Very simple backup app wanted

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Stocks, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. Stocks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    #1
    The short version:
    The only thing I need backed up is the Documents folder. So I am looking for an app that is simple and bullet proof. I just want it to backup that directory to an external drive and do incremental backups every hour or so.

    The details:
    I run a VERY lean computer. The only apps I have installed are QuickBooks, Open Office, Chrome, and Adobe Reader.

    All of my documents are stored in the Documents folder, I only have about 4GB in there however they are extremely important to me and my business.

    If something happens to my computer I have no problem installing a fresh new copy of OS X and downloading those 4 apps listed above. I have no need to restore anything, that's why I don't really even need Time Machine nor a cloned copy.
     
  2. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #2
    It's easy enough to just use Time Machine and exclude all but the directory you'd like to back up.
     
  3. liya1201 macrumors member

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    Sep 8, 2010
    #3
    Why not use Time Machine? It's free and built-in in OS X. It does incremental backup every hour to external hard drive. You can backup only Document folder by excluding all other folders.

    My 2 cents!
     
  4. Stocks thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 4, 2015
    #4
    Oh, I didn't realize Time Machine could do that. I haven't played with it in months so I forget what the settings look like. I didn't realize that you could set it to just one directory. Oops! :D
     
  5. Stocks thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 4, 2015
    #5
    I'm looking at it now, it seems like I have to try and select everything on the drive as something to exclude, I guess I have to do it with hidden files and folders too. This seems a bit odd, I'm not sure if I will be able to find everything.

    Maybe a third party app that just backs up one directory would be a better option, I like simplicity when it comes to stuff like this.
     
  6. chrfr macrumors 603

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #6
    Realistically, there's no harm in backing up more than the bare minimum (nobody ever wishes they had less data backed up in case of emergency!) but if you add the System directory to the exclusion list, Time Machine will ask if you want to exclude all system files. That will get the vast majority of invisible files.
     
  7. Stocks thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 4, 2015
    #7
    There's simply no reason to waste that space backing up things that I will never use.

    Time Machine doesn't seem like it's going to work for me so I'm still looking for a good app for this purpose.
     
  8. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

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    Mar 18, 2014
    Location:
    Sarf London
    #8
    My Time Machine backup is pretty much the same as yours, in that I'm excluding everything other than the Users folder. In my case that means around twenty excluded items. Excluding everything other than the Documents folder means adding a further two dozen or so exclusions from within Users. It only takes a couple of minutes to make all those exclusions, and then you're set for life.

    I'd be wary of excluding your user Library folder from your backup, though. There's all sorts of good stuff in there.

    I don't recall that. Was it introduced with Yosemite?
     
  9. Stocks thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 4, 2015
    #9
    I really don't like Time Machine for this purpose.

    Can anyone recommend a good and simple backup app to backup one directory?
     
  10. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #10
    From your earlier comments you don't really want a backup app - what you want is to be able to restore your critical files as and when you need them.

    Go with the recommended Time Machine, it is as simple as any other App and you won't "waste much space", largely any system files you may miss will be tiny and/or static so TM will back them up once and that is it.

    Any time/effort/space you "waste" in finding another solution will be totally immaterial if you somehow miss something - and don't underestimate how long it can take to setup your system and apps to the same state as before, plus the additional time taken to download them....

    You could use Carbon Copy Cloner but it doesn't do versions as well as TM and you still have to deselect what you don't want backed up....and it isn't free...
     
  11. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #11
    The Crashplan app can backup to local and remote devices. You select what you want to backup. You only have to pay if you want to use their cloud storage for off site backup.

    Carbon Copy Cloner is great but does cost a little.

    Since Time Machine only backs up changed files, it will only make a single backup of system and app files. My MBP has about 300gb used and my 2 year old TM backup only uses about 550 gb out of 1 TB available.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper, ChronoSync. All three will do what you're asking. All three are very simple to use, easy to adjust apps to backup your system or a selection of directories.
     
  13. chrfr macrumors 603

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #13
    Nope, it's been an option for several years. I have no idea when it was introduced.
     
  14. mojolicious macrumors 68000

    mojolicious

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    #14
    CCC allows 'positive selection' of individual files/folders, but as you say it's not geared up for versioning. To be honest I doubt there's *any* other product out there that beats TM for 'I want to go back to last Tuesday's – or was it Monday's? – revision of blah.doc' functionality.

    SD! only deals with entire partitions/images.

    How strange. I guess the fact that I can't remember this option illustrates how pain-free the process is...
     
  15. ItsGavinC macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2007
    #15
    Use Apple's own "Backup" app? Located in the Applications folder. Select the custom backup and click on your documents folder.
     
  16. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #16
    I agree that you should just use Time Machine and deal with the fact that it will make a one-time copy of the system files. Disk space is cheap, and while you may keep a lean system, nothing beats having a recent Time Machine backup to restore. You may only have to install a few programs, but restoring from original media is still going to take a lot longer than restoring from Time Machine because you will still have to install ALL of the system updates that have been released since your installation media was created. Not to mention having to re-do any personalizations you have made to the OS since install. With Time Machine you are literally restored to how your computer was as of the last backup, in the same time it takes to install the OS clean.
     
  17. chrfr macrumors 603

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #17
    Apple hasn't offered an app called "Backup" in years, so I assume this is the old application from iTools/.Mac/MobileMe which they used to offer.
     
  18. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #18
    Let's see if I get this right. You have about 4GB of data to back up which is critical to your business... and are worried a small amount of extra data gets backed up.

    A 4TB drive costs about $125. Hence... 4GB data has a storage cost of 1/1000 of that cost... or about 12.5 cents... which is cheaper than a stick of gum.

    The logic forming the basis your problem is mind boggling. Storage is "~free". My recommendation is to accept that fact and get on with life and focus on something that makes a difference.

    /Jim
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    mojo wrote above:
    [[ CCC allows 'positive selection' of individual files/folders, but as you say it's not geared up for versioning ]]

    Actually, I believe CCC would be ideal for the OP's purposes.

    CCC can "selectively omit" folders for backup. So, you could set up a CCC backup, with ALL folders excluded, EXCEPT FOR the documents folder.

    CCC also has a settings to "preserve newer files, don't delete anything".

    So -- it looks like you could create a selective backup that will backup ONLY the documents folder, and WILL NOT delete anything else on the target volume.

    Since the only other folders on the target volume will be previously-backed up documents folders, the end result will be a bunch of documents folders and nothing else, each one of them representing a backup made at a particular time.

    I believe CCC can also be setup to run on its own at certain time intervals, although I've never had need to run it this way.

    By setting up CCC as above, it looks like you could achieve the goal of "versioning" without that being a "direct feature" of the app...
     
  20. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

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    Auckland
    #20
    It sounds great but try a restore, working out which are the latest versions of the files....that is nowhere near as simple as with TM - and the purpose of a backup is to be able to restore after all.
     
  21. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #21
    The OP could set up a CCC backup of his Documents folder for every hour. It can be set where changed or deleted documents get moved to a dated archive folder at each backup thereby leaving the cloned folder as an exact copy of the current Documents folder. To restore the Documents folder (in case of Mac failure) he will just have to copy the contents of the cloned folder to his new Documents folder.

    Faster than restoring via Time Machine, I'm pretty sure.
     
  22. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #22
    This sounds both convoluted and space intensive. If I understand you properly, you'd just have a series of full copies of the documents folder piling up over time. Proper backup software with versioning works at the block level and therefore only needs to store the changed blocks of the file, not the entire file itself. This is both space and time efficient.

    Restoring from Time Machine is if anything, faster than other restore methods because like an Image, it can get you back and running to the exact state your computer was in as of the last backup, but it ALSO has the time and space efficiencies stated above, so your latest backup is likely to be only a few hours or days old at most, unlike most images which will get updated only a few times a year when the user gets around to it.

    If you want to restore just your documents folder, you restore your machine whatever way you choose, and then connect the Time Machine disk and tell it to restore only the Documents folder.
     
  23. mac8867 macrumors 6502

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    Apr 5, 2010
    Location:
    Saint Augustine, FL
    #23
    Sorry, but really? Your Apple hard drive has 8 directories off the root on the hard drive... your data is probably in your home directory /Users/<your name> So you are saying, you cannot add 8 exclusions to time machine? You don't need an app, you need a butler.
     
  24. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

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    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #24
    You didn't understand what I was explaining but I didn't want to reprint the manual and may not have been clear. No, CCC doesn't make multiple copies of the entire folder you're backing up. Their website will explain if you're interested.

    The OP wants to back up a single, particular folder. It seems that he has several options and should be able to read up on the suggestions given here.
     
  25. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    #25
    Maybe slightly off topic, but if this data is so important maybe you should consider an off site backup such as Backblaze? God forbid you have a robbery, fire or similar that destroys your laptop and the backup in the same room, an off site backup is safe. With only 4GB to backup this sounds like an option.

    Along similar lines, does anyone know if I can run multiple time machines? I could keep one at home and run one in a JetDrive Lite on the MBP.
     

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