Carbon Copy Cloner vs. Super Duper-Which is better?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by kapalua12, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. kapalua12 macrumors 6502

    Jun 20, 2010
    United States
    Is one program for backup better than the other- Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper?
  2. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I cannot comment on SuperDuper... but CCC is a great cloning program. Highly recommended.

    I do not consider "cloning" the same as backup. It "essentially" erases history every time you clone. I suggest that you consider the use of your cloning software in conjunction with a true backup program.

  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Both are good, but I prefer CCC. Be aware that CCC will also clone the OS X Recovery Partition, where SD will not.

    You can use version 3.5.1 ($40) or 3.4.7 (free, and works well on OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8).

    SuperDuper or Carbon Copy
  4. bingeciren macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2011
    No CCC doesn't erase the history. If you do an incremental backup, CCC always keeps a history of the previous backups until the disk is full (or up to the limit you specify). Incremental backups are fast because only the modified files are added to the backup set. Having said that, I still use CCC as well as the Time Machine. It is easier to pick an individual file to restore from a Time Machine backup as opposed to finding a file you are looking for inside the history folders of the CCC backup set.
  5. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    I prefer CCC over SuperDuper because of the two reasons already stated - incremental back ups and cloning of recovery partition.

    In addition to CCC, I also use Time Machine.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "Both are good, but I prefer CCC. Be aware that CCC will also clone the OS X Recovery Partition, where SD will not."

    I believe when you first download and launch CCC, it is set by default to copy the recovery partition. You have to go to CCC preferences and turn this feature off manually.

    Also, CCC can "archive" older versions of files. That is, one can set it up so it will either:
    - delete any files on the backup that no longer exist on the source volume
    - archive any changed files that no longer exist on the source volume (in a separate folder on the target volume for that purpose).

    Although this only happens when CCC is run, in a way it mimics some of what Time Machine does -- that is, maintains an archive of "older versions" of files.

    I formerly used SuperDuper, now I use CCC. I have seen reports that some users of SD found that the backup will fail if SD discovers a damaged file during the backup. The whole process is aborted.

    CCC, however, will ignore the damaged file and finish the job.
  7. 2012Tony2012 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2012
    I use CCC and "delete anything that doesn't exist on the source". I use the free version and love it.
  8. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    That is why I said: "It "essentially" erases history every time you clone."

    I realize it saves changed files in the archive set... but for anything more complex than restoring a few files... it would be impossible to effectively "turn back the clock" on a corrupted database or similar error.

    Like you... I use CCC & TM. That was the essence of my recommendation. I do not consider "clones" to be backups... because of that lack of "effective" versioning.

  9. Elsmar macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2008
    West Chester, Ohio, USA
    As a "Heads Up" / "Food for Thought": I recently had the hard drive on one of my iMacs (a 2008 with the 1 TB drive) go bad without warning. While I could get copies of files off of the Time Machine drive, trying a full drive restore from Time Machine on the new drive did not work. I tried the most recent, the very first, and several backup dates in between. Kernel panic every time when I tried to restart.

    I clone with CCC about every week. I was able to do a full system restore from my clone (thus no need to start from scratch and reinstall every program, etc.). Then I just restored some documents and things from the Time Machine disk. I think from now on I'll do a clone every night. I trusted Time Machine and it failed me. Starting from scratch and reinstalling programs, setting up mail accounts, etc., etc., and getting things back link I had them is a PITA and takes a week or so.

    It has been quite a few years since I have had a drive die. I'm glad I have been paranoid enough to do both - Time Machine and a CCC clone.
  10. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    Kudo's for taking the time to post this excellent, highly valuable entry. Hopefully many people will read it & pause to reflect on what they are or aren't doing about backups.

    Even within my office of professional engineers some get a bit complacent and fail to maintain a good backup routine at home. Work has them spoiled as its done nightly without their need to participate.

    It's all too easy to be lulled into procrastination by the relatively trouble free, yet imperfect drives of the last few years. Fortunately early on in my career the importance of regular backups was drummed into my head. I too use a combo of Time Machine & CCC. What many Mac users overlook is the importance of frequency. My habit has been to use CCC at the end of each days computing session thereby providing peace of mind, that for me is priceless.

    As you've duly noted the luxury of time machine, besides being fully automated, is its comprehensive store of ones complete drive. No matter the method employed, nothing beats having a copy of all the work we've invested our time in creating.

  11. Elsmar macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2008
    West Chester, Ohio, USA
    Other thoughts:
    • When ever I do a clone I run DiskWarrior on it (after cloning is finished), then I shut the iMac down and restart and boot from the clone.
    • I then run DiskWarrior on the internal drive.
    • Now I know the clone is "good" and that I can boot from it, and I've checked the internal drive's directory, etc.
    • Shutdown the iMac and restart booting from the internal drive.
    As an aside, I typically don't keep the clone drive connected or plugged into the UPS battery backup. I only connect it when I'm going to do a clone. That way should lightning hit or something the drive isn't in any way "in the circuit".
  12. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Aug 9, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I'm curious. Were you looking to have TM restore everything from a bare drive... or did you install OSX first... and then use TM to restore applications and user data?

    Even thought I do believe that it is supported, I have never personally tried to completely restore from a bare drive. Instead, I always installed OSX first.

  13. Elsmar macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2008
    West Chester, Ohio, USA
    I used the restore disk (2008 iMac) which has an option to restore a bare drive from the Time Machine drive. Using that option it formats the internal disk first.

    I did try booting from the internal drive after I "cloned the clone" back to my new, blank internal drive, and restore on top of that, but it did not work on any system files or applications or such.

    The clone was new enough that it really didn't matter because the 2008 is essentially a spare machine that mostly only my GF uses when she's here. I have a late 2012 27" iMac for every day use. I clone that every day or two.

    I have restored a complete drive with Time Machine when a friend's iMac drive crashed and was replaced. Why it failed on my 2008 iMac is a mystery. One of those "the backup failed" stories that one doesn't know why it failed. That's why I test cloned drives to make sure they boot and I run a couple programs to make sure apps run. I've seen backup failures before.
  14. Packdude macrumors newbie


    Apr 16, 2010
    I've used the free versions of both CCC & SD. I always fall back to SD. I've been debating on buying one of them and currently, SD is $28 vs $40 for CCC. Given the fact that they both have a similar feature set, I'll save the $12 and buy SD.
  15. cledet macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    I prefer SuperDuper! Such a great piece of software.
  16. firedept macrumors 603


    Jul 8, 2011
    I use CCC & TM. Has come in quite handy when I had to have a HDD replaced. So glad to have CCC. Made restore of new HDD very simple.
  17. Phantom Gremlin macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2010
    Tualatin, Oregon
    one way to choose

    Go to the respective websites for both programs. Look thru the FAQs and the support forums. Does one program seem to be more "with it", more actively developed and supported than the other?

    I'm a registered owner of one of these programs, based in good part on my opinion of the quality and variety of support info available.

    Also, I have received direct support from the developer for an issue I was having. I've used software costing *orders of magnitude* more money that wasn't as well supported.
  18. jlc1978, Jul 19, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013

    jlc1978 macrumors 68020


    Aug 14, 2009
    In addition to my regular backups, I have 2 programs that I have found useful as well:

    Sync (Decimus Software) I use it to backup my documents directory to and SD card. It backs up every time a file is changed so I have a complete duplicate of my file son an SD card if something happens to my SSD. While I'd still have to redo the drive at least I can keep working on another computer in the interim. As its name implies it can also sync files so if you update a file on another machine it will update the original when the containing drive is plugged back into the original's machine. Backups do not sync.

    Forever Save (Tool Force Software) This saves a copy of a file every time you do a Ctrl-S or at regular intervals after the first Ctrl - S; which creates a history so if you accidentally screw up and need to get an earlier version you can open one from FS archive. You have to tell it which programs to enable in FS; and if you do not do Ctrl-S at least once it doesn't save previous versions, unless you set its preferences to auto-save all documents. However, I have found it useful after accidentally deleting large chunks of text and saving the file or inadvertently overwriting a file with a completely different one.

    I'd love a real time way to save old versions but have not yet found a good solution. Sync can archive changed files but I have not really explored that option.
  19. Drewski macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2011
    Somewhere else
    What is the significance of this feature? I mean, CCC and SD both clone the drive, right? Pardon my Apple ignorance, I guess I don't understand the difference between a clone and the "OSX Recovery Partition."
  20. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Under Lion and Mountain Lion your machine has a hidden, 650MB recovery partition with some troubleshooting tools and an installer that allows you to download the 4.7GB OS from Apple. Then you have the OS itself installed on the Macintosh HD partition.

    SD only copies (clones) over the Macintosh HD partition and not the hidden recovery partition, where CCC does both.

    So if you use SD, for example, to "clone" to a new drive you install you will not have a recovery partition on the new drive.

    I see from your wording you mention cloning a drive, when that is not really what either app is doing. They are just cloning whatever partition you choose, typically Macintosh HD. CCC just has the added benefit of automatically recognizing the hidden recovery partition and copying it over also.
  21. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I use SuperDuper and it works fine for me. I use the smart update, and it saved my wife's mini when the HDD became corrupted. I run multiple backups on separate physical drives on all my Macs.

    CCC is probably just as good;d I just happened to buy SuperDuper.
  22. bobr1952 macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    I thing both are great--I have always used Super Duper and will continue using it since it does everything I need done. I also use Time Machine--use that every day--and usually only clone my rMBP before updates. :)
  23. Oldmanmac macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2012
    Using either SD or CCC is a toss up.
    My question concerns Time Machine. Is it ok to put CCCC files & TM files on the same external disk? That would be both types of backup on the same disk for recovery.
  24. blesscheese, Sep 21, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013

    blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    I think what you are seeing is that some people prefer one over the other, and generally haven't used both.

    I have used SuperDuper for the past 5 years. It works flawlessly, and is very easy to use; it walks you through the steps and you never have to worry about doing anything wrong.

    As a correction to what others have posted above, SuperDuper has a "Smart Update" feature in which it will only copy over the changed files, essentially mimicking the cloning procedure, but in only a fraction of a time.

    I had a not-so-great experience with CCC about 10 years ago, I'm sure that issue doesn't exist any more.

    I also regularly use Chronosync with another drive, to synchronize and back-up files and folders, without doing a full backup. That is another great piece of software.

    Generally using either SuperDuper or CCC, along with Time Machine is a great back-up system. In a way, I find cloning a drive easier to understand, and you always know what you have.

    FWIW, I just went to their respective websites again...CCC is free to try for the first 30 days. SuperDuper is completely free to use forever, with just the basic cloning feature set (so you can do the full clone, but not the quicker Smart Update on subsequent clones). The other cool thing about SuperDuper is that I paid for it several years ago when I first used it on my PPC Macs, and I haven't had to pay for an upgrade since. Oh well, I guess I just jinxed myself :)
  25. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    With Time Machine pointed only at user projects/docs, you can get by with a pretty small partition, and weekly full SuperDuper/CCC smart backup keeps the potential for pain low.

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