the best back-up system - once and for all...

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by mufngruf, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. mufngruf macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Ever since the advent of "Time machine" I have been confused by the idea that TM doesn't actually back up EVERYTHING... so I got Super duper AND Carbon Copy Cloner, thinking that they would improve my chances....
    If I make a superduper sparse image and want to restore from the external drive containing the image, do I also have to have SD on the external drive, or just on the original machine? Or do I need to have it on the external first and do the SD image from there?
    Am I better off to boot from the external and use CCC to clone to the external - and is it easy-restorable?
    Or do I simply use Time Machine and try not to think about what it ISN'T backing up?
    it's all so VERY confusing.
    What's the accumulated wisdom from the forum on this potentially emergency conundrum.
  2. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    Hi you,
    Have you done a search on the forum ? There are loads of threads about this.

    But basically TM backups what has changed. And keep what hasn't. So it's already very reliable, it's named incremental backup and all data centers work like this. It would just take too much time to backup everything everyday.

    Clones are very easy to restore. Just buy a new disk if your previous is broken and start to restore booting from your clone.

    However it's recommended to do a disk image with CCC or SuperDupper in addition to that, let's say every week and store it in an other place.
  3. mufngruf thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    thanks... but...

    No, actually, i hadn't done a search of the forum, I just thought I'd ask the question. But, feeling duly chastised, I did a search for "best back up system"... none of the first fifty threads pertained to my question so I don't really know how I'm supposed to search for these mythical "loads of threads" you seem so sure of.
    I DO know that TM only backs up the changes since the last backup, but many sites and forums on the net mention that when TM backs up, (even for the first time) it doesn't actually copy everything. Apparently there are caches and other "stuff" that Apple claims are unnecessary to back up but I don't understand what this stuff is or how it's sudden disappearance from my restored system will affect the computer. That's why I asked the question... Over the last few months I see that many people around the net have found flaws with all of these systems, with varied solutions...

    So I thought maybe the collective experience of the forum might have, over time, formulated a preferred combination of systems. One backup is enough for me, i don't need them in several places but I do want something that will allow me to restore my computer IN FULL to the exact condition it was in when the "Nightmare" situation occurred.... or, I suppose, just a few seconds earlier.
    I do thank you for the ideas and the data about how to reboot from the external but my basic question remains unanswered. Maybe it's just a matter of personal preference..
  4. Zyniker macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    Carbon Copy Cloner. If you want an exact ("FULL") restore, that's your best option.
  5. mufngruf thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    good stuff - almost there

    Thanks, so - I have CCC on my imac and use it to make a CC image to my external firewire.
    Then I restart my computer from the dvd.
    Will disk utility allow me to restore from that image file on the external?
    And, since I will keep on making TM backups anyway, what would actually be the difference between the two backups - that's the part that confuses me... what will be missing from the TM that will be present in the CCC?
  6. Zyniker macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    No need to boot from the DVD, just boot off the FireWire drive and then use CCC to clone the FireWire drive over to the internal drive. ;)

    As for missing bits, you won't be gaining anything of too great a value in using CCC verses Time Machine. Realistically, using both just helps to preclude one catastrophic malfunction from taking out your entire backup plan. As for the Time Machine backup, it will provide you with hourly/daily/weekly backups of the files on your system as you change/update them. This can be very useful if you wish to restore an older version of a document or app, etc.

    Time Machine and CCC are different solutions, but have some goals in common.
  7. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Use both Time Machine & a clone. Time Machine for an ongoing, incremental backup. Then, periodically update an image (clone) backup. I would strongly suggest separate physical drives for each.

    Unless you deliberately exclude system files, Time Machine will make a complete backup of your drive. It's not bootable itself, but if you restore from it, you will have a bootable, exact copy of whichever backup you chose (you can select any specific hour, day, etc., when restoring). Boot off your OS-X install DVD to access the Time Machine restore feature.

    For cloning, Apple's Disk Utility will make an exact, bootable, image of your drive. Boot off your OS-X install DVD, run Disk Utility, then use the Restore function. Check "erase destination" to enable block copying. I've used this method for years with 100% reliability.
  8. Schroedinger macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    Three part system:

    1. Bootable backup: Clone your startup disk to a firewire external. In case your internal drive dies you can boot off the clone and be running in no time. Replace the internal drive and clone back over and all is good.

    2. Time Machine: In case you lost something, or deleted something, or something is corrupted. Helps to recover from minor issues. Also useful for a complete system restore in case things get hinky and you want to start over.

    3. Offsite: Mozy or Carbonite or Amazon. Something in the cloud, far away. Back up pictures and anything else you couldn't afford to lose in a fire or flood or at the hands of really efficient crooks.

    Good luck.
  9. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Here's a few. Don't use words like "best" in a search as they are very loaded. Keep it simple by doing searches on "backup software" or "backup applications."

    I personally use CCC with the incremental backup option.
  10. omeletpants macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2005
    It's always best to search the forum for information rather than starting a new and redundant thread.
  11. Tumbleweed666 macrumors 68000


    Mar 20, 2009
    Near London, UK.
    And one more thing.

    Occasionally, do a trial file restore from all of these. You really dont want to find out your backup hasn't been properly backing up for the last several months, when you need it. Better to discover that before you need it.

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