Time Machine + Carbon Copy Cloner

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by macstatic, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. macstatic macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    I read somewhere that it's a good idea to use Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) together with Time Machine, but I've been unable to figure out how to do this.
    Other posts related to the subject discuss using one Time Machine backup drive and another drive having CCC used to back up, but that's impractical for me. It would be great to have a bootable external Time Machine backup drive. Is this possible, and if yes -how do I proceed?
    (Note: I already have lots of time machine backups on my external drive -will this data be deleted so Time Machine starts from scratch, or will it still be there?).
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    A TM backup is not bootable, but you can use CCC and TM with the same physical HDD, although different partitions/volumes should be used for each.
    But if you use the same HDD with two backup solutions, one of them is redundant, as the HDD can fail and you have no backup.

    Anyway, if you want to use one HDD and most probably only one partition, you can use CCC and TM one the same volume/partition anyway, as TM has only one folder in the root directory of the TM drive, that does not get touched by CCC during its course.

    And the "lots of time machine backups on your external drive" will be kept untouched too, as they are most probably stored in the same folder as the TM backup, unless you stored them somewhere else.

    Take a look for yourself, open a Finder window and select the TM partition and see if there are any other folders besides the "Backups.backupdb" folder, that you didn't put yourself there.
  3. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    Thanks, that's what I wanted to hear :)
    Time Machine will take care of the actual backups while CCC would be useful for making the same drive bootable with a fully working MacOSX just in case the iMac's hard drive fails.

    I've had (perhaps still have) some issues with the iMac (read my other recent threads) so I've reinstalled MacOSX from the DVDs and created a different username than before. Unfortunately I connected and switched on my Time Machine backup hard drive and now the username inside the "Backups.backupdb" folder has changed.
    Now that I've yet again reinstalled MacOSX on the iMac with the original username (different from the one inside "Backups.backupdb") will there be a conflict, or will the Time Machine drive's username change to whatever the iMac's username is once it's connected?
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I use both, for slightly different reasons.
    First TimeMachine backs up nearly my entire drive, except for some directories like my LightRoom library (adobe recommends excluding this from TM because of issues).

    I also have a CCC backup on a different external drive, actually two external drives. One drive is a portable unit that I take off site, as a backup won't do me any good if a fire/theft or other incident destroys the room that holds my computer.

    The purpose for TM for my needs is document/file retrieval. If I mess some document up, deleted a file I shouldn't have or some other minor issue. I'll grab the backed up copy from TM. Plus it provides some level of versioning, in that I can pull back a document that I made some changes to two weeks ago. CCC is only has a single copy.

    If I truly mess the system up, I can just "reimage" it with CCC. I've found that trying to do a full system restore with TimeMachine is so painfully slow, that I its really not feasible for me t use TM in that way. It took 8+ hours once to restore my MBP with TM. I then started using CCC and as a experiment I restore the MBP again with CCC. A little over 2 hours and I was back up and running.

    To summarize,
    TimeMachine is great at keeping numerous versions of files/folders but performance is rather slow, especially during a full system restore

    Carbon Copy Cloner is fast, and efficient at restoring the drive in a short amount of time. Its not as polished and integrated into OSX as TM nor does it handle multiple versions of files/folders as TM does.
  5. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Just thought of a point. Suppose you have both Time Machine and CCC clone on one external disk and the disk has only a single partition. So you go ahead and do the clone, then fire up time machine. Now the disk will contain the clone and the growing time machine folder. This is fine.

    However, don't forget that Time Machine can fill the disk before it starts to delete data. At that point you may no longer have enough space on the external disk to update the clone since more data may have been added to the boot disk and there will be no room left on the external.

    This was what I was thinking when I set up Time Machine; I split the external into 2 partitions, one for clone and one for time machine. I have a second external that has 2 partitions, one for clone and one for random data. This gives me a clone backup even if both the boot disk and one of the external disks fail.

    Plus, suppose your boot disk is 340gb and your external is 500gb and the external contains both time machine and the clone. So you do your clone operation and then time machine starts backing up to the same partition. Now suppose at some point the clone plus time machine has filled up 440gb on the external and your boot disk fails. How will you be able to re-clone back to the boot disk? Wouldn't you expect the clone back to copy everything?
  6. macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    I've successfully created a bootable drive out of the Time Machine drive!
    Enough room was no problem. MacOSX only took around 17 GB or something.

    All I did (after backing up the whole Time Machine drive of course) was to clone the iMac hard drive (which had a fresh installation of MacOSX, and not any user documents, files or extra software). It left the Time Machine folder alone and just added some extra folders to the drive. Seems to work great!
  7. Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2009
    West Koast
    I have a WD Passport 500GB that I use as my external TM backup drive.

    I've ordered another WD Passport 500GB to use externally as a bootable clone by using ccc.

    Is this a pretty good way to go for backup options without getting really paranoid about it?

  8. macstatic, Nov 5, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010

    macstatic thread starter macrumors 65816

    Oct 21, 2005
    Like I said, I had no problems putting both Time Machine backups and the CCC clone on the same drive. I see no reason for having two drives if you have enough space.
    On the other hand a second drive would be handy for an extra backup in case of fire, theft etc. where you'd put that drive in a safe, in a friend's house etc. You could copy (or clone) the contents of the regular TM/CCC drive to it now and then, and even though you wouldn't have 1 hour backups you wouldn't lose everything.
  9. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    If you have them on separate physical drives then you still have a backup if one physical drive goes bad. If both are on the same drive and the drive dies, then you've lost all backup.
  10. awalkerca macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2010
    I'm with some of the above posters, I am using both approaches.

    I have a DNS-323 (NAS device) on my network to which I run bi-weekly carbon copy back ups against. I also have a Verbatim SureFire (Firewire 800) external drive that I use for time machine.

    I don't leave my time machine running all the time, but instead typically plug it in when I think about it (usually a few times a week). I should leave it plugged in more often, but I move my MacBook Pro around enough that I don't feel like plugging it in all the time just to unplug it after only checking my e-mail.

    I think backing up drives is important, and it doesn't hurt to have a few back-ups, just in case. My solution cost me a few extra $$ up front, but will (hopefully) save me from losing thousands of pictures taken on vacation that would cost a lot more to get back.


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