What do I need to back-up?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Kimi, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. Kimi macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2005
    Newcastle, England/ Stirling Scotland
    I've had my Mac for about three months, and I've not been backing anything up. I've downloaded something called SuperDuper to use to back things up (not paid for it yet though).

    I need to know what files I need to back up. I've got all my music, video and apps on discs, so I don't need them, all I'm going to need are settings, documents and things. I've got no idea what I need to keep my setting and things.

  2. St Soichiro macrumors regular

    Jun 30, 2004
    Tulsa, OK
    Don't know about SuperDuper. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to keep a complete copy of my HDD on an external. Everything - users, applications, documents, musics, pictures ...

    Ideally you should maintain atleast two backups of all critical stuff, with one being kept in a separate physical location. I am trying to keep a copy of all my picutres, for example, on DVDs at my office. It may seem like an overkill, but data loss can be very problematic in the digital age. The time and money cost of backup is insignificant for critical stuff.

    There is a lot of information out there, and on MR. Run a search and ask anything more you need to know.
  3. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Is your backup drive as big as the drive you are intending to backup? If so by far and away the best thing to do is let SuperDuper just run a full backup from one to the other. Once you've completed the first time backup it won't take nearly as long in future as it only backs up new/changed files.
  4. Kimi thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2005
    Newcastle, England/ Stirling Scotland
    I've only got a 40GB external to back up to. My internal is 250GB. I don't need a full back up as I've got most of it on discs. I've got all my apps on install disc, or are downloads. I've got all my music on CDs and all my movies on DVDs. I don't need to back all that up, all I need is the other stuff, but I don't know what I need to back up to get rest.
  5. calebjohnston macrumors 68000


    Jan 24, 2006
    Well.. you need to backup what you would want if you lost the harddrive to your mac. Important pictures and songs that aren't on CD's that you could rip again, documents, etc.

    I don't know how anyone could help you more than that.
  6. Kimi thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2005
    Newcastle, England/ Stirling Scotland
    I know that, it a no brainer...

    What I want to know is what folders do I need? Do I need the System folder, and which library folders?
  7. berg macrumors member


    Apr 12, 2006
    Hi Kimi ..

    If you have the space for it ... just back up the whole Library folder in your user account ... I'm assuming you only have one account on your computer?

    Click on it ... do a File/get info/ on it and see how big it is and if your backup drive will take it .. (Mine is only half a gig after 3 years of use.)

    If you're putting all the big files (audio and video) somewhere else you should be okay ...

    You might want some stuff on your desktop and Documents folder as well ..

    Cheers ...
  8. theheyes macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2006
    If you've not paid for superduper! then you don't have much control over which files you back up, its pretty much all or nothing. If you just want to back up 'documents' and 'settings' then I would suggest copying your Desktop, Documents and Library folders in your Home folder. Its not a very elegant solution in term of preserving settings though because you would have to spend time restoring the Library if you reinstalled OS X.

    If you don't mind paying for a .Mac account that will allow you to download Apples Backup software which allows you to backup things like Safari settings and stickies etc. There are probably similar solutions out there but I havent tried them yet so cant recommend them. :)
  9. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I just spent a few hours going through all this over the weekend.
    Fortunately I have 2 internal drives, so this makes things much easier.

    First of all, I create a desktop STORAGE folder for all the stuff I download or don't have the time to put away properly.

    Once the contents reach the size of a CD, it's time to either put stuff away, burn it to CD or trash it.

    Hopefully you have Toast 7

    I make a habit of creating a folder for each Application installer .dmg or .pkg
    I also drop in a Text Edit document with all my authorization serial numbers, version number etc for each corresponding installer so they
    are always together. You can also throw in a copy of any plugins or updates
    so everything is together.

    If you search your HD for "packages" you should find a folder containing
    all of your OSX update and Security update .pkg installers.
    I burn all of these to CD in the event of a major crash, so that I can restore my system up to current specs fairly quickly.

    Burn a copy of your latest USER/LIBRARY/PREFERENCES folder.
    Especially your addressbook.plist and your bookmarks.plist.

    You can burn copies of everything in your HOME folder, but many people
    forget to save their address book contact list and their bookmarks.

    I still wish that MAIL included an easy option to print the address book, just in case.


    Make damn sure you burn a copy of those tax return pdf's, reports, databases, passwords, song libraries, birthday and anniversary list, bosses phone number etc.

    Photos and iTunes library.

    Carbon Copy Cloner is an excellent way to back up your entire system, but it also helps to know what many people forget.

    There's also BackUpUserprefs available at Version tracker.

    I also keep Data Rescue II and Disk Warrior loaded and ready to roll
    on my storage drive.

    That's all I can think of at the moment.

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