Best way to back up?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by marty1990, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. marty1990 macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2011
    I was originally going to just copy all my files on to an external HDD and then download and install Mountain Lion. If everything worked, then great. If there was any problems, I'd have all my important files, and then I have my disks at the read to reinstall any apps.

    However, I've been reading articles, and they recommend using Time Machine, back up my Mac that way on to my external HDD, every time I plug in that external HDD, would it work as a bootable disk, sort of? Like, I plug it in, and it thinks I want to install Lion? I don't really get Time Machine. Does it back up everything to a folder or what?
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Time Machine cannot make bootable backups. To make a bootable clone of your drive, use Carbon Copy Cloner.
  3. marty1990 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 25, 2011
    Okay, I didn't want a bootable back up.

    So, does Time Machine put everything into a folder? Or what?

    And can I just do Time Machine the once, so that it doesn't constantly update my backup in the future? I don't normally keep my external plugged in all the time, I only use it when I want to back up.

    Is it worth me just backing up the files I want manually instead of using Time Machine?
  4. deeddawg, Jul 26, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012

    deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    With due respect, "bootable backup" can mean different things to different people even if there's a single defined correct meaning.

    No, you cannot boot from a Time Machine backup and run OS X like you can with Carbon Copy Cloner.

    Yet the TM backup is still *bootable* -- you get Lion Recovery and can then reinstall to bare metal. You'd reformat the internal drive, install Lion, then when Lion boots select the Time Machine backup to bring back all your files and settings.

    To the OP's question - a Time Machine backup will be the protection you want, since you can use to to reformat and go back to where you started. You could also do fine using CCC. I'd probably want a second backup of important files just in case.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Time Machine coupled with a 2011 machine like you have (I snooped your previous posts :D), effectively is a bootable backup. If your want to restore, you can boot to either Recovery HD or Internet Recovery by holding command-r when booting, then selecting "restore from Time Machine" on the resulting screen.

    Time Machine on an external drive does backup to folders, but they are setup like on your computer and should not be messed with directly. You can access then from the Time Machine interface on the computer.

    You don't have to keep the drive plugged in all the time if you don't want to. Just plug it in when you want and tell Time Machine to backup (it will normally start on its own).

    I would not try to mess with backing up manually. Time Machine works really well.

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