The best Mac software for backups is back. The highly acclaimed and popular SuperDuper! just went to version 2.5 and is Leopard compatible.
If you’ve read Mac360 for any length of time then you’ll know that we preach backups and were one of the first Mac web sites to review and tout the advantages of SuperDuper!
For a couple of years SuperDuper! reigned as one of the best backup software solutions for a Mac. It was simple, elegant, very fast, and produced near perfect clones of your Mac’s hard drive to another hard drive.
SuperDuper!‘s cloned backups were so good that Mac users could run their backups from a second or external drive and never know the difference. Incremental backups of large drives could be completed in minutes.
Then along comes Mac OS X Leopard with the glitzy Time Machine backup system. Apple turned attention to the one area ignored by most Mac and Windows PC users. Backups.
Time Machine did what had not been done before. Make backups easy, painless, set it and forget it.
Almost. On the front end, Time Machine is easy to set up and use. Attach a second, and very large, hard drive to your Mac. Turn on Time Machine. Point it to the second hard drive. Go back to work.
Why the need for a backup? And what does SuperDuper! bring to the table that Time Machine does not?
Think of it this way. You sit down at your Mac first thing in the morning and turn it on. Nothing happens. The hard drive is dead. All your files are gone. Music, digital photos, movies, documents, spreadsheets, applications, everything. Gone. Wiped out. Scattered bits on a defective hard drive.
Now, what do you do? If you’ve been using Time Machine you’ll need to buy and install a new hard drive for your Mac. Then walk through Apple’s restore routine so Time Machine can get your Mac up and running again. Interestingly, that’s a time consuming, laborious process. Point, click, watch, wait, hope, pray.
Mac users who value their files also value their time. They also want their Macs up and running immediately. That’s where SuperDuper! shines, and, when combined with Time Machine, offers the average Mac user a superb backup system.
We’ll do a more lengthy review of SuperDuper!‘s features next week, but our experience testing SuperDuper! 2.5 indicates that this is the best version yet. Faster, easier to use, more features, and it backs up what TimeMachine does not. SuperDuper! backs up Time Machine itself.
SuperDuper! clones your Mac’s hard drive to another Mac hard drive, and makes that drive bootable. Clone your Mac to the second drive and use that drive to start up your Mac (whether an internal hard drive, or an external FireWire or USB hard drive).
If your Mac’s startup hard drive dies, your Mac is up and running again in about a minute. That’s something Time Machine simply cannot do. Apple’s restore process can take many hours.
SuperDuper! now works with Leopard and Time Machine. SD! produces a fully bootable backup of your Mac’s Leopard hard drive.
SD! also backs up Time Machine backups to other hard drives. The automatic scheduler does backups when you want them done, fully preserves Spotlight indexes, and more.
We have not found SD!‘s two most important features in other backup software. First, you get a near perfect clone of your Mac’s files, preserving permissions, icons, meta data. It’s your Mac and all it’s files on another hard drive.
Second, the Smart Update feature means your second backup is completed, picture perfect, in minutes because only files that have been changed are cloned to the backup hard drive. I’ve been using SuperDuper! 2.5 in beta since late last year and completed hundreds of test backups flawlessly. My nearly full 500 gig hard drive with well over 1-million files backs up in about 14-minutes (after the first complete clone).
Do I use Time Machine? Yes. I have it running on my Mac and it’s great for finding files that I lost or accidentally deleted. It truly is set it and forget it. Until something goes wrong and you need to be up and running instantly. Time Machine is no help. SuperDuper! is the answer because I clone to another hard drive.
Time Machine is better than no backup at all, but requires that extra hard drive. SuperDuper! makes a backup even better with complete cloning, or select copying, AppleScript support, scheduled backups, and more. Our next review of SD! will cover the extensive feature list and walk through a clone and backup routine during a disaster.
The question for Mac users is this: do you backup? If so, how? What’s been your experience to date? How do you recover your Mac’s files?