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  1. #1
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    LL435's Avatar
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    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    Hi,
    a question for those experts on backing up data. I use a MacBook Pro 2011, OS 10.13.6. My back up of 0.8 TB is via Time Machine to a 1 TB Firewire HDD. In case that becomes defective I have a second 1TB USB portable drive arriving today. Before I use the new portable drive, I've considered:-

    [1] use Time Machine alternately between the 2 drives by selecting the appropriate drive (I think this may be a bit of a faff although no extra cost) or
    [2] use TM as usual for the first drive and then purchase Carbon Copy Clone (CCC) to do a simultaneous incremental back-up to the second new portable drive (to then be stored elsewhere for data security in case of fire, theft etc).

    My final back-up if I get CCC would be from just a small folder (20GB) of critical documents via incremental back-up to a USB stick. However, I'm not sure how I'd password protect this in case of loss (USB sticks are easily lost !).

    • What are your thoughts - what is the best, most effective and/or preferred back-up option?
    • Is CCC equivalent to Time Machine, i.e. bootable, whole HDD recoverable etc?
    • What are the options for protecting the USB stick?


    Thanks in advance and sorry if this subject has already been discussed.

  2. #2
    MBAmtloin
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    Time Machine works! i have files i can access from 2009. I can plop in a new ssd hd on my 2010 MacBook air and reinstall say: Mountain Lion without losing any information or setting, i need to update java script, but all my files, user data and programs are ready to go! what i really like is the printers, scanners and ipods do not need anything extra to use when plugged in.
    there are 4 copies of different OSXs that i keep in 2 external HDs (Snow Leopard-High Sierra) in case i need to re-install those at any time. Time machine is easy, thorough and accurate. oh and FREE!
    the cons might be Time Machine takes up GBs but these drivers are getting more affordable by the year.
    Last edited by MBAmtloin; 02-05-2020 at 10:24 AM. Reason: i cant type!

  3. #3
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    IWT's Avatar
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    One Time Machine backup to its own external hard drive plus one CCC backup to another external hard drive.

    Easily the best option.

    The two backups serve different functions. If you need the detail of why this is so, just ask.

    Ian
    Ian

  4. #4
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    RadDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWT View Post
    One Time Machine backup to its own external hard drive plus one CCC backup to another external hard drive.

    Easily the best option.

    The two backups serve different functions. If you need the detail of why this is so, just ask.

    Ian
    @ OP - many of us here use both Time Machine (TM) and cloning software (CCC - Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper) - agree w/ Ian and do both TM & CCC backups to separate external drives; in fact, I do duplicate EHD backups, so four drives per computer - in addition, I like to do an additional backup of 'personal' files - so, using small capacity SSDs on my 3 Mac computers and an app called Sync Folders Pro (inexpensive in the App store) - pic below showing which folders on my MBPro get this x-BU (same on my other laptop & iMac). Now what I don't do which is often recommended is keep some BUs 'off site' in case of a major disaster (such as your house burning down) and/or do cloud backups (bunch of usually paid options). Dave

    P.S. if you want to use flash SS memory, avoid the inexpensive thumb drives and step up a notch or two to better external SSDs; their prices are dropping and the smaller capacity ones have become much more reasonable to purchase.

    P.S.S. over the past 7 years or so, I've had 2-3 external spinners and 1 SSD fail on me, hence my reason for duplication/redundancy.

    .
    Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 10.16.40 AM.png
    Last edited by RadDave; 02-05-2020 at 05:41 PM.
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  5. #5
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    LL435's Avatar
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    Rad Dave,
    Great info’, thanks. I agree with the redundancy issue which is why I’m conscious of improving my process to make it more robust. I think I’ll do similarly to your plan.
    (1) I’ll keep my FireWire External Hard Drive backing up constantly via Time Machine when I’m in my office.
    (2) I’ll also back up the whole MacBook drive to my new LaCie Rugged Mini Hard Disk via Carbon Copy Clone (CCC). This can be scheduled every hour while it’s plugged in. It’s then also a portable drive (supposed to be very robust) that I can take with me for back ups and storage away from the office.
    (3). Important personal documents backup via CCC (incrementally so should be quick) on to a 32GB USB thumb drive. I know you suggested avoiding these but I have one large enough already and saves spending more on an external SSD. I realise SSD are cheap but are they any better than what I have already (and it saves spending more)?

    I still need to think through the security issues. Whether and/or how I should password protect or encrypt the external drives.
    (1) I’m reluctant to use FileVault with the first drive as I’ve been told it slows the whole process and computer down quite a lot.
    (2) The new LaCie drive I believe comes with secure password protection so that should be ok. (I’ve not tried it yet to backup as I’m still developing my overall strategy !).
    (3) The USB stick is a quick easy solution but I’m not sure how I protect it (password, encryption etc) ?

    Finally, other points:-
    • I’m reluctant to use cloud storage; increased vulnerability, eco-sustainable issues ref. power use etc. Happy to keep things local and secure instead. I’ll keep my Rugged Drive in a safe secure place outside the house in case of fire, theft etc.
    • Regards CCC and SuperDuper. I’ve used CCC in the past to clone and replace my HDD (which failed, hence the awareness of need for redundancy and restore/recovery) with SSD and it worked well so I’ll probably go with CCC as it doesn’t seem too expensive either.
    • Regards, Sync Folders Pro software, I’m not sure if I need this ? and whether it’s just duplicating what CCC clone can do anyway, ie multiple different selectable folders backups.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    LL435's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IWT View Post
    One Time Machine backup to its own external hard drive plus one CCC backup to another external hard drive.

    Easily the best option.

    The two backups serve different functions. If you need the detail of why this is so, just ask.

    Ian
    Thanks Ian. Yep, I agree, that will be my plan

  7. #7
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    RadDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LL435 View Post
    Rad Dave,
    Great infoí, thanks. I agree with the redundancy issue.................

    I still need to think through the security issues. Whether and/or how I should password protect or encrypt the external drives.
    (1) Iím reluctant to use FileVault with the first drive as Iíve been told it slows the whole process and computer down quite a lot.
    (2) The new LaCie drive I believe comes with secure password protection so that should be ok. (Iíve not tried it yet to backup as Iím still developing my overall strategy !).
    (3) The USB stick is a quick easy solution but Iím not sure how I protect it (password, encryption etc) ?

    Finally, other points:-
    ē Iím reluctant to use cloud storage; increased vulnerability, eco-sustainable issues ref. power use etc. Happy to keep things local and secure instead. Iíll keep my Rugged Drive in a safe secure place outside the house in case of fire, theft etc.
    ē Regards CCC and SuperDuper. Iíve used CCC in the past to clone and replace my HDD (which failed, hence the awareness of need for redundancy and restore/recovery) with SSD and it worked well so Iíll probably go with CCC as it doesnít seem too expensive either.
    ē Regards, Sync Folders Pro software, Iím not sure if I need this ? and whether itís just duplicating what CCC clone can do anyway, ie multiple different selectable folders backups.
    Hi again - just bolded above a couple of your comments: 1) Regarding USB Flash Drive encryption - this can be easily done in macOS - the drives need to have a GUID partition (check HERE) - I have 2 USB external flash drives encrypted (see pic below - on left, a drive that I could add password protection; on right, an encrypted drive requiring a password - decryption is the option); 2) Sync Folders is just my 'need' for redundant BUs but of the most important personal 'stuff' on the computers - simply an individual choice. Dave
    .
    Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 5.16.33 PM.png
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  8. #8
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    Rod's Avatar
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    Donít forget the encrypted dmg option. You can create an encrypted disk image on any Mac and put it on a flash drive. It can be whatever size you want and although the drive can be opened in the usual way the contained dmg will require a password. I have done this on a 128Gb thumb drive effectively dividing it into two 64Gb sections. One for day to day stuff and the other for secure files.


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  9. #9
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    Lifeisabeach's Avatar
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    The value to Time Machine that can't be understated is the ability to recover older versions of files that you may find a need to recover at a later date. I ran into this myself when I updated a game I hadn't played in several months and found it wouldn't recognize my existing save game files. I had to go back in time through several months worth of Time Machine backups to find a good copy that it would recognize. If I had a more conventional backup that had no way to preserve "versions" of files in such a manner, I would have lost all that progress. This is a feature that is crazy useful for many other use cases too. If I was a student, teacher, writer, or any other profession where I used my Mac a lot for productivity and there was a chance I'd need to recover an older version of my work for ANY reason, Time Machine is invaluable. I cannot emphasize this enough... it's one of those backups strategies that you'll regret not having the most when you need it the most. Maybe not so critical for the most casual of users, but consider your own usage and needs. But that said, a CCC backup absolutely still has its own place. I use both, though only occasionally update my CCC backup since the TM one is always up to date. I make a special point to do it prior to major macOS updates so a fresh clone is ready to go in case of disaster.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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  10. #10
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    LL435's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lifeisabeach View Post
    The value to Time Machine that can't be understated is the ability to recover older versions of files that you may find a need to recover at a later date. I ran into this myself when I updated a game I hadn't played in several months and found it wouldn't recognize my existing save game files. I had to go back in time through several months worth of Time Machine backups to find a good copy that it would recognize. If I had a more conventional backup that had no way to preserve "versions" of files in such a manner, I would have lost all that progress. This is a feature that is crazy useful for many other use cases too. If I was a student, teacher, writer, or any other profession where I used my Mac a lot for productivity and there was a chance I'd need to recover an older version of my work for ANY reason, Time Machine is invaluable. I cannot emphasize this enough... it's one of those backups strategies that you'll regret not having the most when you need it the most. Maybe not so critical for the most casual of users or those who may already be storing documents in "the cloud", but consider your own usage and needs. But that said, a CCC backup absolutely still has its own place. I use both, though only occasionally update my CCC backup since the TM one is always up to date. I make a special point to do it prior to major macOS updates so a fresh clone is ready to go in case of disaster.
    Thanks for the info'. I'm actually just now implementing the advice all you guys have given !! I'm continuing with Time Machine backup (constantly plugged in when I'm at the desk) to an external drive - I agree with what you said ref TM & have had to use that process before and also when my Mac HDD failed. My second backup is just running now for the first time via CCC (which I've just bought) & I'll keep this somewhere secure then. My final Backup will be of personal documents to a USB stick formatted to Windows & Mac so that I can use them anywhere if needed.

    My last action point is to look at the security/password/encryption options but I've not had chance to work through that yet.
    Thanks again all.

  11. #11
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    chscag's Avatar
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    I agree with the value of Time Machine is that it can resurrect older versions of a file as "Life" stated. However, many folks seem to forget that Carbon Copy Cloner offers the same redundancy in resurrecting older files from previous backups. The key to using CCC that way is to keep the option called "SafetyNet" on at all times. I have used that before and it works.

    But aside from that, I do recommend using both Time Machine and CCC as a backup strategy.

  12. #12
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    LL435's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    I agree with the value of Time Machine is that it can resurrect older versions of a file as "Life" stated. However, many folks seem to forget that Carbon Copy Cloner offers the same redundancy in resurrecting older files from previous backups. The key to using CCC that way is to keep the option called "SafetyNet" on at all times. I have used that before and it works.

    But aside from that, I do recommend using both Time Machine and CCC as a backup strategy.
    Great, sounds like I'm on the right path. Literally just finished my new CCC backup to a new second HDD. Took a long time obviously but subsequent ones will be a lot quicker. I checked that it works as a start up disc too by changing the start up disc - all good.

  13. #13
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    Rod's Avatar
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    One of the great advantages of CCC is the "reverse" cloning option. If you need to replace an internal HD, as my wife once did, you can run the device off the clone then when the new HD is installed simply reverse the process cloning your external drive back onto the new internal HD.

    This can be done with Time Machine too but requires a few more steps.
    Where Time Machine really shines is its unique User Interface (UI) that allows easy visualisation of incremental backups over time and its familiar finder file structure allowing easy navigation to the file you wish to restore.

    In my mind a combination of TM and CCC is ideal. If you accidentally trash or delete a file TM makes for easy restoration. If you need to repair/replace your HD or boot from a different source CCC is ideal.

    Lastly a bootable macOS installer can be a real advantage.
    I keep a USB thumb drive with a bootable macOS installer of the previous and current macOS. This is the easiest way to revert to the previous operating system if something goes wrong during the upgrade and it is not susceptible to corruption like a backup. It is easily created using an app such as Install Disk Creator and the macOS installer downloaded from Apple before you perform the update, or if you perform a new CCC backup prior to running the upgrade installer (always a good idea I think) you will have a copy of the installer you can use because the one on your device will be deleted after upgrading.
    I did this with Mojave when I upgraded to that and another when I upgraded to Catalina.
    This handy little tool overcomes one of the biggest problems people face if for some reason they want to revert to the previous macOS.
    Apple removes the previous macOS when a new macOS is released.
    And second, you cannot install an older MacOS over a new one. You can however if you erase the HD. This little thumb drive allows you to run Disc Utility to erase, format, and map the drive and reinstall the OS you have saved. You then can restore all of your data as part of the process from a backup, either TM or CCC. Alternatively you can selectively restore your data from your backup using drag an drop which is essentially what is called a "clean" install.

    The three methods make for a pretty solid backup system, it's what I use and recommend.


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  14. #14
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    LL435's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    One of the great advantages of CCC is the "reverse" cloning option. If you need to replace an internal HD, as my wife once did, you can run the device off the clone then when the new HD is installed simply reverse the process cloning your external drive back onto the new internal HD.
    Yep, that's exactly what I did when my Mac HDD failed and I replaced it with a SSD. I used CCC as it was recommended and their guidance was really good along with some guidance from Crucial. Hence I've now purchased CCC and using it for alternate backup now.

    This can be done with Time Machine too but requires a few more steps.
    Where Time Machine really shines is its unique User Interface (UI) that allows easy visualisation of incremental backups over time and its familiar finder file structure allowing easy navigation to the file you wish to restore.

    In my mind a combination of TM and CCC is ideal. If you accidentally trash or delete a file TM makes for easy restoration. If you need to repair/replace your HD or boot from a different source CCC is ideal.
    Great - I'm now on the same page !

    Lastly a bootable macOS installer can be a real advantage.
    Another task for me to do. Though not as relevant as my 2011 MacBook can't get any more later updates than High Sierra as far as I know so no longer supported with OSX upgrades. Good idea though.

    I keep a USB thumb drive with a bootable macOS installer of the previous and current macOS. This is the easiest way to revert to the previous operating system if something goes wrong during the upgrade and it is not susceptible to corruption like a backup. It is easily created using an app such as Install Disk Creator and the macOS installer downloaded from Apple before you perform the update, or if you perform a new CCC backup prior to running the upgrade installer (always a good idea I think) you will have a copy of the installer you can use because the one on your device will be deleted after upgrading.
    I did this with Mojave when I upgraded to that and another when I upgraded to Catalina.
    This handy little tool overcomes one of the biggest problems people face if for some reason they want to revert to the previous macOS.
    Apple removes the previous macOS when a new macOS is released.
    And second, you cannot install an older MacOS over a new one. You can however if you erase the HD. This little thumb drive allows you to run Disc Utility to erase, format, and map the drive and reinstall the OS you have saved. You then can restore all of your data as part of the process from a backup, either TM or CCC. Alternatively you can selectively restore your data from your backup using drag an drop which is essentially what is called a "clean" install.

    The three methods make for a pretty solid backup system, it's what I use and recommend.
    Great - this strategy seems to be adopted by quite a few people, me too now :-)


    Sent from my iPhone using Mac-Forums
    Hi, thanks again for the great tips. I've put some comments in your reply.

  15. #15
    Back-up: Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner
    krs's Avatar
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    I have actually never used time machine because I'm under the impression that one needs to have an external drive connected to the Mac permanently for that to function.

    Everyone in my family except me are using MacBook's of some types.
    I have a hard enough time to connect a drive to them al least once a month to make a CCC/SD back up - these MacBooks are in constant use from morning until the wee hours of the next morning and are moved all over the house and on trips.

    Is it possible to link a MacBook to a time machine external drive wirelessly?
    So I could have the drive in the house somewhere and time machine backups would happen over WiFi?

    Touch wood - but until now I have been able to recover from every Mac internal hard drive issue without actually using a back up.
    But my luck (or better the person with the problem Mac's luck) is bound to run out sooner or later where I can't recover the data, so a time machine option where the external drive is not tethered to the Mac would be a good option.

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