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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!”Roper Women's Riley Western Boot B06WWLQ51Y 8 D US|TanFRYE Women's Cara Roper Short Boot B01BNULIPG 7.5 B(M) US|Chocolate 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.Propet Women's TravelActiv Mary Jane Fashion Sneaker B0118FFP8M 6 4E US|Pacific
- For the event that your Mac fails and you decide to replace it.MUK LUKS Women's Sandy Shoes Sneaker B01N13KANX 10 B(M) US|Tan
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. Sperry Top-Sider Women's Crest Vibe Metallic Novelty Sneaker B077P5JLBX 7.5 B(M) US|SilverThey 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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- YDN Women Peep Toe High Heel Wedge Sandals Ankle Straps Platform Pumps Slingback Shoes B0719CBDMR 7 B(M) US|Red
- Georgia Gb00159 Mid Calf Boot B07116K9T5 7.5 W US|Dark Brown
- PUMA Women's Prodigy Aon Wn Sneaker B07562D4MV 10 M US|Puma Black Rose Gold
- Propet Women's Billie Walking Shoe B0118BGBW0 6 B(M) US|Grey/Lime
- Propet Women's Washable Walker Sneaker B000BO86KQ 8 X (US Women's 8 EE)|White
- Sam Edelman Women's Hazel Pump B0741NJG42 11 B(M) US|Dusty Rose Suede
- Wolky Comfort Jewel B014LBG8G8 41 EU|20850 Ice Blue Leather
- TENGFEI Air 270 Flyknit Men's Running Shoes Trainers Lace up Breathable Leisure Sneaker B07DG3895Y 5.5 M US|Black
- Columbia Women's ATS Trail Lf92 Sneaker B073WG19XW 8 B(M) US|Nori, Teal
- PUMA Adult Suede Classic Shoe B0058XIF60 9 M US|Team Regal Red/White
- Trotters Women's Lucy Ballet Flat B01N9KC1O8 7.5 W US|Black Suede/Patent
- Brooks Women's Ghost 11 Running Sneakers B077QT1WZR 11 D US|Navy/Grey/Blue
- Spira CloudWalker Women's Athletic Walking Shoe with Springs B07B9LL62S 9.5 B(M) US|Black / White
- Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe B072BXV74R 6.5 B(M) US|Stucco
- Wolverine 1883 by Women's Jean Chelsea Boot B06XSCZRFF 9.5 B(M) US|Black
- New Balance Women's 600v2 Natural Running Shoe B01M0KB0AE 5.5 B(M) US|Steel/Artic Fox
- JOJONUNU Women Classics Flats Pumps Slip On B07922LF1Z 1 US = 21 CM|Red
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- Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn Women's Kenmare Ankle Boot B071DT54J6 6.5 B(M) US|Sienna
- Franco Sarto Women's Darlis Pump B016EYZMMG 9 Wide US|Black
- Skechers Women's Grand Jams Unlimited Boot B004S3YX0I 5 B(M) US|Light Tan
- Trotters Leatha Women's Slip On B078XLSY3X 9 B(M) US|Black
- Aerosoles Women's Midday Slide Sandal B076HY8748 9 W US|Denim Fabric
- Propet Women's Madison Ankle Lace Boot B00BBHMD2Y 9 B(M) US|Black
- FRYE Women's Sienna Ballet Flat B01N30A69V 6.5 B(M) US|Black Polished Soft Full Grain
- New Balance Women's W1540V2 Running Shoe B00LBYZXF6 9.5 2A US|White/Blue
- UMEXI Women's Strappy Lucite Clear Stiletto High Pointy Toe Slingback Sandal Shoe Pumps B06ZZDL54T 5 B(M) US|Leopard
- Rockport Women's Total Motion Kalila Dress Pump B01N2T6RFS 9.5 W US|Barley Multi
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- Skechers Women's Dlite Ultra Sneaker B01N8Q730I 7 B(M) US|Navy
- CLARKS Leisa Lakia Women's Sandal B078HHYF42 7.5 W US|Red
- 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 Vionic Womens Agile Adley Lace up B07B29DM5P 6.5 B(M) US|Purple 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. Aravon Women's Wembly Envelope Fashion Sneaker B01IU556ZU 9.5 D US|BlueMy 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:Women's Hunter Boots Original Short Gloss Snow Rain Boots Water Boots Unisex 5-10 B01DKRHQZG 5 M US|Sunset. Nice.
Using SuperDuper!, I cloned the drive. When the clone finished, I rebooted the iMac and caused it to boot from the external drive.Superga Women's 2750 Linenfruitw Sneaker B0777WGR8M 39 M EU (8 US)|Cherry Pa 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.Skechers Women's Ultra Flex Bright Horizon Sneaker B01N9U3ME6 7 B(M) US|Navy Pink 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,Reebok Women's Speedlux 3.0 Sneaker B073XBZ1F3 5.5 B(M) US|Washed Blue/Acid Pink/White/Steel/Silver 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,NIKE Women's Air Zoom Pegasus 33 B019DSBYTK 7 B(M) US|Blue Glow/Racer Blue/Bluecap/White 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. PUMA Safety Women's Fuse Motion SD B00D9R6JAQ 7 C/D US|Black/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,New Balance Women's 574v2 Sneaker B076BJFCZL 6 D US|White 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! Converse Women's Shoreline Slip on Sneaker B008L2FQJO 8 B(M) US|Cloud GreyYou’re getting the new OS X version, already installed in that computer. New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Arishi V1 Running Shoe B071NV36N9 10.5 D US|Light Porcelain Blue.
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.J Slides Women's Harlow Sneaker B0778W37ZV 6 B(M) US|NavyThat’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: Skechers Women's Flex Appeal 2.0 Newsmaker Sneaker B071WVFJ7F 8.5 B(M) US|Light Pink.
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Keep two backups of your computer:
- Time Machine