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regular backup and restore methods

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mortimer heathcliffregular backup and restore methods
by on Apr 18, 2008 at 6:12:12 pm

i just got my system back on its feet after a major failure last week. it appears to be running great, and now is the time for me to finally get into a regular method of backing up my files and system files. what do you all recommend? i'm an FCP editor, so have lots of video files as well, but am mainly interested in the best and most efficient way of backing up a good system setup, and then my additional files such as Safari bookmarks, etc.

do you just back up the entire main system drive once you have everything loaded and configured the way you want it? this seems like a good idea since reloading all of Final Cut Studio takes quite awhile just for itself.

thanks again!


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Jeff CarpenterRe: regular backup and restore methods
by on Apr 18, 2008 at 7:11:01 pm

Tradionally, the best method is to buy another SATA drive the same as your boot drive. Get an external enclosure that allows you to run it through a USB or firewire port.

Then use Carbon Copy Cloner to copy your boot disk to that disk every night.

Now, if your computer ever dies, just pop that one out of its enclosure and put it in the computer. Boom. Done.

That method's still good, but since Leopard came along we also have Time Machine. This one is far easier. You plug a USB or firewire drive in, format it, and tell Time Machine to use it. The big advantage here is that restoring single files is a snap. Need a Photoshop file you erased on purpose last week? Easy. Changed a contact's cell phone number by mistake? Easy, go get last month's Address Book.

If your boot drive dies, put another one in and instal OSX on it. When you start it the first time it asks "Do you want to restore from a Time Machine Drive?" Say yes, select it, and it brings everything in.

So the end result from both methods is the same. Here's the breakdown:

Time Machine
Can restore entire boot drive
Super easy
Maintains old backups. A new backup doesn't erase an old one unless it's out of space, thus you will have not just the last version of a file, but the last several versions.

Restoring a boot drive is slow because everything has to copy AND you have to instal OSX again first.
Carbon Cloner
Can restore entire boot drive super-fast. Exchange the drives and you're done.

Focused on recovering the drive, not a single file. If you erase a file, the next backup clone will cement that fact into your backup too. Thus, no 'multiple-versions' of past files.

So they're both good, you just have to decide what's more important to you. I really enjoy the "multiple copies" thing that Time Machine does, so I use that. If getting your computer back less than an hour after a crash is what matters, then Carbon Cloner is a better choice.

I've only talked about backing up system drives. Backing up media can work the same way (Time Machine can backup multiple drives, but it can only CONTROL one backup drive. Thus, I have 3 SATA drives being backed up to 1 USB drive. I can't add more USB drives...I can only replace it with a larger one.) So for Time Machine you'll want one super-huge external drive that can handle everything, plus extra space for multiple copies.

I haven't used Cloner, but it's an application (not a built-in Apple preference) so I imagine you can get a backup drive for each internal drive and just tell it to do one at a time. I'm not positive on that, do some research there if you're interested.

At any rate, I don't back up anything that came off of tape since I can re-capture. That makes the whole thing much more manageable since I'm not backing up the video itself. Something to consider.

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Mitch SinkRe: regular backup and restore methods
by on Apr 27, 2008 at 12:54:04 am

[Jeff Carpenter] "Time Machine
Super easy
Maintains old backups."


"Super Easy" is crucial. If your TM drive is turned on and attached TM does a backup every hour.

If you use CC or SuperDuper are you going to be sure it runs every day?

"Maintains old backups" is also crucial. Most of the times I need a file I am looking for a previous copy of an existing file.

If having a bootable copy is important to you I would partition your backup drive with one partition for a clone and one partition for TM. I'm not sure its that important because if your drive dies you will probably want to restore the most recent version of the OS and the TM backup will almost always be the most recent.

I would also:
1. use more than one backup drive
2. rotate one offsite.

Best Wishes,


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