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Bubble99

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2015
1,097
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I have Mac laptop 128 GB SSD I have not back it up in number of years. How should I go about backing it up.

Note it is MacBook Pro.
 
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Alameda

macrumors 65816
Jun 22, 2012
1,044
640
I have Mac laptop 128 GB SSD I have not back it up in number of years. How should I go about backing it up.

Note it is MacBook Pro.
Get a USB hard drive of 512 GB or greater.
Plug it into your Mac.
A dialog will appear, asking if you want to use the drive as a Time Machine
Click OK
Keep the drive plugged in all the time. When you need to remove it, to take your Mac in the road, eject the drive by dragging its icon to the Trash.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,603
12,728
Small internal SSD?

My suggestions will be different:
- Get a 256gb 2.5" SATA SSD:
The Crucial drive for $30 looks good enough for what you need (just a backup drive).

Get a USB3 enclosure:
https://www.amazon.com/ORICO-External-Enclosure-Installation-Supports/dp/B01MYTZW5R/ref=sr_1_5?crid=5PV3JJBCKDBJ&keywords=ssd+enclosure+SATA+usb3.1+gen2&qid=1700148863&sprefix=ssd+enclosure+sata+usb3.1+gen2,aps,55&sr=8-5&th=1

Download SuperDuper from here (link initiates download)
download
SD is FREE to use for this purpose, it's also one of the easiest-to-use Mac apps anywhere:

Now, clone your boot drive to the external with SD.
It will be an EXACT COPY of the drive inside.
And... it may be bootable as well.
 

Bubble99

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2015
1,097
301
Note I should say I want to back up the laptop than format the hard drive and sale the laptop. Does this change how it should be back up?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,603
12,728
If it has an intel processor in it (i.e., is NOT an m-series Mac), then you should do as I recommend in reply 4 above.

With the bootable clone, you can:
- boot from the cloned backup (hold down option key at boot)
- use disk utility to COMPLETELY erase the MB's internal drive
- install a fresh copy of the OS
- now the MB is ready to sell, and you STILL HAVE a cloned backup of what was on the internal drive -- it can be mounted on the desktop of your other Macs.
 

kagharaht

macrumors 68000
Oct 7, 2007
1,556
1,067
Let's say you erase the Mac. Is there a way for TM to just restore user data when the Migration Assistant kicks back after setting up the Mac?
 

Alameda

macrumors 65816
Jun 22, 2012
1,044
640
Let's say you erase the Mac. Is there a way for TM to just restore user data when the Migration Assistant kicks back after setting up the Mac?
Yes, that’s exactly what Migration Assistant does. If you’re just trying to backup the Mac so you can sell it and migrate to a new Mac, then you only need a 128 or 256GB SSD or hard disk and Time Machine is the best approach, because as soon as you boot your new Mac, it will prompt you to restore from a Time Machine backup.
 
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kagharaht

macrumors 68000
Oct 7, 2007
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Yes, that’s exactly what Migration Assistant does. If you’re just trying to backup the Mac so you can sell it and migrate to a new Mac, then you only need a 128 or 256GB SSD or hard disk and Time Machine is the best approach, because as soon as you boot your new Mac, it will prompt you to restore from a Time Machine backup.
Ok got it. What I'm trying to avoid is corrupted plist files, system files, setting, that kind of thing. Because if they are corrupted in some way, it will bring back a problem from a specific 3rd party app or even the build in apps from Apple right?
 

H_D

macrumors regular
Jun 14, 2021
237
261
Carbon Copy Cloner to one, better two external SSD. These are cheap these days, a regular T7 should suffice. CCC will save you when your system crashes and has to be restored but is also great for daily backups that keep old versions and might save lost files etc.

Plus Backblaze, the best subscription you will ever make ;-). You install it, forget it and one day it just will save you from a fatal loss of data. It’s super great.

It also helps to keep working files on iCloud or Dropbox, as these are automatically synched to the cloud. Dropbox saved some files I accidentally deleted a couple of times. Apple crippled Dropbox rather a lot in the last years, but it still is a solid product.
 

Brian33

macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2008
1,442
361
USA (Virginia)
What I'm trying to avoid is corrupted plist files, system files, setting, that kind of thing. Because if they are corrupted in some way, it will bring back a problem from a specific 3rd party app or even the build in apps from Apple right?
Maybe.

IIRC, Migration Assistant allows you to not restore system settings and "other files", so that's straightforward -- you shouldn't get any "system-level" problems on the new installation.

However, if you restore one or more user accounts, the entire user account will be restored (I think), including <username>/Library/Preferences folder, which most apps use to store plist files (application settings). So it's possible that a problem from the past system could be brought to the new system that way

I wouldn't worry too much about that possibility. I'd do the migration and check for whatever issues you're worried about afterwards.
 

Alameda

macrumors 65816
Jun 22, 2012
1,044
640
Ok got it. What I'm trying to avoid is corrupted plist files, system files, setting, that kind of thing. Because if they are corrupted in some way, it will bring back a problem from a specific 3rd party app or even the build in apps from Apple right?
Time Machine will install on top of the operating system that’s already installed on your new Mac, but it does copy over your third party apps and their settings. You will be up and running in a system that’s just like your old Mac, on the hardware and new OS of the new Mac. I haven’t had a problem with this route, but you’re right, it may not be 100% foolproof in protecting you against a corrupted file. I don’t think that using a different backup software program will protect in this case, either.

You could choose to backup only your Documents folder and then re-download and reinstall all of your applications on the new Mac. iCloud will restore your Notes and Calendars. But this process takes a lot longer and you’ll have to reset all of your preferences.
 
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