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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!”Carlos by Carlos Santana Women's Liliana Slide Sandal B077H64KYH 8.5 B(M) US|NavyJ.Renee Women's Aleesa Pump B077FGB85V 9.5 W US|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.FRYE Women's Anna Gore Short Buffalo Leather Boot B00R54WNYK 9.5 B(M) US|Chocolate-74651
- For the event that your Mac fails and you decide to replace it.SoftWalk Women's Frontier Boot B00RZYW2H8 11 N US|Graphite
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. Not Rated Women's Tessa Motorcycle Boot B06Y4HDCXC 10 B(M) US|GreyThey 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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- 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 Crocs Women's Lodge Point Pull-On Snow Boot B01A6LMQ8Q 5 M US|Navy 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. Durango Women's DRD0183 Western Boot B01HF7BOI2 6.5 B(M) US|Tan Blue DenimMy 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:Sam Edelman Women's Gigi Leather B078HNQ3QJ 11 B(M) US|Tangelo/Natural. Nice.
Using SuperDuper!, I cloned the drive. When the clone finished, I rebooted the iMac and caused it to boot from the external drive.Converse CTAS OX Womens Fashion-Sneakers B076T8XSNZ 10.5 D(M) US|Illusion Green/Twilight Pulse 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.Lucchese Bootmaker Women's Cassidy-Tan Mad Dog Goat Riding Boot B00SBHDQOG 9 B(M) US|Tan Burnish 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,Trotters Women's Melinda Ballet Flat B07933D186 8 N US|Burgundy 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,ECCO Women's Yucatan Sandal B01KINVWBO 39 EU/8-8.5 M US|Coral Blush 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. AU&MU Women's Full Fur Sheepskin Suede Winter Snow Boots B074HZNN96 9 B(M) US|Chocolate 4When 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 the case of a new computer, you probably don’t want a clone of the drive! Bella Vita Women's Ramp Ii Sneaker B078216N8N 7 B(M) US|Lt. Grey WovenYou’re getting the new OS X version, already installed in that computer. Pleaser Womens MOON-708MG/C/B Sandals B078MQFPNS 6 B(M) US.
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.Propet Women's June Slide Sandal B071JC3LM8 7 W US|DenimThat’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: Rockport Women's Cobb Hill Missy Boot B01AK67NRQ 6 B(M) US|Black.
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Keep two backups of your computer:
- Time Machine