With the introduction of a new one terabyte hard disk drive for Mac notebooks comes the age old question, “How do you back up your Mac’s files?”
From my experience, there are three ways. Clone your Mac’s hard disk drive to another disk. Use Apple’s Time Machine on yet another disk. And, everything else. SmartBackup presents an alternate lightweight backup experience.
My present methodology is simple, yet complex. Simple, in that I use Super Duper! and Time Machine, to clone my Mac’s hard drive, and back up files, respectively. It’s a no brainer system.
Every few days, or, whenever I create important files on my Mac, I’ll run Super Duper! and clone the drive. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, the Time Machine back up runs continuously, every hour. That works.
My never ending quest to find even more efficient methods for back up brought me to SmartBackup, an attractive alternative for Mac users.
There’s a lot to like about SmartBackup. It’ll make a full bootable backup disk, just like Super Duper! It also backs up files to another location on your Mac, or another disk, to your iPod, WebDAV server, or a network share point.
The setup process is straightforward, too. Select your target for the backup. Select the items on your Mac you want to backup, and click the Sync button.
How do you know which files to back up on your Mac? That question presents a problem even for experienced Mac users because files get stored everywhere. For example, do you know where your email files and preferences are stored?
Where are the files for Garageband, or iCal, or Address Book (if you’re not using MobileMe)? Mac applications store files everywhere, which is a good incentive to simply clone your Mac’s hard drive and forget it.
SmartBackup comes with a bunch of presets so you can select exactly which kinds of files to back up without knowing where they are. That’s especially handy for Mail, iCal, Address Book, and others, whose locations may be unknown.
MacBook Pro models come with an SD card slot built-in, and SmartBackup can take advantage of that save files right to your SD flash card. It also moves files across your wired or wireless network to other devices, from Airport Extreme, to external hard drives, even to MobileMe’s iDisk storage solution.
Backups take less time using the incremental backup feature; only files that have been changed get copied again.
What happens when things go wrong, files are lost, or corrupt? It may not happen often, but when it does replacing and restoring the files is the ultimate goal. SmartBackup does that with a click. Like Time Machine, you can also find individual files, though the effects are not as cool.
I would prefer that SmartBackup have a built in scheduler, but it relies on iCal or OS X’s Automator and an Action for scheduling.
As files become more valuable, backing them up takes on more importance. I have digital photos dating back over 30 years (scanned), thousands of songs, many hours of family video clips, and other files which are very important, and difficult to replace.
The cost of a couple of extra hard drives is nominal, though having drives attached to the Mac still provides for a single point of disaster. I’d also like to see SmartBackup connect to other storage services online, such as Amazon S3, Mozy, and others.
Otherwise, the SmartBackup price is nominal, and the features substantial.