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MacBytes
Apr 21, 2006, 04:32 PM
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Category: Reviews
Link: Apple's Backup (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060421173203)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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Macnoviz
Apr 21, 2006, 05:14 PM
wow :eek: Scary article.
I didn't know backing up was so delicate
I bought a 200 GB external hard drive for my future Macbook, and I was hoping to set up daily back ups in a matter of minutes, seeing that Mac software just works, does anyone else have any problems with backing up?
Is it really necessary to check all backups?

Analog Kid
Apr 22, 2006, 03:17 AM
wow :eek: Scary article.
I didn't know backing up was so delicate
I bought a 200 GB external hard drive for my future Macbook, and I was hoping to set up daily back ups in a matter of minutes, seeing that Mac software just works, does anyone else have any problems with backing up?
Is it really necessary to check all backups?
Yeah-- that kinda knocked my confidence down a notch too... I assumed Apple was testing the archive, and I do blame Apple for not doing so.

I've just started using Backup regularly, and while it's a relatively simple application to use (I haven't restored yet, which is a big caveat) it's also a pain in the rear in a lot of ways.

For example-- if I've scheduled a backup, and the drive is present, why does it have to pop a dialog up telling me it's going to back up in T minus 120 seconds? And why does this dialog not have a "don't warn me again"?

I do like the backup sets, and I'm actually reasonably impressed with how they've set it up for adding and excluding files. I don't like the incremental-for-life design. I should be able to tell it to do a full every week and incremental every day, for example. It seems to take longer to scan files than I'd think it should need to.

Despite the implication in the article, I don't think you need to use .Mac for backups. You do need .Mac to get a legal copy of Backup, however. I don't back anything up to my iDisk and I can't imagine why anyone would. It's slow, to start, and the storage is extremely limited. Most importantly the files I want to backup tend to be sensitive as a rule and I don't want to put them on someone else's servers. Apple's backup doesn't seem to allow for encrypted archives, which is a feature I'd like to see.

There are other ways of doing backups. Originally I just did Finder copies of the files I thought were important. This has a couple problems-- first, it's really hard to keep organized. Second, you wind up copying a bunch of stuff you don't need to because there's no intelligent way to figure out what's changed. Third, it doesn't work on system files you don't have permission for. Forth, it messes up the dates, ownership and permissions of everything you copy.

Up until about a month ago, I had a bunch of rsync scripts I was using. rsync is a command line tool that does a good job of figuring out what has changed and copies the necessary files efficiently. Like many Unix tools, it is immensely flexible which means it's also very complicated to learn and setup. I got caught in the trap of wanting to tailor my backup plan for different directories and file types and what-not and the scripts became unwieldy and hard to maintain. I lost trust in them after too much time lapsed since I'd fiddled with them.

I've looked at Carbon Copy Cloner, which looks like it will be an excellent way of cloning a boot disk, but it also looks like it would be inefficient for ongoing backups. I haven't tried it yet, but that was a task I was hoping to get to this weekend.

If you've got .Mac, then this is a freebee worth looking at. It doesn't balance the cost of .Mac in itself. I haven't worked with other Backup software for the Mac so I don't know what else is out there or what it costs.

If you don't have a backup method, and your backup requirements are simple and straight forward, then Apple's answer is pretty good. Backups are essential in the digital age and everyone needs some way of doing them that doesn't require so much effort that they procrastinate.

I'd love to hear what other people do.

Blue Velvet
Apr 22, 2006, 03:36 AM
I'd love to hear what other people do.

At home I use two scripts with Retrospect; the first duplicates the Users directory to an internal drive daily at 6:30pm... and on the first of every month a second script duplicates the entire boot drive to same internal drive. This duplicate is fully bootable, apps and all.

At work, we use Retrospect to do full network backups to a server.

MajereXYU
Apr 22, 2006, 11:15 AM
I use iBackup (http://www.grapefruit.ch/iBackup/).

It's freeware, pretty good and I used it to restore 3-4 times and it worked as advertised.

But I tend to use it more for system settings backups (Address Book, Widgets, Mail Folders and settings etc.) than file backups.

I didn't check wether it has incremental backups or not because what I do is backup system settings via iBackup and then I copy my files (mostly music, videos, pictures and some documents) manually.

Give it a try and see for yourself if it suits your particular needs.

nagromme
Apr 22, 2006, 03:24 PM
I have a two-stage approach: drag vital current projects/files onto my iPod as an "emergency" measure fairly often--one to three times a week. Simple because my iPod is often plugged in to charge anyway.

And then every month or two (SHOULD be every 2 weeks!) I use Carbon Copy Cloner to dump the entire drive to an external LaCie that I have just for the purpose. It can fit two full backups, so the latest backup doesn't have to overwrite the previous one.

CCC seems to be dog slow compared to a Finder copy--but maybe that's because I encrypt my backup?

solvs
Apr 23, 2006, 02:18 AM
I use some program to do incremental backups daily. Works for me. I don't use Windows backup program either.