Copying folders to thumb drive for backup

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Electcon, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Electcon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    #1
    I use a thumb drive to backup my iMac with OSX 10.7.5.

    What I do is I copy the iTune folder, the iPhoto Library, and a directory called "Important" over to the thumb drive.

    I would like to do this more often, but it takes a while to copy over the Important directory since it has about 13Gbs of data in it.

    My question is this, what if I don't copy the entire thing, completely replacing the old file like I have been? If I choose not to replace, will OSX know which files to add? I am just a little worried about trusting it.

    For example, what if I had a directory inside of the Important directory called "PDFs" (Important/PDFs). Let's say I now deleted that directory on my Mac. When I did the backup and copied the entire Important directory to the thumb drive, would it now delete that PDFs directory?
     
  2. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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  3. Electcon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2013
    #3
    Like a trillion bytes. Why?
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #4
    You can use the utility Carbon Copy Cloner to do exactly what you want. It is $40 though.

    You just check mark the folders you want to copy on the left side then the destination on the right like in my screenshot. In my example only my Documents and Photos folders will get copied to the destination.

    [​IMG]

    Once you get it setup how you want, you can click "Schedule this task" to save for the next time you run this.

    After you have run the backup the first time, the next time you run it the app will compare both folder and only copy over changed or new files. This avoids copying all the data over again.
     
  5. Electcon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2013
    #5
    I'm curious about how Mac OSX does it. If Mac replaces updated files and directories or not. I asked because it pops up a box that says something to that effect and gives me a choice, but I would like to know for sure exactly what happens.

    I'd rather not use third party software, especially for $40, I'd rather just copy the entire directory over.
     
  6. Weaselboy, Jan 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013

    Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

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    #6
    If you delete the folder/files on the destination, and drag them over again you will get a complete copy. If you do the same thing without deleting the destination, you will get the popup prompt you mentioned asking if you want to replace the existing file on the destination.. if you click replace it will overwrite the old file with the new one.

    Understood... $40 is a lot for an app.

    OS X includes a command line utility run from Terminal called rsync and it will automate somewhat what you are trying to do. You can read a bit about that here.

    Edit: Look here and you can use the older, free version of Carbon Copy Cloner to do what you want.
     
  7. Electcon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 14, 2013
    #7
    I'll just keep copying the entire directory and having it overwrite it on the thumbdrive.
     
  8. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #8
    I'd consider DropBox for the PDFs and documents. It's automatic.

    Your thumb drive will have limited write cycles, I've worn a couple out.
     
  9. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #9
    Yes.

    I use the same "backup" strategy. I either copy individual files when I edit them, overwriting the previous ones on the thumb drive, or I copy sub-folders over when there are many changes within it. I almost never copy over a "mother" folder that has several sub-folders in it.

    So don't think of your thumb drive as a backup destination. You are not doing backups. Think of it as a place you put copies of things. Replace the ones you edit, as you go. Don't wait until you can't remember which files you have edited.
     

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