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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!”Wolverine 1000 Mile Men's Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots B005PPMO54 10 3E|BlackLucky Brand Women's Kailan Equestrian Boot B0725JWL23 12 B(M) US|Rye 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.PUMA Women's Tsugi Jun Sneaker B078FYT5MW 10.5 M US|Cerulean-peacoat-puma White
- For the event that your Mac fails and you decide to replace it.PUMA Women's Basket Bow Wn Sneaker B07524P43V 5.5 B(M) US|Pearl-pearl
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. PUMA Women's Carson 2 Wn Sneaker B072MYMH8R 9.5 B(M) US|Puma BlackThey 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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- Rieker Felicitas 43 Women's Boot B00WHI4VNK 40 M EU / 8.5 B(M) US|Conker
- Aravon Women's Deliah - AR Flat B00IFEQN0O 7.5 2A US|Stone
- Skechers Sport Women's Flex Appeal 2.0-Done Deal Fashion Sneaker B01IVN9NB4 8 B(M) US|Black/Black
- French Sole FS/NY Women's Onstage Ballet Flat B00WU7019G 8 B(M) US|Black/Wine
- Dr. Martens Women's Monet Chukka Boot B01MY9I1QY 8.5 B(M) US|Black
- Pleaser Women's Swing-815 Knee-High Boot B0002UU36E 8 B(M) US|Black Polyurethane
- ECCO Women's Cool 2.0 Gore-Tex Sneaker B074CVV6YW 42 Medium EU (11-11.5 US)|Muted Clay
- Bernie Mev Women's Catwalk Ballet Flat B00K27Y1K6 40 EU/9.5-10 M US|Black Silver
- Stuart Weitzman Women's Tabeta Pump B0721RB5F7 4.5 B(M) US|Bambina Aniline
- Nine West Women's Janissah Slide Sandal B079P6XPT7 6 B(M) US|Black Leather
- Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Hi B00IRXC5FU 12.5 D(M) US|Optical White
- Skechers for Work Women's Synergy Sandlot Alloy Toe Lace-up Work Shoe B01AGZ9J5K 9 B(M) US|Black
- FRYE Women's Lillian Western Bootie Boot B01MU3RRSQ 10 B(M) US|Black Nubuck
- Women Strap Sparkle Rhinestone Strappy Zipper Open Toe Party Evening Dress Heels Sandal Pumps B073DRLWYY 8.5 B(M) US|Black_m42
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- FRYE Women's Nora Zip Short Ankle Boot B072K7254D 9.5 B(M) US|Black
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- Dr. Martens Men's Newton Boot B01AKRC0J6 13 UK/14 M US|Black
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- Kenneth Cole New York Women's Kathy Slip Stretch Upper Sneaker B076FJC5ZK 6.5 B(M) US|Rose Gold
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- adidas Originals Women's SL Loop Racer W Lifestyle Sneaker B00O2KH1X8 10 B(M) US|White/Blush Green/Vista Pink
- Easy Spirit Women's Romy Walking Shoe B001GNCP6M 8.5 XW US|White Multi
- 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 adidas Originals Men's Superstar Shoes B01HNB8J74 5 M US|White/Burgundy/Gold Metallic 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. OTBT Women's Springfield Clog B005GVGOF8 9.5 B(M) US|Black LeatherMy 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:New Balance Women's 1500v4 Running Shoe B06XS8W4CD 12 D US|White/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 24v1 Sneaker B075R756KM 6 D US|Moonbeam 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 220v1 Sneaker B01N5536RT 8.5 B(M) US|Black/Black 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,Drew Shoe Women's Flare Walking Shoe B001ATZ05U 9 W US|White/Blue 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,adidas Originals Women's NMD_r2 W Sneaker B06XP5SD5K 10.5 B(M) US|Grey Two/Grey Three/Shock Pink 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. adidas Women's Athletics 24/7 Training Shoes B01N6JF9VV 8.5 M US|Medium Heather Grey/Crystal White/BlackWhen 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,New Balance Women's SPK V1 FuelCore Cross Trainer B075R3RHWX 8.5 B(M) US|Blue 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! New Balance Women's SPK V1 FuelCore Cross Trainer B075R7YTDR 5 W US|Cloud/MoonbeamYou’re getting the new OS X version, already installed in that computer. New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Arishi V1 Running Shoe B073VJ1L4Z 6 B(M) US|Hemp/Sea Salt.
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.Womens Nike Free TR 6 Training Shoes B01DL10TM8 6.5 B(M) US|Bright Mango/Black/Bleached LilacThat’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: SoftWalk Women's Wonder Ballet Flat B073C2VKC4 10 W US|Natural.
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Keep two backups of your computer:
- Time Machine