The fear of catastrophic disaster should motivate you to backup your Mac’s files.
Think of how you’d feel if you turned on your Mac and it didn’t start. Ever. All those documents, photos, movies, music, video clips, and apps– gone. I’ve had that happen. It’s not a good feeling. So, have a backup plan. In fact, have two. Or, three. Figure out how to backup the backups.
TimeMachine’s Backup Plan
To be honest, I like Apple’s built-in Time Machine, but it represents only one leg of a four-legged stool in my backup plan.
Time Machine is good for backing up files on an hourly basis, but not good for restoring your Mac should the main disk die.
It takes forever to restore a downed Mac’s files using Time Machine, so I always recommend yet another disk and SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner.
That’s two legs of a four legged stool. Leg #3 is an online backup of the most critical files. Carbonite is a good example (with links to other options). Online backup solutions are relatively inexpensive (relative to the value of your Mac’s files), but suffer from slow initial set up and backup. This is the only easy way to store backup files out of the office or home.
What’s Leg #4?
Time Machine, Mac cloning, online storage are great options, but remember; only the paranoid survive. A full on backup of Mac files requires a backup of the backup.
For Time Machine lovers, TimePreserver is an acceptable choice to make archives of Time Machine backups. In other words, TimePreserver backs up the Time Machine backup.
There’s not much to TimePreserver on the front end. Use a drop down menu to select the Time Machine Server. Then select an Archive Destination (a separate Mac disk drive).
Click the Archive button and you’re good to go. You’ll get one more screen to confirm the Source and Destination.
That’s it. You’ll have yet another Mac disk drive with all the Time Machine data stored away.
Sounds good, right? If you’re paranoid about your data, yes. If you’re practical, maybe not so much, because TimePreserver requires yet another disk and more maintenance.
For example, it’s a manual operation. There’s no automatic scheduler to backup Time Machine (as in Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper!), so it’s not a hands-free operation.
Generally, cloning-type backup apps do not do a good job of backing up Time Machine’s disk drive. That’s what TimePreserver does. So, my version of Leg #4 in the backup stool of life is– wait for it– more disk drives to backup valuable files and clone the Mac’s disk drive. They’re cheap, easy to set up, and the incremental clones take minutes, not hours. Restore is equally simple and fast.
But if you’re a Time Machine fan, TimePreserver might help to ease some of your backup paranoia.