How to Back Up Entire Drive


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2006
How do I get Time Machine to back up the entire drive in my MB Pro? I tried using a new, empty external drive but didn't have any luck. I want a copy before upgrading to the latest OS because my computer is painfully slow. My disk is about 50 percent full and there aren't a lot of programs open.

Thank you.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2006
Is the external drive larger than the Macbook drive? Were there any time machine errors during the backup process?
Sorry I left that out. No error messages. The backup drive is 2tb. The computer's drive is 1tb.

There are so many long delays and spinning beach balls that the MB is nearly insufferable to use.


macrumors 603
Jan 31, 2005
Omaha, NE, USA
Best thing for backing up an entire drive is Carbon Copy Cloner. The back up is even bootable in the case your main drive fails.


macrumors 6502a
Mar 31, 2015
Alternatively you could use Disk Utility while booted in the Recovery, Disk Utility cannot clone the drive which the Mac is started from.

Or you could use SuperDuper, basic functionality is free to use.

I'm not saying you can't use Time Machine but keep in mind that using it for full system restore is very slow compared to clone...


macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
Key West FL
I also recommend either SuperDuper (which I use) or Carbon Copy Cloner.

While Time Machine is great for maintaining a continuous backup or your files, it is not the choice for the OP's current needs. SD and CCC can create a true bootable clone.

After creating a clone with either, I highly recommend that you reboot your computer to test the clone. You do this by holding down the Option key as soon as you hear the boot tone. After the initial portion of the boot cycle you will get a sceen allowing you to select the desired boot volumn from any and all bootable volumns. Pick the new clone and confirm that all is good. You can then shutdown, disconnect the clone for safety, and reboot again.

If the subsequent OS upgrade fails or proves undesireable, you can boot from the clone and have a working, but likely slower, system right away by doing the Option key thing at boot time. Once you've booted using the clone, its a simple matter to re-clone it back onto the internal drive.

Since the OP's external is 2tb and the internal is 1tb, I would suggest that the external be repartitioned using Disk Utility first. That way it can hold two clones, one done before upgrade and one after.


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
swiftaw said it all in post 4 above.

CarbonCopyCloner is the app you want.
It's FREE to download, and it's FREE to use for the first 30 days.

It will create a FULLY BOOTABLE CLONE of your internal drive, that (for all practical purposes) will be indistinguishable from "the real one". It will boot and run exactly as your internal drive does now.

This becomes ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT if you're going to upgrade to a new version of the OS.

If you upgrade WITHOUT creating a fully-bootable backup, you may not have an easy way to "get back to where you once belonged".
This becomes trivially EASY... IF you have a cloned backup.
You just:
1. Boot from the backup
2. Re-initialize the internal drive
3. Clone the backup BACK TO the internal drive, and...
4. You're "right back where you started from".
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