until the TM partition is filled (your 1TB TM partition) even after you have deleted them from your disk drive. I would argue that this is precisely what you want to happen anyway. You delete the big files to clear up space on your disk drive to allow you to work more efficiently, but you can always recover these deleted big files later from the TM backup if you find at a later time that you actually need one big file that you have already deleted. Of course, when the TM partition becomes full, then TM will automatically start deleting its oldest backups, which will include those old big files that you have deleted off of your disk drive. Sounds like a winner to me...

And yes, TM does differential backups - it backs up everything that is currently modified on your disk, so if you are creating large amounts of modified files, then the TM backups will also have to grow in size.

Regards,
Switon

P.S. Having stated that I think TM will do precisely what you want it to do with those deleted big files, and it does it automatically without your intervention, let's say that you really do want to delete a file from the TM backup sparsebundle - say the file has industry secrets in it and you don't encrypt your TM backups so you want to delete the file containing secrets without otherwise affecting your TM backups. This is possible, it is easily done using the TM GUI interface.

sublimeguide
Jan 14, 2013, 05:02 AM
...
Switon,
Your post have been of a great help to me and now I'm with improved understanding of how one of Mac OSX's built in functionalities actually function. Thank you very much for providing your insights and your sentences backing up your "claims".
Although I still stand by my opinion that Apple sometimes really oversimplifies the things with which the user can play around, I accept it.
(I wish there was some big button in the system preferences which read "I'm advanced user and want to have all the control I need with all the sensible options possible. I agree to the term of service "Not to blame apple or anyone else for the issues that may occur as a result of my doings" or something like that and when enabled, all sorts of advanced options can be adjusted accordingly. For example, I have already several ideas in mind for what option I would like to see in Time Machine, but currently there are second to none.)
Again, thank you very much and I hope you have a great week!
SG

switon
Jan 14, 2013, 07:15 AM
Hi sublimeguide,

Yes, I agree that Apple is making things "simpler" by removing "options" from the OS. This may not be such a bad idea for the typical user. But, in my opinion, where it causes the most problems is with the server software. Apple, by removing options from their Server.app GUI in an effort to make the server software turn-key, have actually made the server/services more difficult to administer. The old Server Admin.app, say under 10.6.8, was actually much easier to use, in my opinion, because the administrator could better control and manage the servers/services with it. Today, under the ML Mac OS X Server software, the Server.app has eliminated most of the administration tools in favor of a single "turn-key", one configuration fits all, concept. If one needs to do anything but the basics, then one must resort to figuring out the poorly documented serveradmin utility and its data structures. It can be painful.

Regards,
Switon