My Favorite Mac Backup Utility.

Super Duper from Shirt-Pocket Software.

This isn’t just “backup” software, either. It’s a full system; archive, backup, restore, carbon copy, bootable backups, “safe” backups. It’s pretty much all you’ll need to make sure the data (all of it) on your Mac’s hard drive is safe.

I’m an experienced Mac user and date my Mac experience back to an original 128k Mac in 1984. I’ve had them all. Through the years I haven’t lost much data because I’ve kept extra hard drives around, so that’s where I’ll start on my recommendation for data storage and backup.

Get an extra hard drive.

Hard drives are cheap these days. They last longer than ever, often give you notification that something’s wrong, and storage capacity vs. cost is now a wonderful ratio for the user; business, home, or SOHO.

Let’s start with that extra hard drive, and remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s an external Firewire or USB drive (2.0 please), or a PowerMac with an extra internal hard drive, Super Duper does a super job duping (duplicating) your data, your applications, everything.

And it does it with typical Mac “point and click” simplicity. SuperDuper has a near perfect learning curve and value curve (for the money). There’s a FREE version that just clones your hard drive with a couple of clicks. Importantly, the clones work. You can boot your computer from the clone. Every time. I’ve never had it fail.

$19.95 gets the full version and this is where true value comes in. SuperDuper has saved my bacon a number of times already when a Mac OS X upgrade went horribly wrong. I run Mac OS X Server for a personal web site and email. An upgrade from Apple rendered the Mac worthless. It would re-boot OK, but kept dropping and freezing various applications, including mail, Apache, and other apps would just bounce in the dock and never startup.

Super Duper to the rescue.

It safely re-copied backup files to the original server, put them in the correct place, and allowed me to “back up” to a previously OK version of Mac OS.

I love that.

In general, though, SuperDuper works simply and straightforwardly. When problems arise, and they will, here’s what you might be faced with:

• New OS update doesn’t work on your Mac
• The Mac now fails to boot up
• A new application or driver causes the Mac to crash
• You need to restore, but don’t want to lose changes
• You want to test a new version of Mac OS

Above all, you want your backup routine to be simple, yet give you maximum flexibility when there’s a real emergency.

That’s SuperDuper.

Cloning your Mac’s hard drive is the easy part. Getting the clone back to your Mac’s hard drive is where SuperDuper shines and others don’t. SuperDuper check points your system, preserves your Mac’s critical files, and lets you get back to work quickly, painlessly.

Oh, and it’s fast. Once you’ve created an initial clone of your system, additional backups take just a few minutes as SuperDuper backs up only those files that have changed. That’s a Smart Backup.

Super Duper’s a smart value. Click Here to get more information and a free download.

I’ve tried all the basic Mac backup utilities and here’s how they stack up to Super Duper—head to Page 2 by clicking the link below:

Carbon Copy Cloner (free): Good tool. Basically, it clones your hard drive to another hard drive and makes a bootable ‘carbon copy.’ Limited feature set, though. Development seems to have stopped this past year.

Synchronize Pro ($99; expensive): This is an oldie but a goodie, albeit an expensive goodie. Think of Sync Pro as the Swiss Army Knife of file backup utilities. However, it’s bootable backup feature is not flawless and the application suffers from feature-itis. Too many things to choose to make it work.

Backup Simplicity (cheaper): From the same folks at Sync Pro. Simple. It clones your hard drive to another hard drive. It does it well, although I’ve run into a few quirks, and sometimes it “forgets” the license registration number and stops working.

DejaVu (inexpensive): This is a nice little application that’ll backup an entire volume or a number of files. It’s a System Preference so it’s always available. Sometimes it just quits working without much notice and, as a System Preference, is prone to not working when Apple upgrades Mac OS X.

Dantz Retrospect (expensive): Puh-leeze. This application has been around awhile and is like owning a Fiat automobile. You’ll need someone in the old country to help you out with repairs. This is the most finicky application ever on Mac OS X. Still, it’s loaded with features and many businesses (pay through the nose) use it to backup files over a network to other volumes.

Apple’s Backup (free with Mac OS X): This isn’t bad, considering the price. Oh, did I mention that you need a $100 per year Apple .Mac account to use all the features. Try that for three years and “Backup” isn’t FREE anymore.

Others to consider:

• ChronoSync
• Folder Synchronizer
• rSync and pSync
• YouSynchronize
• LaCie SilverKeeper
• Xupport (I use, but not for backups)

Those are the notable applications and worthy of review, and try before you buy. Go to Version Tracker and enter “backup” in the Search. You’ll get four pages of backup utilities, most not worth looking at, some are good products.

For the money, nothing is better than SuperDuper. One feature I want that isn’t available (yet) is automatic backups. That’ll come. For now, this is Super Duper.

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