Mac Convert Question - Backing up

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Carpediem68, Feb 4, 2007.

  1. Carpediem68 macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2007
    Hi Gang,

    I did it. I used to want a mac back in college (20 years ago) when it had a built in handle and would say "hello" to you when you turned it on. But.. alas.. I was broke. Then I became a lawyer. An industry dominated by M$. I finally got a look at Windows Vista and decided "Thats it .. I'm done". I found myself that afternoon in the Applestore putting a sizeable dent in my bank account for a macbook pro 17" and I love it. I love it more than is rational. Anyway, I'm now set up with Parallels (for 2 programs I MUST use once in awhile), M$ office on mac and a few other programs. I'm still learning but love the mac. Love the reliability, the stability, and the "fun" of it. I've already got the family chistmas dvd done and iDVD blows away anything I ever used on the PC. I do, however, have a few questions ....

    Backing Up

    My MacBook Pro has a 160 mb hard drive. I have a little WD passport drive that I use to make backups on. I also have a 200 MB western digitial USB drive and while on PC I *knew* what files to back up I'm not sure I do here. Should I selectively back up pictures, docs, etc.. or should I just find one of the programs that mirrors the drive? If so... which one.

    All feedback is greatly appreciated.

    I don't see many utilities in Tiger ... i.e. defrag, etc.. What do you guys use? Do you need it? If so, what do you recomend?

  2. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Mirroring increases reliability, but not data security. If your primary drive fails you have a copy ready to take over. However, if you delete the wrong program or regret saving changes your mirror will have copied that too.

    If your external drive is big enough back up the whole drive. There are free programs here that will help you do it. Since you want to backup regularly, and since backing the whole drive takes time, you might want to buy SuperDuper! in order to get Smart Backup. If not, just stick with the free portion.

    OS-X defrags itself. Restarting every couple of weeks doesn't hurt. Neither does running Disk Utility occasionally. Best wishes.
  3. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

    Apr 2, 2006
  4. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    i clone my drive using SuperDuper!
    this way i have a backup that i can boot from if i lose my primary drive.

    i don't defrag, haven't needed to since i got my Mac
  5. Carpediem68 thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2007
    I think I probably will just wait for Time Machine. However, in the meantime what exactly should I be backing up to my external hard drive manually?

    Looking at my Finder directory I have..

    1. Applications
    2. David
    3. Documents
    4. Movies
    5. Music
    6. Pictures

    If I just copy items 2-6 to an external HD am I basically ok?
  6. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    if you copy your home folder, your docs/movies/music/photos are all in there ;)
  7. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    I use rsync to incrementally backup my /Users directory to an external FW drive every day. I run it from the command line, although I think there are GUI front ends for it (like RsyncX) - I never bothered since I always have a terminal window open.

    After the initial (approx) 90 minute run (maybe 1 minute per GB), it only takes a couple of minutes to update any changes.

    My reasoning behind not doing a full disk backup is, if anything goes wrong, I won't lose more than one day of important data, and it would be a good opportunity to do a clean install.

    I also have a separate partition on my external hard drive with a basic OS X install, in case my HD fails to such an extent I can no longer boot off it. And to test OS X updates before applying them to my main boot disk.
  8. Mr Skills macrumors 6502a

    Mr Skills

    Nov 21, 2005
    The simplest way is just to back up your home directory ("David" or whatever). Assuming that you have been saving all your stuff in fairly normal places (i.e. documents in the "documents" folder etc.) then this will back up all the important stuff, including iPhoto and ITunes library.

    Longer term, I would hold out for Time Machine in Leopard. The great thing about Time Machine is that someone has finally worked out an intuitive way of restoring your data, not just backing it up. Of course, you might want to wait until 10.5.1 just in case 10.5.0 has any issues.

    You really, really don't need to defrag with Tiger. In fact, it can decrease your drive's performance (Tiger likes to put often-used files on easily-accessed parts of the disk, and defragging can undo this). Tiger automatically defrags files less than 20MB on-the-fly and its file system is careful about where it puts larger files. I work professionally in audio, where I'm often really caning the drives - and I have never had to defrag a drive in OSX.

    For the other disky stuff there is Disk Utility in the Utilities folder which can do (very) basic disk repair (I think this is going to become more comprehensive in Leopard), formatting, mounting etc.

    If I have one piece of advice for keeping OSX running smoothly, it would be this: let it be. Every time someone says "hey, try out XYZ disk-cleaning/cache-emptying/coffee-making utility," I end up regretting it just a little. It's well designed; don't repair it until it's broken.

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