Carbon Copy vs Time Machine

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by stockcerts, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. macrumors 65816

    Jun 29, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    I've been using Time Machine on my 2009 iMac. I've read some postings recently from some that prefer Carbon Copy Cloner. I'm also considering updating to the current iMac.

    Would appreciate any input regarding a preference of backup solutions, including if one provides an advantage when it comes time to update and move my data to a new iMac.

  2. macrumors 68030

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    Carbon Copy will give you a bootable clone of your hard drive, enabling you carry on if your internal drive fails. I use both.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Jun 16, 2012
  4. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Time Machine - Apple's solution to providing software for users to back up their system. Hourly backups, provides users with a simple back up application with a minimum of features that you can alter.

    Carbon Copy Cloner - Very popular application that creates a bootable clone of the drive. Faster the TM offers more options but out of the box does not automatically back up the system hourly like TM.

    For me I use both.
    TM for the hourly backups and its restore is easily done so its a no brainer for those times when you delete a document that you need back.

    CCC for system backups/restores, for those times I may have fully messed up my system. Restoring the drive from CCC is faster then TM so its more expedient. I backup on a different external drive so I have two separate physical backups of my data. Additionally I'll take a backup on a portable drive and take that off site - this gives me a third copy
  5. macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2012
    Exactly the same as my backup strategy. I use SuperDuper to backup to external drive once a month and TM for anything of a shorter period.
  6. macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Of course, if you want hourly backups with CCC, it's just a menu selection:
    ScreenCap 2013-01-05 at Sat, Jan 5,9.04.15 AM .PNG
    You can also select to keep previous versions of changed files, just like TM. I prefer CCC for all my backups. The TM "roll back" interface is nice, but not nice enough to outweigh the benefit of bootable backups.
  7. macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2012

    I am using free version of ccc 3.4.7.
    A month ago I used it to back up and selected "back up every thing"
    Now second time around I cant find where I can select "incremental" only.
    any idea??
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    Same here. Using disc cloning (such as carbon copy cloner/superduper) and differential backups (such as time machine) gives the advantages of both both without the compromises. Couple it with some sort of Cloud/off-site backup and you're looking at a near bulletproof backup strategy.
  9. macrumors regular


    Mar 24, 2010
    Good advice above, esp. off-site/cloud backup.

    I use SuperDuper, because I need to back up two drives to a third internal drive that is partitioned (OS& data). Then I back up to an external stored off site. Maybe different now, but at the time, time machine couldn't do that. It works great, with complete flexibility in both scheduling and drive/partition selection.
  10. macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2011
    Add CCC or SD

    I use both TM and CCC for the reasons already mentioned. However, what made me jump for the paid license on CCC was an issue with my TM back ups not producing valid back ups for (many) critical files. One of my friends experienced a similar issue, so that led me to recommend also using CCC (or Super Duper). Worth the cost.. And keep a third backup offsite.

    What's eerie is that 90% of the time its my back up drives that fails, not the primary :eek:
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    Funnily enough this is what got me into using more than one backup solution too. Whilst Time Machine is great at what it does 99% of the time i found that on more than one occasion it hadnt backed up certain things for no reason i could find. e.g. iTunes music purchases.

    It also wasn't all that reliable when attempting to clean up and thin out multi-terabyte backups, it would sometimes just lock up and corrupt meaning i would have to start again.

    I wouldn't recommend not using it, its a great OS X feature and does things other solutions don't. however i wouldn't recommend it as a sole backup of mission-critical data.
  12. macrumors demi-god


    Apr 27, 2011
    I use both. TM for its simplicity and ease of backup. CCC for its multitude of options and configurability. I have CCC jobs set up to synchronize folders between machines and to make bootable clones.

    Most important task on any backup strategy is to test it. A backup that you haven't tested is not a backup.
  13. macrumors 68030

    Jul 13, 2008
    TM and CCC/SuperDuper are both backup applications, but for very different purposes. You need to tell us a lot more about your needs before anyone can give you very detailed advice.

    For example, I think clones are a bit of a waste of space if you are using both a desktop and laptop. And some files, like originals of media, don't benefit much from cloning or TM; it's just as easy to Finder copy archives. You just have to weigh what your particular needs are. It's like asking if a screw is better than a nail.

  14. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2012
    I am fairly new to iMac and it only took me a few days to figure out that the best option is to completely disable Time Machine and not bother using it, instead just use CCC.


    It just knows to do an "incremental". Test it for yourself.
  15. macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2012
    My Biggest issue with time machine based backups is that I find it very inflexible to restore a bunch of files which are in different directories. For example if I search files with a criteria using TM, for restoring it asks me which directory to put them into. I don't want that prompt - I just want to say restore and have them go to their original locations from where they were backed up in the first place. Asking where do you want to restore is really a dud thing.
    On the other hand, full system restore is really better in TM I feel. Just go to recovery and select a time stamp and the system gets restored to that timestamp.

    Can anyone help me solve the first case. Can I just ask for restoring a searched file criteria to their original location without specifying where to restore.
    Many thanks.
  16. Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No question, apple's approach is extremely limited user options for simplistic design and usage.
  17. Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    While I don't think TM alone is good enough for professional use, that limited simplicity is what makes it so good from home use. Most home uses don't need any more than what TM provides.
  18. macrumors P6


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    You can use something like Time Machine Scheduler to give you greater control over Time Machine

    I use both Time Machine and CCC as well
    I find the combination to be perfect for my needs

    I have TM and CCC on one external drive in two separate partitions
    I also have CCC set up on another external drive in case of catastrophic failure of the first drive

    I clone every night
  19. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 16, 2012
    I use both CCC and TM on a partitioned drive. I've heard so many conflicting ideas about what TM backs up. Last week, hours on the phone with Apple Support for a problem with my MacBook Air, with a senior level person, I asked him and he said TM backs up everything and is a bootable backup, but many here say it isn't.

    Had a horrible moment with CCC after that .... After reinstalling ML on my Air as a last resort, which solved the problem, I then went to do a CCC backup, accidentally selected the Air HD as destination instead of the external drive, and the program wouldn't let me undo this error!!! It was saying to prevent system instability it would filter system items okay? NO, NO, NO, not okay, let me out of here.

    The only way out was to pull the USB cord out, so it couldn't begin the cloning and destroy my freshly installed OS. Whether I have damaged the external drive doing that, I don't know, but I think this is a design flaw in CCC is an easy mistake to make, and there should be a cancel option.
  20. macrumors P6


    Mar 20, 2004
    "Between the Hedges"
    TM does not create a bootable backup
    It is only bootable once you restore from that TM backup

    The CCC backup itself is completely bootable and usable
  21. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    I have seen numerous reports here on the MR forums from folks who used Time Machine and - in a "moment of need" - couldn't get their files back (TM backup wouldn't mount, couldn't be accessed, etc.).

    I have seen few reports from anyone with a CarbonCopyCloner backup that couldn't get their backup to work when they needed it...
  22. macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    Triple strategy here:

    1. TimeMachine for quick recovery of individual files (more in the lines of a version control system).
    2. SuperDuper! (like CarbonCopyCloner) to make weekly clones for quick system recovery. Scheduled nightly backups of my server. Two alternating sets of backup drives, one kept off-site.
    3. CrashPlan for extra assurance. An offsite "TimeMachine" that also lets me easily access files when away from my computers.

    Losing a file is devastating, and I won't trust just one backup.
  23. macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    This may have been said above (if so, sorry), but depending on what your primary goal in backup is, don’t forget that you can select/omit directories to be backed up with TM. So, if your main concern is the files you have in your Documents directory, you can configure TM to back up that directory hourly. Then you can use CCC/SD to back up your whole system daily, weekly, or monthly. This will reduce the amount of time and space devoted to backing up.
  24. macrumors Core


    Jan 23, 2005
    It will (sort of). Since Lion 10.7.2, your first Time Machine backup puts a copy of the Recovery HD partition on the Time Machine drive and you CAN boot to it and restore.

    So if say your internal drive dies, you can pop in a new drive and option key boot to the Time Machine disk. Then run Disk Util to format and finally restore. This will put the entire OS and all data back on the new drive.

    Exact same end result as a clone back from a CCC backup.

    The only real advantage I see with CCC is it allows to to actually operate the computer from the cloned external if that is something the user really thinks is important.

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