Is Time Machine still the best Mac backup software?

mossme89

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 2, 2009
547
96
Or is there something better? I've heard good things about Carbon Copy Cloner. Any others you'd recommend? Time Machine has worked alright but it's been neglected as a feature and desperately needs an update even just to address performance.

Some big issues:
-It's slow as heck. Takes forever to prepare and load new files.
-Corruption is a very big issue.
-Incompatible with Windows
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2012
1,857
1,515
An island in the Pacific Ocean
Or is there something better? I've heard good things about Carbon Copy Cloner. Any others you'd recommend? Time Machine has worked alright but it's been neglected as a feature and desperately needs an update even just to address performance.

Some big issues:
-It's slow as heck. Takes forever to prepare and load new files.
-Corruption is a very big issue.
-Incompatible with Windows
Time Machine works fine for me..... just plug in an external HDD, turn Time Machine on, and with minimal set up, it does it's thing in the background. It was one of the reasons I replaced my 2005 Mac Mini in 2009, rather than repair the original. I have been using Time Machine since then, initially with a 256 GB HDD, which I replaced with a 1TB HDD about three years ago. I reckon I'll replace it in a year or so....

Slow.... not an issue. It just does it's thing and doesn't seem to interfere with anything else.

Corruption..... Haven't heard of nor experienced any issues. The odd file that I have retrieved has been fine. Can't say that I have used it to recover from a failed HDD or to set up a new computer yet.

Windows.... I got a Mac to use Mac. I don't have Windows installed, and seldom even use "Office for Mac" these days. iWork is fine for my needs.

For important work files and a few other things I also back up manually onto another external HDD from time to time. Some folks I know also use iCloud and/or Dropbox. Good idea if you use multiple devices, but I have just the one Mac Mini; no smartphone, tablet or anything else.

Dunno for sure, but it seems to me that you are making an issue out of nothing.
 

Riwam

macrumors 65816
Jan 7, 2014
1,080
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Basel, Switzerland
Or is there something better? I've heard good things about Carbon Copy Cloner. Any others you'd recommend? Time Machine has worked alright but it's been neglected as a feature and desperately needs an update even just to address performance.

Some big issues:
-It's slow as heck. Takes forever to prepare and load new files.
-Corruption is a very big issue.
-Incompatible with Windows
********
CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper! work differently to TimeMachine. :rolleyes:
They make a (bootable) clone copy of your system at a given moment when ordered to do so. ;)
TimeMachine works in the background by itself as long as the drive used for it is on. o_O
You don't need to state an order to have it work as is the case with the other two clone applications.
You can complement TimeMachine with periodical (incremental) clones using CCC or SuperDuper! since additional safety measures never harm but always do good. :)
The only thing in common is that both ways help to backup your system and increase its safety against data loss, but they operate in different ways to do so.
As to your Bootcamp Windows, that partition can be cloned from the Mac OS side using "Winclone" although it is not an application as smooth and easy to use as TimeMachine, CCC or SuperDuper!
Ed
 
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elf69

macrumors 68020
Jun 2, 2016
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Cornwall UK
I'd not say was best option but it does an ok job at backing up.

that is what it is supposed to do.
I use TM as it easy and I just let it do it's thing.

CC and superduper is better in some ways as it's bootable.

I just stick with TM as does what I need.

I find only the first TM backup takes ages and there after is much faster as only backs up the differences.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,275
6,135
The question:
"Is Time Machine still the best Mac backup software?"

The answer:
It never was.

Try CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
Both are free to download and try for 30 days.
Both will create BOOTABLE cloned backups that are indistinguishable from your originals.

If you don't like the results, you can always just erase the drive and try something else.
 

mossme89

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 2, 2009
547
96
The question:
"Is Time Machine still the best Mac backup software?"

The answer:
It never was.

Try CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
Both are free to download and try for 30 days.
Both will create BOOTABLE cloned backups that are indistinguishable from your originals.

If you don't like the results, you can always just erase the drive and try something else.
What about version history? That's what I'm mainly trying to backup, previous versions of edited files. I know TM does this, what about CCC or SuperDuper?
 

Honza1

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2013
472
161
US
This has been discussed here 100000x times so here is summary/comparison.

TL;RD version: you need both...

1. Time Machine is unique backup which does not have to be fast, it is continuous backup, working always behind you back. It is perfect for routine users, it is free, generally works (yes, disks get corrupted sometimes, but that happens with EVERY disk once in a while). I did my best to find similar software on Windows years ago and even though some exist, they are never as smooth, easy to use, and as result useful. They are ridiculously difficult to use in case of disaster, which is strength of TM. So use TM - it is excellent for periodic backup. I have two - one at work and one at home.

2. Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper are excellent backup solutions which create bootable snapshot of current system. They are very useful to keep complete snapshot of the system at given moment in time (=before upgrade, for example), but they are not as good to be able to go "back in time". I have two CCC backups (you guest it, one at work and one home) made once per week automatically.

If your system fails, CCC or SD backup allows you to immediately restart the system from the backup disk - possibly at somehow old time. If that is what you want, use those solutions.

If you are looking for old file use TM - my TM has last snapshots going back ~2 years. Excellent as cheap always on "version control" with limited granularity. Keeps 2 hours snapshots for some time, then daily, and eventually (further back) weekly until it runs out of space... Spectacular and dumb easy to use.

If your system fails and you have TM, you can wipe/replace the drive, install OSX on that and using migration assistant restore from TM. Takes lots of time (12 hours for me the last time - may be more depending on amount of data) BUT - you are within 2 hours of the disaster... It restores everything, even history of each application, it was amazing.
 

dianeoforegon

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2011
907
137
Oregon
What about version history? That's what I'm mainly trying to backup, previous versions of edited files. I know TM does this, what about CCC or SuperDuper?
CCC allows you to select turn on SafetyNet. Modified and deleted files will be cached as space allows on the destination drive.

DropBox also has a version history, but it's an option only in the paid account.
 
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fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
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ny somewhere
CCC; i don't want the files i've deleted, i just want a mirror of my mac in the present (i realize that's not for everyone, and, that if i needed an old file, it's gone. which has never happened :cool: ).

crashplan is also great (especially on my macbook; no drive to connect, and backing up all the time, even when i'm mobile).
 

ignatius345

macrumors 68020
Aug 20, 2015
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This has been discussed here 100000x times so here is summary/comparison.

TL;RD version: you need both...

1. Time Machine is unique backup which does not have to be fast, it is continuous backup, working always behind you back. It is perfect for routine users, it is free, generally works (yes, disks get corrupted sometimes, but that happens with EVERY disk once in a while). I did my best to find similar software on Windows years ago and even though some exist, they are never as smooth, easy to use, and as result useful. They are ridiculously difficult to use in case of disaster, which is strength of TM. So use TM - it is excellent for periodic backup. I have two - one at work and one at home.

2. Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper are excellent backup solutions which create bootable snapshot of current system. They are very useful to keep complete snapshot of the system at given moment in time (=before upgrade, for example), but they are not as good to be able to go "back in time". I have two CCC backups (you guest it, one at work and one home) made once per week automatically.

If your system fails, CCC or SD backup allows you to immediately restart the system from the backup disk - possibly at somehow old time. If that is what you want, use those solutions.

If you are looking for old file use TM - my TM has last snapshots going back ~2 years. Excellent as cheap always on "version control" with limited granularity. Keeps 2 hours snapshots for some time, then daily, and eventually (further back) weekly until it runs out of space... Spectacular and dumb easy to use.

If your system fails and you have TM, you can wipe/replace the drive, install OSX on that and using migration assistant restore from TM. Takes lots of time (12 hours for me the last time - may be more depending on amount of data) BUT - you are within 2 hours of the disaster... It restores everything, even history of each application, it was amazing.
Totally concur. As someone who's lost everything data-wise in a burglary -- and had my backup disk stolen as well -- I'm a lot more careful now.

I use CCC in a slightly different way, to facilitate having an offsite copy of everything. I keep my CCC drives (filevault encrypted!) at my office. Once a month, I retrieve them and make another clone of my iMac's internal and external drives, then I drop the backup drives back off at the office. There's some extra space on the drives, so changed/deleted files are also saved via that great "safety net" feature CCC has.

Running Time Machine locally of course, and also a lot of things are continuously synced/backed up via Dropbox or iCloud. Photos, all my writing, etc. I don't care to have my connection constantly saturated uploading everything, but this is a good first line of defense. Dropbox keeps modified versions for 30 days on my cheap account, which is nice.

All this is done on my iMac. My MacBook has less stuff on it, and what it does have is all either in Dropbox or iCloud, and occasionally backed up to a Time Machine drive. In any case, it could die at any time and I'd lose nothing but a bit of restore time.
 
Last edited:

stooovie

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2010
793
297
As for corruption: don't use Time Machine with network drives. It's just not reliable over AFP/SMB and probably will crap out eventually.
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,497
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Hong Kong
IMO, it's really depends on what you want.

If you want a full system backup, CCC is the way to go. TM backup can't even boot.

If you want something that can easily allow you to recovery a single file. Then TM is a very good backup solution indeed. It's virtually transparent to the user. The UI during recovery is super simple. And it allow you easily to preview the backup of different time (different version).

Since I prefer to have at least 2 backup for important files. So, I actually have both TM and CCC.

Are they fast or slow, doesn't really matter. They are just background process 99.99% of the time.

If the main drive die. Then boot from the clone, continue my work, and re-clone it back to the original (or new) drive. Again, speed doesn't really matter, I am already using my computer. The recovery is just a background process.

If I want to recovery a particular file, I really prefer TM. It may take a few seconds for TM to show up the files (3TB Time Capsule connected via network cable), but I can always locate the file I want within a minute.
 
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mikecwest

macrumors 6502a
Jul 7, 2013
980
335
The question:
"Is Time Machine still the best Mac backup software?"

The answer:
It never was.

Try CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
Both are free to download and try for 30 days.
Both will create BOOTABLE cloned backups that are indistinguishable from your originals.

If you don't like the results, you can always just erase the drive and try something else.
This is not 100% true, as your UUID will not be the same... meaning you will have to re-sync certain softwares. One of which is DropBox, which normally is not an issue, but if you are like some, you might have a dropbox setup that you do not know the password to...and not all IT departments are Mac friendly... There may be other software licensing issues as well based on those UUIDs.
 

Booch21

macrumors regular
Oct 13, 2010
174
68
I love Time Machine. It works fine and has never failed me. I backup multiple external HD's as well as the internal. Had to swap out a 3TB for a 4TB after failure and TM restored to the new, larger drive without issue. I'm also using BackBlaze for cloud backup and, while I love it knowing eventually it will be up to date, I have yet to completely backup all of my drives after a couple of months. If I needed to rely on that for my restore, it would let me down badly.
 

Sciuriware

macrumors 6502
Jan 4, 2014
343
26
Gelderland
Or is there something better? I've heard good things about Carbon Copy Cloner. Any others you'd recommend? Time Machine has worked alright but it's been neglected as a feature and desperately needs an update even just to address performance.

Some big issues:
-It's slow as heck. Takes forever to prepare and load new files.
-Corruption is a very big issue.
-Incompatible with Windows
As stated by several others: it's best to combine TM with a cloning backup.
TM was never intended to compete with those but serves to correct your files
after loss, editing accidents or changing your mind on changes or installations.
In fact it is targeting professional code writers.
Since 10.13.2 it works well with partial disk exclusions too.
I have never seen any corruption in 4 years on 3 different systems.
And I try to forget about my experiences with MSWindows from 3.0 till Windows 7.
B.t.w: macOS was the FIRST commercial windows on earth, MS bought it from APPLE.
;JOOP!
 

LarryJoe33

macrumors 68000
Jul 17, 2017
1,625
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Boston
I use both CCC5 and TM. Best of both worlds. That said, I have never used TM to restore a file or the system. CCC has saved my ass many times.
 

Ashka

macrumors 6502a
Aug 9, 2008
599
66
New Zealand
Time Machine was a real time saver when it first came out after many years of backing up to CDs then DVDs every month...
Still use it and so far have set up a new MacBook Air when they first came out and then my new 2015 MacBook Pro using Time Machine.. No problems & nothing missing. I use two portable drives and back up both twice a week. One drive is always at home the other is always with me.
 

gages

macrumors regular
Sep 25, 2016
117
33
TM + CCC + Dropbox user here. Recently added ARQ, it lets me backup (w/ revision control) to my non used DropBox space. This allows me to have backups in the Cloud.
 
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noteple

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2011
1,407
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As for corruption: don't use Time Machine with network drives. It's just not reliable over AFP/SMB and probably will crap out eventually.
A Time Capsule is a Network Drive no ? They have worked well.
I currently have 4 macs (mixed os's) using Time Machine over AFP to a FreeNas (11.1) with no troubles over the last 4 yrs
Also recommend ARQ for cloud system backup.
 
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Honza1

macrumors 6502
Nov 30, 2013
472
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US
Keep in mind: Time Capsule and all other network based TM/backup systems are very convenient - BUT awfully slow, much slower than USB connected disk. TM restore is slow even when using USB cable connected TM disk, imagine same thing using much slower - and much less reliable - wifi connection. Or your home internet connection to some cloud storage.
I complained to CCC author once for his program stopping mid backup to my network drive. He told me not to rely on wifi - too unreliable - and use ethernet (hm, on recent Macbooks?).
Keep that in mind if you have large volume of data to deal with.
Also, important is to make sure a backup system is TESTED once in a while. Our IT had perfect backup system - well planned, commercial, expensive, and compulsory... until someone actually needed to restore a system. Only then IT found out that all their backups years back cannot be restored for some technical reason. No one ever tested the system for recovery. I am sure it is fixed now.
 
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supermars

macrumors newbie
Dec 1, 2015
25
12
3 MacBook backups Time Machine via TimeCapsule : fine, reliable, harmless since 2010 + SuperDuper once a month.