We preach backups at Mac360. Whatever you do, and however you do it, back up your important Mac files.
How and which ones and how often and which application? There are more questions than answers.
The most important consideration may be the value of the files on your Mac.
Look at it this way—you turn on your Mac to start the day, and it doesn’t turn on. Nothing. No noise, no Finder, no hard drive. Nothing. Your hard drive is dead.
If you’re missing a few odd Word documents, an Excel spreadsheet or two, and some email, and your Safari bookmarks, you won’t have much of a problem starting over.
If your Mac also contained 2,000 songs in iTunes, 5,000 photos in iPhoto, email for the past five years, hundreds of word processor and spreadsheet documents…
SuperDuper! makes backing up your entire hard drive to another hard drive a quick, nearly painless, mostly automated process.
Moving files to another Mac is made easier with ChronoSync’s simplicity, stability, dependability.
If your backup solution involves those two, you’re probably doing well, and living right. God loves you.
These days there are a few dozen Mac applications for backing up important files, synchronizing folders from one hard drive to another, or getting important files from one Mac to another Mac.
There’s always a new tool to use. Here’s the good, the bad, the ugly of the rest of the Mac backup solutions (well, some of the more notable applications).
First on this list of the Also-Ran Backup Utilities is Backup List, another Mac freebie that works well, looks nice, and, once you figure out how to use it, backs up files.
Here’s where the problems begin. User interface. Most users who have complaints with Mac utilities have problems with the process, the clicks, and the mumbo jumbo required to set the backup.
Keeping it simple is the main challenge. You could subtract $50 from your bank account and buy Backup Simplicity from Qdea.
It doesn’t get much simpler than Backup Simplicity, which clones one hard drive to another, and has a built-in scheduler.
At $50, it’s about twice the price of SuperDuper!, yet does much less. It’s not ugly, though, unless you factor in the price and licensing scheme.
At $60, Data Backup is the most expensive on the review list, but has been around awhile, is loaded with features, and has a scheduler.
The set-it-and-forget-it option on backup applications is nice, though it’s always good to check up on action, just to be safe.
Data Backup is one of a number of backup applications that let you pick and choose which files to back up and where; and the process is simple.
Not only can Data Backup clone to another hard drive, you can also determine which files you do NOT want backed up.
SuperDuper! has similar features though they’re a bit more difficult to master for the average Mac user, a shortcoming of SD.
Everything I see of Data Backup says “decent” except the price tag. Of course, you have to ask yourself, “what’s my data worth?”
The freebie crowd will like iBackup. It’s simple, straightforward, loaded with features, including a scheduled backup.
iBackup looks and feels like the Mac OS X Finder, comes with multiple language support (mostly European), and makes easy the backing up of both System and Application Preferences.
That one is a bargain that’s hard to pass up.
For just $10 more, you can do the same thing with MimMac, which is also a Universal Binary Cocoa application.
MimMac clones, backs up and synchronizes files on your Mac. MimMac avoids the scripting process required of SuperDuper!‘s more complex features, yet keeps the backup easy to understand.
Incremental backups are an important feature to look for, as it saves time by not copying files which are already “in sync” on another Mac or hard drive.
An automated scheduler is important, too, a feature lacking in MimMac and others.
If you do a search on MacUpdate using the keyword “backup” you’ll find a few dozen solutions, many of which have not been updated in a year or two or three or more.
We tend to prefer those applications which are updated regularly, whether free or otherwise, as it shows that somebody is minding the shareware store.
Some Mac developers think highly of their own products, hence the stiffer price tag, though customer support should improve if you pay more.
What’s your backup solution? A second, external Firewire hard drive? Do you backup important files to another Mac?
Which Mac files do you find to be most important? Share your experience and perspective in the Comments section below.