Best Backup Software and Practices for Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by saralynn, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. saralynn macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2008
    Hello Mac Rumors...

    I would like to inquire what software or backup solutions people could recommend for Macs?

    I have been using Time Machine, but recently I noticed that Time Machine was not backing up my documents. This is where my most sensitive documents are, so I need a reliable solution that will backup all my data.

    It would be great if others could share backup solutions that have worked for them.

    Thank you in advance for your help!
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Have you made sure, the folders with those documents is not excluded via System Preferences > Time Machine > Options?

    What about starting from scratch with your Time Machine backups?
    Time Machine FAQ

    Anyway, I use DropBox to backup and synch my important text documents.
    For my systems I use a daily backup schedule via CarbonCopyCloner.
  3. Sirolway macrumors 6502

    Jun 13, 2009
    Belt & braces, my friend!

    a. Time Capsule

    b. Nightly ChronoSync job to copy everything onto a backup disk

    c. Dropbox or SpiderOak online backup for most important things; there's a cost so don't backup everything to this

    d. Bought my Dad the same enclosure / disk as (b) & every time I see him I swap the disks so I have an off-site backup

    e. Annually replace the disk from (b) & put it on the shelf

    Have I missed anything? ;-)
    That *almost* protects me from myself & my heavy 'format finger'
  4. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Jul 28, 2004
    Portland, Oregon
    My backup recipe is as follows:

    - Hourly Arq backup of my really important documents to Amazon S3 (Encrypted)
    - Nightly Chronosync copy of my Raid-1 mirror (contains all my data and multimedia files) to a networked volume on another Mac
    - Monthly Superduper image copy of my system disk to an external disk, so I have a bootable system disk at hand if I need it. I leave all system updates until after I've done this copy every month, so I can restore if the update goes bad (which it never has)
    - Monthly Superduper image copy of my Raid-1 mirror to an external disk which I keep in a safe deposit box at the bank

    I use TM as well, so I can easily roll back to previous versions of files
  5. saralynn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2008
    Thank you all for sharing your backup advice! It was really helpful and I'll look into these solutions.
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable clone of my internal drive, then keep that clone current with incremental backups. If my internal drive dies, I simply swap drives and boot up.
  7. jlc1978 macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2009
    1. Weekly Time machine backups
    2. Real time backup to Decimus' Sync Pro. I set rules to keep my My Documents folder sync'd to a flash drive. That way, in the event of a problem I have a complete backup at hand. Plus, if I work on a file on another machine, when I plug in the flash drive Sync Pro updates the file on my MBP. It also archives deleted files so if you accidentally delete a file you can retrieve it. I like this option because I always have a complete backup of my work with me.
    3. Create sequential backups of work in progress via Forever Save 2. FS2 periodically saves files as you work on them for applications you select. This way, if I accidentally screw up something and save it I can open a pervious version that is generally only a few minutes old.
  8. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I use TimeMachine and Carbon Copy Cloner for my backup strategy.

    TimeMachine to my NAS and then CCC to a portable hard drive that I take offsite.
  9. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    My backup strategy is as follows:

    1) Notebooks backup to Time Machine on a Mac Server. This disk is backed up via Crashplan to another disk on an AirDisk located in a separate part of the house
    2) Notebook documents, etc backup to Crashplan Online
    2) Server backed up via Time Machine to a locally attached disk
    3) Server backed up via Crashplan to an Airdisk located in a separate part of the house
    4) Server documents etc backed up via Crashplan to Crashplan online
    5) All documents, projects, photos, etc are stored in DropBox
    6) A remote server located in a data centre subscribes to Dropbox and has a copy of all documents, projects, pictures, etc
    7) This server is also backed up via Crashplan

    Effectively, I have at least 6 copies of my "essential" files stored in two cloud locations and 3 physical location. The only thing not covered by this is movies and TV Shows I've ripped (all my music is now covered by iTunes Match) due to the sheer volume and the fact you can't seed Crashplan backups in the UK

    It's not a cheap solution (all together, including the server rental it costs me about £75 a month), but the cost of losing that data would be immeasurable so it's money well spent in my opinion
  10. Wicked1 macrumors 68040


    Apr 13, 2009
    New Jersey
    Probably the best solution for me as well, I do one extra step and CCC my internal to another 2.5" but then CCC that once a week to an external FW800 drive which goes in my firesafe. Since I have automated the times, it is not time consuming at all and all three run from Midnight to when they are done Saturday morning, works very well for me, I do not trust TM or Seagate's backup software as I have lost docs as well.
  11. waynep macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2009
    I do the following:

    1) Time Machine to a Time Capsule every hour.
    2) All data, photos, music etc, backup to CrashPlan on a continuous basis.
    3) A CarbonCopy Cloner image updated weekly.
  12. Caraj macrumors member

    May 2, 2010
    Hi Phil,
    Regarding the Photos stored on dropbox: How do you browse your pictures? do you use iPhoto and if so, is it slow to render the photos or is it comparable to browsing photos on your local hard drive?

  13. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    The Dropbox folder is located on your internal HDD inside your Home folder just like the Desktop, Documents, Music and other folders. Thus access is as fast as using the Pictures folder.
    But know, that the free Dropbox account only has 2 GB of storage.
  14. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Exactly what simsaladimbamba writes below - they are stored locally so performance is exactly the same. I use Picasa, but iPhoto would work the same

  15. knew2mack macrumors regular


    Sep 20, 2009
    The Beach
    install on 'start up volume'

    I just downloaded CCC and in reading their recommendations they say the following: We recommend that you install CCC on your startup volume if you intend to create scheduled tasks.

    They say to do this instead of installing it to applications. Now I know this is really basic computer information that every user should already know what the 'tech lingo' before even using one, but in my case, I have not.

    How would I go back and remove it from my applications and install on my 'start up volume'???

    Please help me and use a 'step by step' description......

    thanks so much
  16. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    CCC is perfectly fine in the Applications folder, what they meant with "startup volume" is the volume Mac OS X is installed onto.
    If it would have said "root directory", then it should be on the "Macintosh HD" volume and not in the Applications folder.
    And to move a file or application from some folder on the same volume to the root, a simple drag&drop action will suffice, but it is not necessary, as CCC is perfectly fine in the Applications folder.
  17. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I can see how that would be confusing, but as simsaladimbamba said, CCC works fine in the Applications folder of your startup volume (your internal HDD or SSD that you boot from). In fact, I have mine in my /Applications/Utilities folder and it works perfectly.
  18. Dopeyman macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2005
    Los Angeles!
    Since I don't use my imac for work, I have a simple 1TB Time Capsule.. And I just let it do it's own thing... :apple:
  19. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Xserve or Enterprise?

    How about something higher up?
    I have two Xserves and a slew of RAIDs.
    Back in the day it was Restrospect.
    But lately its good old manual drag folders around.
    We only offline (offsite) project files and new footages.
  20. miz-mdk, Feb 14, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012

    miz-mdk macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2011
    Dropbox is NOT a backup

    Dropbox is NOT a backup service; it is a sync service. The Dropbox people are very clear about this. It syncs whatever is current on any computers that are linked to it. If you lose something on your computer, and Dropbox is syncing, you will lose it on dropbox. This means all computers, iphones, etc linked to Dropbox will lose it too. You can recover deleted documents for a limited time, but if you want to be able to recover them at any time later (say you don't discover it until a few months down the line) you have to pay extra.

    Now, Dropbox only syncs files/folders that you have put in the Dropbox folder. This means you have to put everything into the Dropbox folder that you want to have sync. You won't be happy about this if you keep stuff you are actively working on on your desktop, like me. It won't sync via aliases. This is a way around this. There is a little program called MacDropAny that creates symbolic links to any folder on your computer, and Dropbox will sync via these links. This works fine, but remember that everything accessed this way will sync to every device you have linked to Dropbox. Personally, I don't want everything on my desktop or in Documents to be showing up on my iphone.

    You also have to be very careful how you do it if you decommission a computer, or you can end up erasing everything on all computers linked to Dropbox. There are a lot of threads on their forum from people who lost a lot of documents because they didn't understand the correct process, which is not easy to find instructions for on their website - you have to do a search in the forums, it's not in their help/FAQs info.

    You can also end up with duplicate Dropboxes if you unlink and relink. This can take up a lot of room on your hard drive. And if you use Parallels, DON'T link the parallels VM as a separate machine - I ended up with 4 copies of dropbox - what a mess! Instead, create Dropbox on your Mac OS and access it as a shared folder from Parallels.

    Despite all of the above, I think Dropbox is an excellent service. Just don't think of it as backup. As my dad used to say, "Use the right tool for the job." I have had much bigger problems with iCloud, which provides a similar service.

    I have not had any problems using Time Machine as a backup, except when I ran out of room. I have been told that you need twice as much room on a backup drive as you are using on your computer's drive. It's possible this is why it is not backing up everything. Larger capacity external drives are getting cheaper and cheaper, especially if you get slightly older models. I can't afford Time Capsule, so I use Time Machine as a manual rather than a constant backup. I don't use CCC or anything else, because as I understand it, Time Machine IS creating a disk image of the whole machine, not just backing up files. You can select folders in Time Machine Preferences if you want (you do want to exclude the backup drive itself here). I just click Backup Now. That's it. You can find and restore anything from an individual file up to the whole machine very easily. It's very simple to use and it works. Period. What I like about Apple products.
  21. miz-mdk macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2011
    Dropbox Photos and iPhoto

    I think it is tricky - iPhoto has its own library, which is not even the same as the Mac OS Pictures library. You have to keep the images in the Dropbox Photos folder in order to do the viewing/sharing thing via Dropbox. I'm not an iPhoto expert, but I think you would have to have duplicate photo files in each of them for them both to work.
  22. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I recommend the following:

    • You should have at least two totally independent backups
    • At least one of them should back up off premise... for disaster recovery
    • Ideally, the second backup should be local... for ease of recovery
    • All backup systems should be fully and totally automatic, with zero human intervention
    • Ideally, each backup should be totally independent of others... using different backup programs
    • At least one of your backup programs must include unlimited versioning... Ideally all do.
    • If you need "clone drive" for extremely quick recovery of a particular computer... then I recommend a third backup to give yourself a cloned drive capability.

    Given the above... I personally think it is crazy not to use cloud backup for disaster recovery. This is my first recommendation. There are several good ones... my favorite is Crashplan+

    Given that Time Machine has such a slick user interface... I like using it for local back-ups.

    Personally, I do not have a need for cloned drives, because rebuilding a computer from TM is pretty trivial. I have several computers and can pretty much always wait the hour or two (worse case overnight) to rebuild a computer from TM. However... if I do clone a drive, I like Carbon Copy Cloner the best.

    After owning several NAS boxes, Windows Home Servers and other such nonsense... I have found they are 1) Undesirable and 2) Expensive. NAS boxes running RAID used to be really important for me... because they provide HW level reliability against individual drive failures. Personally, for home use, I think they have become obsolete for most people. Fast internet connections have become ubiquitous, and cloud backup services have become so inexpensive that it is now affordable to replicate your data around the planet... and once that happens, protecting against individual drive failure becomes unnecessary. NAS RAID remains expensive, but its value has been marginalized by the cloud.

  23. mfacey, May 25, 2012
    Last edited: May 25, 2012

    mfacey macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2004
    I've just upgraded to a new NAS so i've also been rethinking my home backup strategy.
    1. Frequent (daily or more) backup of all important file using Chronosync to my Synology DS212+ running two parallel 3 TB drives in RAID1.
    2. Constant backup of all important files to Blackblaze online storage.
    3. Slightly less frequent clone of the iMac's startup disk to a 1TB USB drive, probably using Chronosync.

    I've given up on Time Machine... I've been in the position once where i neede it and the restore function didn't work. Luckily i could still extract the files by hand but it was pretty hopeless. Plus i'd like to be able to view and open the backed up files on the nas remotely.

    Some day i'll also add a esata or USB3 external drive to the synology for backups of the NAS but for now i've spent enough money... :D

    Any comments?

    Edit: well turns out that Chronosync is a piece of cr@p. Unbelievably slow that the app would hang constantly. Thank goodness I went for the try before you buy option!
    Switch to CCC now which is working great!

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