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Best File Format for Backups

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Todd Gruel
Best File Format for Backups
on Jul 28, 2020 at 7:32:05 pm

Hi, all.

I'm setting up a new backup setup now and I'm trying to determine the best file format to use. I'll be using CCC to backup my MacBook Pro. I have a 7200 RPM LaCie d2 drive for my backups. I understand that backups can be done using either Mac OS Extended Journaled or APFS. I've heard dramatically varying opinions about the capabilities of each and I'm...confused.

Some people have claimed that HFS+ is more reliable as it's been around for 20 years and has more support so far from Apple. Some claim that it is less prone to issues and is easier to recover if needed. The downside of HFS+ is that I would be stuck using partitions; this isn't a big deal, but it is a little more cumbersome to need to guess my future storage needs as I'll be splitting the hard drive between Mac and Windows projects (unless partitions can easily be reformatted and resized later one? -- again, this is something I've heard diverging opinions about).

On the other hand, some people have claimed that APFS is faster and more reliable and works best when backing up a computer that is already formatted in APFS (which my MacBook is as it's running Catalina). The potential downside of APFS is that others have claimed that APFS tends to be noisier when running on platter drives as the drive moves more erratically.

I also understand that bootable clones can only be accomplished using APFS drives. This brings me to my bonus round question: What purpose do bootable clones serve if I don't anticipate needing to ever work from my external drive? Since my MacBook has a 4TB internal drive, if I were to run a bootable clone, that could potentially take half the space of my external backup drive.

Anyway, any thoughts on best practices for data management?

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