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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Is Carbon Copy Clone Enough


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ellenm

 
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I have a 13" MBP I bought just after Christmas with a 250gb hard drive. I just got a Seagate Free Agent to Go Mac 250gb external hard drive to perform backups. After reading various posts I decided to use Carbon Copy Clone to make a bootable backup of my drive and then do incremental backups on a daily basis.

I'm just a bit confused about whether I should use Time Machine for incremental backups rather than Carbon Copy Clone, so in essence I would have 2 partitions on the Seagate drive, one bootable and one for Time Machine. Of course my problem is that I bought a small external drive (oops!) so having the 2 partitions will fill it up quicker.

I guess my question is whether Carbon Copy Clone is enough with doing incremental backups or should I also be using Time Machine. Or, is Time Machine enough for performing backups since I have a system disk?

I'm a bit confused if you can't tell. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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cwa107

 
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I think it might help to explain the differences in how the two products work....

CCC makes a clone of your hard disk as it is at the time of the backup. This is handy for catastrophic hard disk failures, since it makes recovery a snap.

Time Machine, on the other hand, is more focused at the history of your data. While it does a full backup, on-going backups catch the original file and all revisions. This is handy, not only for catastrophic failure, but also if you want to capture specific revisions to a document.

So, it all comes down to how much protection you want. For me, a clone is adequate. But if you're working on documents and often save over top of the originals, it might be handy to be able to revert to previous versions.

One caveat though, since there are multiple redundant copies of data kept, you're going to want a drive that is much larger than your data. So, if you routinely store 50GB of data, make sure that external has 4 times that amount so that you do get the benefit of Time Machine's ability to store revisions to that data. Otherwise, you derive no benefit over and above what CCC can do.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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ellenm

 
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Thanks for your quick response. I think I am going to give Time Machine a try since it is an integral part of the system and as long as I can boot from my system disk then I am protected in case of catastrophic failure if I understand correctly. Plus, reading the Apple material they give clear directions on how to restore.

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cwa107

 
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One of the key differences between CCC and Time Machine is that a CCC backup is bootable. So, if you lost your hard drive, you could instantly recover just by booting from the external. Time Machine doesn't work this way. There's a number of ways to recover from a Time Machine backup, but they mostly require a reinstall of the OS and will subsequently restore your data back to the clean OS install.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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ellenm:

I use both methods of backup: Time Machine and CCC, however, I found it much easier to use two separate hard drives. Cost is greater, but large external hard drives have come down in price which made it easier.

The advantage of a cloned backup is that you can recover much faster if your internal hard drive should fail. A backup made with CCC is bootable whereas one made with Time Machine is not. You would have to restore using your install DVD before Time Machine could be used.

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ellenm

 
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I'm a Windows user too so a clean install doesn't sound that bad to me since the machine usually runs a better after that kind of install. I don't know if Macs are the same way with their operating system or not. I might use the Seagate drive for Time Machine since it connects via Firewire and is fast to do hourly backups. Maybe I'll pick up a cheaper USB drive to do a CCC bootable backup to have on hand. How often do you update your CCC backup?

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cwa107

 
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By and large, UNIX-based operating systems should never require a clean install to perform better. This is a bad habit that many Windows users carry over. Windows, because it has a registry and is also prone to dropping crap all over the system directories, is subject to something I like to call "Windows rot". As the registry grows, memory consumption increases and a clean install will correct that condition.

On the other hand, UNIX confines most modifications to the user's home folder. Additionally, it does not use a registry. If you want to go back to sort of flush things out, the most you would need to do is create a new user account and delete the old.

As far as how often to backup with CCC - with Time Machine, I would say you're safe to do it sparingly, maybe once per quarter. Right now, I do it once a month, but I don't run Time Machine.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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I do my CCC backups once a week, and TM operates as normal. As insanely cheap as hard drives are these days, there's no reason not to do both.
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ellenm

 
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Thanks for everyone's responses. I have to get out of Windows thinking mode when it comes to the Mac so thanks for the clarification

I think for now I will use the 250gb drive for Time Machine since I have about 35gb used on my MBP right now. I will eventually need a larger drive and want to be able to get another Firewire so once I do that I will invest in a larger drive and use the 250gb for CCC or SuperDuper.

I guess I hijacked my own thread. Should be CCC or Time Machine or Both?

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