When it comes to backing up your Mac there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that Mac users have plenty of good backup choices. The bad news is that Apple’s backup– Time Machine– is one of the worst.
In the past I’ve advocated a multi-pronged approach to backing up Mac files. A clone of the Mac’s disk drive itself. Backing up critical files between Macs. Backing up critical files online and off premise. And Time Machine. No more.
Third Party Or Die
The idea behind Time Machine is pure Apple. Simple, elegant backups of everything on your Mac, and an easy interface to retrieve files which may have been deleted or lost. Much of the time, Time Machine has worked for me, but a full on restore to a new Mac is painful. Worse, sometimes Time Machine forgets who you are and you can’t retrieve files and can’t backup any more and have to start over. That’s not acceptable.
Back to square one and one of my favorite Mac clone utilities. It’s not Time Machine. It’s not ChronoSync (another absolute favorite and my preferred option to sync files between Macs, which also clones Mac disk drives). It’s SuperDuper! a somewhat time honored method to clone your Mac.
Although the underlying technology has changed as the Mac’s operating system has changed through the years, SuperDuper!’s interface remains a paradox, but of the good kind.
Select what to copy and where to copy it. It can be the Mac’s hard disk drive (or, SSD, SuperDuper! doesn’t care) or an attached external storage. SuperDuper! backs up the Mac in such a way that the backup is a functional clone of the original, and you can use it to boot up on another Mac in case there’s a catastrophic failure.
The first backup clone may take awhile as every bit from the Mac needs to be cloned on the external disk. Subsequent backups take mere minutes because only the files that have changed on the clone are updated.
That simple process– and the built-in scheduler– makes SuperDuper! one of the easiest to setup and use of the many good Mac backup tools. General Options are nominal and easy to understand.
When SuperDuper! is done with the clone it becomes a near perfect backup of your Mac, and the backup can be used on another Mac with everything in place. Mail, Safari, Calendar, Contacts, whatever. It’s just all there.
Advanced Options require a little more geek, but also adds to SuperDuper!’s capabilities, but those settings might be more confusing than useful. However, simply click the Schedule button and you’re presented with a rock solid option to have SuperDuper! run the cloned backup unattended, according to whatever schedule suits you (and, when the Mac is running, of course).
SuperDuper! is priced right, and unlike other carbon copy clone apps, I’ve never had to pay for an upgrade. The app is affordable, easy to setup and use– all you need is an extra disk drive– and just works very well.
Speaking of carbon copy backups, I recommended SuperDuper! to a neighbor friend who converted from Windows to a Mac. I told him the app makes a perfect carbon copy of the Mac’s disk drive. He said, “What do you mean, ‘carbon?‘” I said, “You know, like ‘carbon paper.’” He said, “What’s carbon paper?” Then it struck me. There are a few generations out there already that do not know what carbon paper is and have never used a typewriter.
Yes, there are times when I feel really old. Or, knowledgeable.