Time machine backup vs Carbon Copy Cloner

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by puckhead193, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    Long story short, I think its time I need a fresh install of OS X. I want to do a back up of my HDD but don't know which route to go? Should I use Time Machine or Carbon Copy Cloner. I want to start completely fresh just transfer over my files and no OS/Apps etc. Which is the better route to take?

    I'm leaning towards Carbon Copy only because I can have a bootable drive if something goes wrong. However, once the back up is made can I just drag and drop my files again? I'm mostly concerned about my iTunes and photos/lightroom/aperture libraries and playlist/folders? For instance if I copy of the iTunes Music Library.xml file it should recreate my library as it was, correct?
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    For your purposes, CCC is better for the reason you mentioned.

    Unless you just want CCC for use later though, you don't really need it for this. Just use Disk Utility to "restore" Macintosh HD to an external drive and you will have the exact same end result (a clone) as if you used CCC.

    Just select your external, Backup in my example, then click the restore button then pick Macintosh HD in the dropdown and click the Restore button.

    That xml is not the actual music. You will want to copy over the entire contents of the Music folder.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.12.55 AM.png
  3. Fishrrman macrumors G4


    Feb 20, 2009
    CCC is what you want to use.

    It will create an exact copy of the internal drive in "plain old finder format".

    That means: just plug in the backup, mount it on the desktop, and "copy over what you need".

    If you choose to do this -- that is, if you wish to just "drag over" stuff from the backup to a newly-created account on the internal drive -- you need to take an extra step to avoid permissions problems.

    Do this:
    1. mount backup on desktop (just the drive icon)
    2. click ONE TIME on the icon to select it
    3. type "command-i" (eye) to bring up the get info box
    4. in the bottom right, click on the lock icon and enter your password
    5. toward the bottom left (in the "sharing and permissions" area), there is a checkbox "ignore ownership on this volume"
    6. put a check into this box, then close the get info box.

    BE AWARE that you CANNOT COPY the "main subfolders" in your old account (backup) to the new one. I believe these are "more than" just "folders" -- they are "symbolic links". These are the folders named "Music", "Pictures", "Movies", "Documents", etc.

    However, you CAN COPY the CONTENTS of these folders.
    It helps to keep paper and pencil nearby, to keep track of things as you go along.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I prefer CCC for full system backups and using TM for incremental backups. To put it another way, CCC is much faster at restoring a system then TM is, so I use that for full system backups. TM is used when I mess up a document and I want to restore a specific version of the file.

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