What is "Cloning"?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by doubledee, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. doubledee macrumors 6502


    May 14, 2012
    Okay, this is a nitpicky question - but I like to be precise!

    What exactly does "cloning a HDD" mean?

    1.) Is "cloning" what I do when I make an exact copy of my cMBP's Factory HDD to a USB Drive?

    2.) Or is "cloning" what I do when I take an exact copy of my cMBP's Factory HDD and apply it to a Blank HDD?

    Likewise, what exactly is a "clone"?

    3.) Is a "clone" what I make from my cMBP's Factory HDD?

    4.) Or is a "clone" what I install onto a Blank HDD?

    Follow me?! :)


  2. pdjudd, Jul 21, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013

    pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    In your first scenario, it could be both, but most commonly be number 2 .

    For part 2, it's again, both, but definition 2 is probably more accurate.
  3. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Essentially, it's copying the complete data from one volume to another.

    So it's pretty much everything you suggest. Cloning is copying from one disk to another; a clone is a copied data set from a volume.
  4. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 14, 2012
    What created this question was when I was reading the "installation notes" that I created for future reference...

    In my notes I have...

    But then farther down I have...

    I bolded the parts which seem to contradict each other...

    Follow me?


  5. MacUser2525 macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2007

    Your second option you have there is cloning a USB drive back to a newly installed or already existing installed drive, the first you clone installed factory OS to external drive.
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Back in the days of the "Classic" Mac OS, before OS X, all one had to do to make a "backup" of a boot drive was copy the entire contents of the drive (by hand) to another disk.

    The OS was FAR less complicated, and there weren't "invisible" files (that under normal circumstances the finder can't see).

    That all changed with OS X.

    Now there are thousands and thousands of files, some visible, many invisible, with an entire hierarchy of "permissions" built on top of that.

    So .... you can't simply do a "drag copy" of the OS from one volume to another any more. You need to use special techniques instead (such as the "ditto" command in UNIX, I believe, although I've never actually tried that).

    To fill this void, a couple of nifty utility apps were created:

    Both work well at creating a "clone" of a Mac OS boot drive -- that is to say, a complete and nearly-exact copy that is bootable.
    NOTE: I said nearly-exact because I believe there may be a few files that are deliberately omitted during the cloning process, for good reasons. But these files aren't noticeable to the naked eye...

    If you've never done a clone before, and have a drive available (or a free partition), just try it. It won't hurt anything and you can erase it later if you don't want to keep it around.

    BUT -- I would strongly advise you to keep at least one "bootable clone" around for emergencies. Almost every Mac user, sooner or later, has one of those "I can't boot" situations. When it happens, just connect your clone, and try again. You may be able to get back up and running in a couple of minutes, and can then focus on your main drive and attempt to rectify the problems...
  7. doubledee thread starter macrumors 6502


    May 14, 2012

    Thanks for the info, but I am already familiar with all of that.

    And, yes, I was already using CCC before this thread. (Money well spent!)

    Back to my OP, I think the answer to my question is this...

    For the first set of instructions, this title was probably okay...

    Create Clone of Factory HDD (9)

    However, for the second set of instructions, this is probably a more accurate title...

    Install Clone on New HDD (17)

    As usual, probably way more detail than I need to concern myself with, but I like to get things right!!



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