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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Can anyone recommend best backup method?..


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farmcock

 
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I've had my iMac for about 3 months and have been using Backup 3.1 for my personal settings to iDisk and my home folder & iLife apps to DVD's, but the Home folder is growing and now requiring more DVD's.

It takes too long to back up in this way. Would an external hard drive be the best bet and if so, would i want to go all out and simply backup my entire internal drive to the external, say every week or so?
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Say_Cheese

 
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A lot of people have an external HDD for the purposes of backups. It is entirely possible to make weekely backups of all your data to another HDD. Also it should not take to long to do so.
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surfwax95

 
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I keep a monthly backup on a 160GB Acomdata with Firewire 400 ($116 at Compusa). I generally back up all apps, my home folder, my CoreServices folder, and my desktop pictures. This way it doesn't take up storage space for things that are automatically part of OSX (which I would reinstall anyway).

A good program to check out after you get an external HD is iBackup. It works beautifully and has a very easy interface. It can even restore automatically from a backup.

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dmetzcher
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I just put a new backup routine in place last weekend, and I like it so far. Basically, I have a FireWire drive that contains a few sparse disk images, and I back up my data from two other drives to those sparse images. It works out really nice, and I don't have to dedicate a set amount of space on the external drive for the backups via disk partitions.

I wrote a post about this on my site, if you are interested. It's a little long, and details creating sparse images, running backups (I use SuperDuper! , but the backup software used could be anything that gets the job done for you - I like to create exact clones of the hard drives), etc. If you don't want to use the sparse images, then just partition an external drive so that you have enough space to run your backup.

Using Sparse Disk Images to Back Up and Encrypt Data
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kaidomac

 
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On my Windows systems, I use a backup method called "AB+Ghost". The jist of it is that you have a large external hard drive with an on/off switch. On that drive are three folders and one text file. The folders are named "A", "B", and "Ghost". The text file is named "History". Each night, you back up your files to the "A" or "B" folder and alternate which folder you use every night. At the end of the week, you do a full copy of the hard drive using Norton Ghost, which makes a "disk image" of your drive". This is basically like the OS X installation disc, but in a file with all of your programs, settings, and files which you can restore to the primary hard drive like the OS X installation disc. I only do this weekly because it typically takes a long time (couple of hours at most). In OS X I use Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) instead of Norton Ghost, which is available for free here:

http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html

CCC runs on both Intel and PowerPC Macs. I'm still researching good backup programs; on my Windows computers I use a nifty little backup application called "Replicator" from Karen's Power Tools. Otherwise I just copy everything by hand. However, since I don't know where all of the settings and templates and whatnot are stored, I can't do everything by hand yet.

As far as the backup hard drive goes, you can buy one or just build one yourself. I like building them because they're easy, you can save a lot of money, you can choose the enclosure and connections that you want, and you can choose what drive you want. Typically I get Seagate drives because they are usually quiet and are long-lasting (plus have a long warranty). Here is a good enclosure that sports both Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 for under $45:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817146602

Here is a 250gb Seagate drive that is very quiet and sells for under $100:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148100

So for about $150 you can get a very nice backup drive. LaCie makes a number of external hard drives, but you're going to pay like $70 more if you want both USB and Firewire with the same capacity as the setup above:

http://www.lacie.com/products/range.htm?id=10033

Anyway, after you get it formatted and create the three folders and text file, you do the following:

Daily: Backup personal files to "A" or "B" folder; log the date in the History text file (like A: 4/9/2006, B: 4/10/2006)
Weekly: Backup system using CCC; log the date in the History text file (you can alternate these as well if you have a large enough backup drive)

Keep the hard drive turned OFF until you need it; this prevents possible problems like a virus eating the drive or a user accidentally deleting files. This backup method ensures that not only do you have a backup, but you also have a backup from the night before just in case you accidentally delete a file or something gets corrupted. It's a bit of work, but you only have to ask yourself how important your files are and how long it would take you to reinstall OS X, customize the system settings, install your programs, update the system and programs, and recreate your files if they were lost to see the importance of it
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Aptmunich

 
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I use SuperDuper! to maintain a complete backup of my entire internal hdd on my external drive.

It's a firewire harddrive with 2 partitions: one the exact same size as my internal drive & one larger partition for nonessentials (games, movies, etc.)

I would recommend a firewire harddrive as you can then boot from it, should your internal drive ever break.
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kaidomac

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aptmunich
I use SuperDuper! to maintain a complete backup of my entire internal hdd on my external drive.

It's a firewire harddrive with 2 partitions: one the exact same size as my internal drive & one larger partition for nonessentials (games, movies, etc.)

I would recommend a firewire harddrive as you can then boot from it, should your internal drive ever break.
So you can actually clone your internal drive to an external partition, rather than the entire external drive? I like that idea a lot...
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Aptmunich

 
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Yeah, that's the way I do it...

I just partitioned the drive with Disk Utility and just point SuperDuper! to copy the internal drive to the backup partition. If you check the 'make backup bootable' box, SuperDuper! will "bless" the partition to make it bootable.
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