Everyone has their favorites, right? And opinions. If you’re a Mac360 reader, you’ve noticed that we have a few doses of each.
One of my favorite utiliites is SuperDuper!, the inexpensive, easy-to-use, highly powerful backup utility: now with a built-in scheduler.
‘Tera,’ you say, ‘Other Mac backup utilities have had scheduling for a couple of years.’ Yes, Virginia, that’s true. But they were not my favorite, though some of them are becoming good competition for the best.
The new SuperDuper! just went to version 2.0.1 with a Thanksgiving release. On the surface, it will look like, well, SuperDuper! of old.
Underneath the familiarity are a few goodies to make backing up critical data easier, safer, and with more control.
The original SuperDuper! was a big hit with me and many Mac users because of the attention Shirt-Pocket Software paid to the basics.
First, it worked. Right after installation, SuperDuper! would clone your Mac to another hard drive (internal or Firewire external) with no fuss, no muss, no headaches, and no cost. Basic cloning is free.
Second, SuperDuper! did it’s thing quickly and with few problems, logging items as it went along. The SuperDuper! window was Mac-like, simple, uncluttered, and obvious with basic instructions.
Click, click, click and the cloning backup was in process.
Third, it worked. It became trustworthy very quickly, so even a non-technical Mac user could clone a Mac’s hard drive and feel confident every time.
Finally, power. SuperDuper! was loaded with layers of power options for those among us who don’t mind getting under the hood from time to time. AppleScripting? No problem.
SuperDuper!, then and now, works about the same way. It clones your Mac’s hard drive to another hard drive. That process can take 30-minutes to 90-minutes depending on how large your drive is.
Once the first clone is done, SuperDuper! then backs up in an incremental fashion (though you can ‘pure clone’ again if you wish; options are numerous), which takes much less time.
For example, I just installed a couple of 300 gig hard drive in my PowerMac, and re-installed OS X Tiger from scratch, customizing along the way. The first clone took about an hour and twenty minutes.
Each backup now takes about six minutes.
SuperDuper! 2 adds a number of very handy features and the one most needed. A scheduler.
Another worthy Mac backup utility called Deja’vu has a scheduler built in and it works. Mostly. Deja’vu doesn’t have the simplicity of initial use, or the same power options as SuperDuper!
Maybe that’s the difference. Easy to setup and use for new Mac users, loads of power options for those of us who are older and wiser. Bambi’s the former, I’m the latter.
SuperDuper!‘s scheduler uses Mac OS X Tiger’s builtin ‘cron’ utility, so if your Mac is on, the scheduler is on, and you don’t need to leave SuperDuper! running all night. Just the Mac.
Also new is Progress Window which gives you a quick visual status of what’s going on. The first step is Green and shows you what’s happening as the hard drives get prepared for cloning.
The second step is Blue and displays an incremental status bar as SuperDuper! clones to another hard drive. If there’s an error, the status turns to Red (actually ‘reddish’ looking, but that’s a nit), and displays the problem. The log displays detailed information.
When done cloning, all status bars display the same color.
The scheduling makes life easy. Select which week of the month (one to all weeks), which day of the week, and the appropriate time. SuperDuper! sets the schedule into OS X’s cron file, and you don’t have to worry about anything after that.
Where SuperDuper! shines is the General Options and Advanced Options. Most Mac users will simply clone to backup, though looking through the General Options provides a few more, well options.
For example, a pure clone (erase and clone), or a Smart Update (incremental cloning; much faster). There’s also a set of options on what to do after the cloning process ends; reboot to the clone, do nothing, and so on.
Again, SuperDuper! layers the power so that newbi Mac users can get perfect clones with little experience; just follow the directions. More experienced Mac users will delve into Advanced Options.
These options let you run shell scripts (if you don’t know what a shell script is, back up to General Options), perform other functions such as create a disk image, running more shell scripts after the copy is completed.
The Mac probably has a dozen or more decent backup utilities, many of them are very good. Only one is excellent. That sweet spot of ease-of-use, reliability, and layers of power options, make SuperDuper! the best.
Click Here for the SuperDuper! feature page and download link.
It took a year of us nagging to get the built-in scheduler, so what’s it need now? I’d like an email status report similar to what’s found in ChronoSync. The list never ends, right?
Jack D. Miller
Making backups on the Mac has become trivial, especially when compared to Windows solutions which are nearly impossible to figure out for the average user. SuperDuper! does the job.
See, Tera. Someone listened to us. The auto scheduler is built in, just as you ordered. How come you didn’t ask for real bells and whistles?
For us fans of the ‘Low End’ of the Mac world, SuperDuper! remains #1 because basic cloning is still as low priced as it gets. Free.
Carol Mary Miller
Jack says SuperDuper! takes all the fun out of backups because it doesn’t take a few hours of tinkering and dinking around as it did on his old Windows PC. Now, it’s set it and forget it. Jack says, ‘what fun is that?’