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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!”Mizuno Women's Wave Sky Running-Shoes B01N7FFXOD 8.5 B(M) US|Tile Blue/Silver/Safety YellowASICS Women's GT-1000 6 Running Shoe B01N8P2ZKQ 11.5 B(M) US|Black/Black/Silver 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.NIKE Women's Flex Supreme TR 4 Cross Trainer B01DL2NWS0 6 B(M) US|Green Glow/Seaweed/Hasta/White
- For the event that your Mac fails and you decide to replace it.Ryka Women's Devotion XT Cross Trainer B07DPRP5VT 10 B(M) US|Slate Grey
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. CLARKS Women's Neenah Garden Ballet Flat B072RC88VG 10 N US|Gunmetal Metallic Lthr CombiThey 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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- Clarks "Glick Clarmont" Cold Weather Boots B01BLTARKQ 7 B(M) US|Khaki Nubuck
- JOOMRA Men Women Wide Quick Dry Barefoot Hiking Water Shoes B07F1GGJQV 8.5 US Women's / 7 US Men's|Black
- New Balance Women's Coast V4 FuelCore Running Shoe B075R726TQ 9.5 B(M) US|Galaxy
- Vans Unisex SK8-Hi Reissue (Vintage) Windsor Wine/Blanc B01M6E5VLI 42-43 M EU / 11 B(M) US Women / 9.5 D(M) US Men|Black/Black/White Canvas
- Alegria Women's Ella 2 Black Sprigs Wedge B00I5RWNCS 36 M EU / 6-6.5 B(M) US|Black Sprigs
- Franco Sarto Women's Dakota Ankle Boot B073YD5X37 10 B(M) US|Charcoal Grey
- Sofft Womens Vanita B01IDGOUR6 Parent
- Aravon Women's Bonnie-Ar Fashion Sneaker B01ITRWD1Y 10 2A US|Silver
- NIKE Women's Huarache Run SE Running Shoe B01A4ABDKQ 8.5 B(M) US|Black
- Wolky Comfort Jewel B005SKJY8Q 39 M EU|Black Snake
- Bogs Women's Rio Leather Athletic Sandal B01KJDBU7Y 9 B(M) US|Dark Brown
- OLLYN | Women's Lace-up Perforated Leather Or Suede Comfortable Fashion Sneaker B07B6FSQRB 5.5 B(M) US|Grey Nubuck
- Dr. Scholl's Women's Madison Fashion Sneaker B074N9XQ6S 9.5 B(M) US|Pewter Metallic Splatter
- Cole Haan Women's Warner Grand Pump 55MM B06WWH575P 10 B(M) US|Black Leather
- Nike Mens Lunarglide 8, Black / White - Anthracite B07457GTPK 10 D(M) US|Racer Blue/Black
- San Antonio shoe Men's SAS, Move On Lace up Shoes B018ZEI2BG 11 D(M) US|Brown
- BSI Women's 460 Bowling Shoe B00IF847JO Size 11|White/Purple
- NIKE Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 34 Running Shoe B06WW9QG5Z 8.5 B(M) US|Port Wine/Deadly Pink/Tea Berry/Black
- Cole Haan Women's Tali Bow Ballet Flat B06W9NWHVL 8 C US|British Tan Leather
- New Balance Women's BW2000V1 Fresh Foam Walking Shoe B01CQV3UE8 7.5 D US|Grey
- FRYE Women's Lena Harness High Fashion Sneaker B01MY0OC8Z 6 B(M) US|Black Soft Oiled Suede
- Vionic Port Frances Backstrap Wedge B071JW1887 9 W US|Tan
- AU&MU Women's Full Fur Sheepskin Suede Winter Snow Boots B074J7S744 5 B(M) US|Chocolate 4
- NIKE Women's Free RN Flyknit 2017 Running Shoe B01LXUIQHI 6.5 B(M) US|Black/White-Volt-Blue Lagoon
- TENGFEI Air 270 Flyknit Men's Running Shoes Trainers Lace up Breathable Leisure Sneaker B07DG251QX 12 M US|Blue and White
- adidas Women's Edge Lux W Running Shoe B01H7WXVJ0 9.5 B(M) US|Black/Energy/White
- FRYE Women's Gabby Ghillie Dress Sandal B01JV697IY 8 B(M) US|Black Suede
- 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 Dr. Martens Women's 8065 Shoe B01MZ4G8X3 9 Medium UK (11 US)|Black Patent Lampar 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. Alegria Women's Paloma B076Q5M63T 42W Wide EU (11.5-12 US)|MinnowMy 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:adidas Women's Pureboost X Element Running Shoe B071Z6D3VL 7.5 B(M) US|Ash Pearl/Ash Pearl/Hi-res Blue. Nice.
Using SuperDuper!, I cloned the drive. When the clone finished, I rebooted the iMac and caused it to boot from the external drive.Drew Shoe Women's Delite Mary Jane B0018ATGKG 11 XW US|Bone Combo 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.Trotters Women's Lucy Ballet Flat B076X9FTYX 6.5 N US|Off 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,Cole Haan Women's Tali Bow Ballet Flat B06WGVC2MQ 6 2A US|Pewter Metallic 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,Trotters Women's Lauren Dress Wedge B00XQE6RL8 9 N US|Brown D Suede 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. Imagine Vince Camuto Women's Garyn Ballet Flat B01N7QTUOO 5 B(M) US|Inkwell BlueWhen 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,Jambu Women's Bailey Mj Mary Jane Flat B01N28T8VJ 8.5 B(M) US|Eggplant 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! French Sole FS/NY Women's Sloop Ballet Flat B0012ESU4Q 8.5 B(M) US|Chocolate SuedeYou’re getting the new OS X version, already installed in that computer. Jessica Simpson Women's Shanny Slide Sandal B078JLWNTT 11 B(M) US|Pale Rose Gold.
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.Dr. Scholl's Women's Frankie B00YF0A06A 11 W US|Taupe PatentThat’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: Propet Women's Julene Mary Jane Flat B01IODAUKY 11 W US|Navy.
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Keep two backups of your computer:
- Time Machine