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I am often asked if I have a backup of my Mac. And unfortunately for the person asking the question, I’m a little like the watchmaker who, when you ask him what time it is, he tells you how to make a watch. First the answer is definitely, “yes!”New Balance Women's 840v4 Running Shoe B01N9FXGA7 13 2E US|Dark GreyBrooks Womens Adrenaline GTS 18 B071NSP9M8 7 D US|White/White/Grey In fact, I have 3 local backups of sorts.
I contend that you must have at least two different local backups, for two likely events:
- For the event that your hard drive fails and gets replaced.Vans Old Skool Unisex Adults' Low-Top Trainers B0795BJSHR 6.5 M US Women / 5 M US Men|Black/White
- For the event that your Mac fails and you decide to replace it.Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Leather High Top Sneaker B01CRDRUSW 7 D(M) US|Black Mono
And if you have the two backups that I suggest below, you can recover from either event in just a few minutes to an hour or so.
So if you haven’t already, purchase two external hard drives. NIKE Women's Tanjun Running Shoes B008S869II 7.5 B(M) US|GreenThey should be the same storage capacity as the drive that you are backing up. I like the Lacie Thunderbolt drives for this purpose. But you may like another drive better, and that’s just fine. As long as the drives are reliable, your data will be safely stored for the day that disaster comes.
So without belaboring the point, I will tell you what my two backup systems and my bonus backup (my 3rd local backup).
- SuperDuper! – hard drive clone.
- Time Machine – Apple’s built-in backup system.
And my bonus local backup:
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- Bella Vita Women's Nicola Wedge Sandal B01A3HMZKM 8 N US|Whiskey
- New Balance Women's 900v1 Fresh Foam Walking Shoe B075XMM355 10 D US|Black
- Blundstone Unisex Dress Series B000Y038Q4 9.5 M US Men's /11.5 M US Women's -8.5 AU|Black
- Forever Women's Creek-62 EVA Foam Platform Wedge Thong Sandals B07CNGSGYR 8 B(M) US|White
- Merrell Women's Siren Hex Q2 E-Mesh Sneaker B078NGKYMK 10.5 B(M) US|Olive You
- NIKE Women's Air Zoom Strong Running Shoes B01DX7NPJE 12 B(M) US|Black/Dark Grey/Volt/White
- CLARKS Women's Concert Choir Flat B004HVCELG 6 B(M) US|Black Patent
- Cobb Hill Rockport Women's Christy Waterproof Boot B00SK4BIRM 7 W US|Black
- ATIKA Women's Maya Trail Outdoor Water Shoes Sport Sandals W107 B077ZQ9FDB Women 7 B(F)|W107-KGY
- Merrell Women's Siren Sport Q2 Hiking Shoe B01N2W6AO5 8 B(M) US|Beet Red
- Air Jordan 3 Retro "Cyber Monday 2016" - 136064 020 B00AMTQV84 8 D(M) US|Black/Fire Red-cement Grey
- New Balance Women's Cruz V2 Fresh Foam Running Shoe B07B71ZJ3Y 12 B(M) US|Seed/Light Cliff Grey/Sea Salt
- CLARKS Women's Enfield Sari Ankle Bootie B01N0VP8BA 9 W US|Black Suede
- Mephisto Women's Maryse Wedge Sandal B00EUI0DKU 9 B(M) US|Dark Taupe Fashion
- PUMA Women's Ignite Flash Evoknit Satin En Pointe Wn Sneaker B072N2X1MV 7 B(M) US|Peach Beige-pearl-puma White
- Aigle Parcours 2 Signature B00TH9VYOQ 12 M US|Brun
- Saucony Women's Kinvara 9 Running Shoe B072QDYV9C 10 B(M) US|Grey/White
- Trotters Women's Sizzle Flat B00LMI8CF4 10 B(M) US|Nude Perforated
- ASICS Gel Cumulus 19 Women's Shoes CosmoPink/Wht/Winter B071JN6T82 10.5 B(M) US|Cosmopink/Wht/Winter
- FRYE Women's Phillip Harness Tall Boot B004W1SOXS 6 B(M) US|Dark Brown Soft Vintage Leather-76850
- Ros Hommerson Women's Lacey Sandals B00UATESA4 11.5 XW US|Black Snake Print
- Skechers Sport Women's Pretty Please Flex Appeal Fashion Sneaker B00RHC56IK 8 B(M) US|Black/White
- Altra Women's One 2.5 Running Shoe B01B7BPL2M 11 B(M) US|Black
- FSJ Women Cute Pointed Toe Flats With Bowknot Velvet Low Heels Slip On Comfy Shoes Size 4-15 US B076Q9LNZK 7 B(M) US|Purple
- BareTraps Women's Aero Snow Boot, Black, 7.5 M US B071NPS9G2 6.5 B(M) US|Black
- NIKE Women's Free RN Flyknit 2017 Running Shoe B075TJH46D 7 B(M) US|White/Black-stealth
- Lacoste Women’s Lancelle Ballerina Slip-ONS B0721P88QH 8.5 B(M) US|Pnk/Pnk Cotton Canvas
- Nike Women's Free Rn Flyknit 2017 Running Shoes B01HIGWOUM 11.5 B(M) US|Black/Anthracite
- Trotters Women's Lucy Ballet Flat B01N6JKG1Y 11 B(M) US|Black Cherry
- Pleaser Women's Domina-3000 Boot B000XUQX6W 10 B(M) US|Black Patent
- V Italia Women's Kiki Navy Blue Casual Leather Flat B018YNDYTS 36 M EU|Navy
- Roper Women's Naomi Sandal B01D27CX1Q 8 D US|Brown
- OwnShoe Women's Mid Calf Rain Boots Wellies B00IHTLOY2 6 M US|Red Dot
- CLARKS Women's Brizo Ravena Flat Sandal B01IAVYHLI 6 B(M) US|Navy
- NIKE Women's Air Zoom Vapor X HC Tennis Shoes B00GISKSPA 5.5 B(M) US|Lt. Blue Fury/Multi-color/Bleached Aqua
- Sync to another Mac computer
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SuperDuper! is software that creates an exact bootable clone of your hard drive. You can find it at the Vans Authentic B0198WEANI 5.5 B(M) US Women / 4 D(M) US Men|(Pool Vibes) Classic White/True White site. Let me tell you how this averted disaster for me on at least two occasions.
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A few years back, I had an iMac that began failing after running for an hour or so. For a few days, the time to failure got a little shorter. I had a backup, but wasn’t looking forward to putting everything back on a new hard drive. I knew that cloning a drive was theoretically possible, but I had never put it to the test.
I began by searching for software that would make an exact, bootable copy of the hard drive. Ryka Women's Vida RZX Cross-Training Shoe B07577XK5R 6.5 B(M) US|Iron Grey/Hyper Pink/Yucca MintMy research turned up SuperDuper! I figured out that if I let the computer power down and cool off, it would run long enough to finish the cloning of the drive. That was fortunate, and not usually the way things work out.
I purchased an internal hard drive and connected it with an adapter that turns an internal drive into an external drive. Bonus:Mizuno Running Women's Wave Creation 19 Shoes B01MYWYV6X 11 B(M) US|Castlerock/Pink Glo/Black. Nice.
Using SuperDuper!, I cloned the drive. When the clone finished, I rebooted the iMac and caused it to boot from the external drive.New Balance Women's FuelCore Nergize V1 Fuel Core Cross Trainer B0751PF5XS 12 D US|Silver Mink/Dusted Peach To my amazement, although much slower than the internal hard drive, the computer booted up and I saw my desktop screen exactly as I expected. Every icon in place.New Balance Women's 711v3 Cross Trainer B0751N778H 5 B(M) US|Pigment/White I tried a few programs to convince myself that I had indeed cloned the drive. All of my little tests worked perfectly.
To finish the job, I found an explanation of how to replace the internal iMac drive on YouTube. I removed the failing drive from my iMac and put the cloned in its place. I closed everything up and powered up.
The iMac was working exactly as before the change, only better. The hard drive was faster and had a higher capacity. Win win.
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This case, rather recently, made me glad that I follow my own rules of backing everything up (twice) before applying an OS X update. In this case, I was updating to El Capitan (OS X 10.11), so I made my usual SuperDuper! clone, as well as the Time Machine backup.
Upon installing the update, I got the spinning color wheel. After several attempts to restart the process, it stayed spinning over night. I made an appointment for the local Apple Genius Bar, hopefully they could help my finish the update.
They had never heard of a Retina Macbook Pro SSD drive failing–until that day. Apparently, by downloading the update,New Balance Women's 711v3 Cross Trainer B0751QFZDK 6.5 B(M) US|Artic Fox/White the drive accessed an area that had not previously been accessed. And so I was caught in a loop. The update had gotten to that spot where the old OS was no longer available,Ryka Women's Devotion XT Cross Trainer B07DPTMHDC 11 W US|Slate Grey but the new OS had not been fully installed.
The Apple Genius asked if I had a backup. I smiled and simply said yes. I wanted to tell him all about my various backup procedures, but I refrained.
So, the procedure at this point was to replace the SSD drive. Opportunity Shoes - Corso Como Women's Recital Ballet Flat B06WLQNM2Y 7.5 B(M) US|Black/White TweedWhen asked if I wanted them to restore from a backup, I declined. I knew that I might have better results with my SuperDuper! backup than with the Time Machine backup.
In this instance, where only the hard drive is being replaced, SuperDuper! is by far the easiest recovery. I followed the instructions on the Shirt-Pocket website:
- Boot from the external drive (a clone of my hard drive)
- Open SuperDuper! and tell it to restore everything
- Wait until SuperDuper! is done and quit.
- Shut down the computer
- Remove the external drive
- Boot the computer as normal
As I had experienced previously, everything came back exactly as it had been before the failure. I then updated to El Capitan without incident. I’m writing this post from that computer.
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In this case, the hard drive may or may not have failed,Alegria Women's Paloma B076Q5M63T 42W Wide EU (11.5-12 US)|Minnow but some other vital component has failed, and the best option is to replace the computer. Here’s where Time Machine really shines. Time Machine brings a new computer as close to the same as your old computer as it possibly can.
In the case of a new computer, you probably don’t want a clone of the drive! Trotters Women's Accent Ballet Flat B073BXNK3C 6.5 2W US|Red LinenYou’re getting the new OS X version, already installed in that computer. New Balance Women's Coast V4 FuelCore Running Shoe B075R7JN4M 8.5 D US|Brass.
Trust the Apple Time Machine to bring over all your settings and apps to the new computer.
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What was the third backup (of sorts) mentioned earlier? That’s the sync between my main computer and my travel computer.Nine West Women's Werein Synthetic Ballet Flat B01A6WEZ7U 7.5 B(M) US|Light GoldThat’s the topic of another post. I’ll write that one soon. If you’re interested, ask about it in the comments below. I’ll gladly tell you what that third backup is all about. Hint: Steve Madden Women's Mesa Sandal B077GY4ZJ9 8.5 B(M) US|Blue Suede.
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Keep two backups of your computer:
- Time Machine