Official Backup FAQ or Start Backing Up Now!

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My mid-2012 MacBook Pro has been backing up to Time Machine since Day1, but I would like to add an external drive to create a clone backup. I am running Parallels 9 for Windows 7 and noted a previous post that stated it would be backed up as the virtual machine is a file, so I hope that question is answered. I am looking for advice on the following:

1. Type of external drive recommended: USB 2.0 powered or AC adaptor powered?
2. Format: Should I be looking for a specific format as I notice that various drives come with various formats and I do not know how to reformat drives.
3. Any brand recommendations?
4. Based on this sticky, I anticipate using SuperDuper. Any issues I should be aware of?
5. What have I not asked that I should have?

Rick
 
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MacInWin

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@Rick T,

1. Your choice. Depends on how you plan to use the backup drive. If it's never going to travel, just sit there, then AC powered is probably better. But if you take it with you everywhere, then USB power could be better.
2. Nope, you can reformat it to Mac Extended (Journaled) with Disk Utility
3. I use WD, but others have other preferences. If you get WD, don't use their utilities, just use Disk Utility as it came with your Mac.
4. I don't use SD, I use Carbon Copy Cloner, but there shouldn't be any issues.
5. Size. Get a drive that is at least twice the size of the drives you are backing up. And yes, the Parallels file for your VM can be included in the backup, so that's taken care of for you.
 
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Thanks, Jake. You answered my questions. Now I have a new one.

A quick look at 1 TB drives shows they are all USB 3.0 which my Mac does not have. As I recall, USB3.0 is backward compatible with 2.0, you just will not get the performance gain if you plug a 3.0 device into a 2.0 port. Is this correct?

Rick
 
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True. I don't have USB3 either, so I use Firewire because it's much faster than USB2. I do have to pay a little more for it, but I prefer the performance. For backups, you may not care, until and unless you have to restore. I recently had to restore a full drive through USB, and it took 20+ hours at USB2 speeds.
 
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I'm using an external USB 3 drive, the Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB. I do have USB 3 on my MBP mid 2012, the main reason I chose it. I assume USB 3 is faster than FireWire?

I have my 1TB in the 3 partitions: 2 - 250 MB partitions and a 500 MB partition. The 250 MB partitions I use for cloned drives, and the 500 MB partition is for Time Machine. I'm pretty new on Mac backups, but managed pick it up in the past couple weeks.

I use Super Duper (unregistered) for cloning. Registration gives more features, but it does NOT have incremental backups. Thinking of Carbon Copy Cloner for the incremental feature, and maybe use it instead of Time Machine.

I put Mavericks on my MBP twice! The first try didn't go well. So put ML back on with the Super Duper clone. Later I figured out how do an OS upgrade with a clean install and Time Machine restore. First erase the partition and install Mavericks from a USB thumb drive. When the installation is nearly complete, there is a prompt to restore from Time Machine. The restore took me 3 - 4 hours because the install partition and the Time Machine backup partition were both on the external USB drive. But it restored my settings! Once I was satisfied with the new Mavericks installation, I cloned it to my internal hard drive. OS X has some pretty slick tools. If only I could do this on Windows!
 
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I found this easy table of THEORETICAL speeds. YMMV.

USB 1.1 = 12 Mbit/s
Firefire 400 = 400 Mbit/s
USB 2.0 = 480 Mbit/s
FireWire 800 = 800 Mbit/s
USB 3.0 = 5 Gbit/s
eSATA = Up to 6 Gbit/s right now as it depend on the internal SATA chip.
 

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Hi! I am a novice and have several questions re backup. I have been doing Time Machine backup to a 1TB drive that failed while still under warranty. Apparently, it became corrupted somehow and would "READ ONLY." The company sent a replacement, and I have resumed TimeMachine backup. Before returning the defective device, I read through this post. I have not copied the previous backups from the defective drive to the replacement that I just received; I simply formatted the replacement and did a backup. After reading this post, I'm wondering if that was sufficient??? Did Time Machine recognize that this is a new device and backup my entire system as it currently stands? Or should I try to copy one of my previous backups from the defective drive? I have never designated any files/apps to be excluded from backup. Also, on average, I backup about every other week.

If my entire system is backed up as it currently exists, there is nothing else on the defective drive that I feel I need to retain except a few emails or mail downloads that I had deleted. However, I was unsuccessful in finding email on the defective backup. I couldn't open the Mail folder. Within User, I found only a couple of individual e-mails. I'll survive if I can't access my emails! But is it possible to restore emails from previous back up?

The tech support for the backup drive said the drive possibly failed because it was removed improperly. I don't recall removing the device without "ejecting," although I'm sure it's possible. They also said that my last backup files were probably corrupted. Any other thoughts? I don't want it to happen again. In the meantime, I should start checking out those links from your article on cloning my system for a higher level of security!

Thank you so much for your help!

PS: I am a new forum member, and I wasn't sure whether to add to your original post, or ask a new question? Which is best? Thanks!
 

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Hi! I am a novice and have several questions re backup. I have been doing Time Machine backup to a 1TB drive that failed while still under warranty. Apparently, it became corrupted somehow and would "READ ONLY." The company sent a replacement, and I have resumed TimeMachine backup. Before returning the defective device, I read through this post. I have not copied the previous backups from the defective drive to the replacement that I just received; I simply formatted the replacement and did a backup. After reading this post, I'm wondering if that was sufficient???

Yes

Did Time Machine recognize that this is a new device and backup my entire system as it currently stands?

Yes

Or should I try to copy one of my previous backups from the defective drive? I have never designated any files/apps to be excluded from backup. Also, on average, I backup about every other week.

No
Why are you only backing up once every 2 weeks?

If my entire system is backed up as it currently exists, there is nothing else on the defective drive that I feel I need to retain except a few emails or mail downloads that I had deleted. However, I was unsuccessful in finding email on the defective backup. I couldn't open the Mail folder. Within User, I found only a couple of individual e-mails. I'll survive if I can't access my emails! But is it possible to restore emails from previous back up?

Someone else may be able to assist - have never tried restoring any email.

The tech support for the backup drive said the drive possibly failed because it was removed improperly. I don't recall removing the device without "ejecting," although I'm sure it's possible. They also said that my last backup files were probably corrupted. Any other thoughts? I don't want it to happen again. In the meantime, I should start checking out those links from your article on cloning my system for a higher level of security!

While an improper ejection can certainly cause data loss/corruption and even corruption of the partition map, highly unlikely that it would be the cause of a failed drive. More likely, if the tech didn't even have you try re-partitioning/formatting the drive, the tech was taking the easy way out - or - they already have some history with that particular model and are replacing them instead of spending a lot of time troubleshooting.

A separate clone backup is a good idea for preserving your data.
Two separate clone backups being rotated with one of them stored off-site is even better.
 

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Thank you so very much for your reply and reassurance. It's a relief to know I can let go of this defective device without copying anything.


Why are you only backing up once every 2 weeks?

Since it would be most devastating if we lose our photo library, I've been backing up based on how often we download photos. How often is recommended?


While an improper ejection can certainly cause data loss/corruption and even corruption of the partition map, highly unlikely that it would be the cause of a failed drive. More likely, if the tech didn't even have you try re-partitioning/formatting the drive, the tech was taking the easy way out - or - they already have some history with that particular model and are replacing them instead of spending a lot of time troubleshooting.
Thanks for your insight on this. Actually, tech support did walk me through a repair process that failed. That process allowed me to see the device on my desktop so that I could open my files. Prior to that repair, the icon wasn't even showing up on my desktop. All the same, I hear you re. possible history for this model and will start working on this clone process.

Two separate clone backups being rotated with one of them stored off-site is even better.
I'm learning that this backup process can't be overdone! Thanks!
 

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Is there a special type of external drive needed to do the clone backup? I looked at the Amazon link from the original post of this thread and see some drives that are "storage" drives and others described as "storage and backup." I have seen "bootable" drive mentioned in posts. If I understand MacInWin's post of 8/6/13 above correctly, then the drive is "bootable" because the CCC software has cloned the operating system? The device itself is no different than the external device I use for TM backups?

Also, if I understand the previous posts correctly, the external drive can be partitioned so that my clone is in one partition, and I could use the other partition for storage? I have an older Mac Mini, 120 GB HD, Snow Leopard. I was thinking maybe I would make 2 clones with each partitioned for storage so that my stored libraries are backed up. Am I on the right track?

From the Amazon link given in the original post, here's a device that says "storage" and "ideal for backing up files with Time Machine" but no mention of ideal to clone your system. Would it work for the clone?

Thanks for any and all guidance!
 
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Any normal External hard drive will work. Just be sure it's formatted in Apple format from Disk Utility or Time Machine will not work with it nor will it boot on an Intel Mac. I have many drives here from older USB ones to Firewire 400, 800 and different brands and sizes and all work for Time Machine or CCC.
 
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In addition to a Time Capsule, I am using a WD My Passport for Mac 1 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive - WDBBXV0010BBK-NESN for my MacBook. I used the Passport to make a clone and then incremental backups. Just plugged it into my powered hub, followed the on-screen instructions. No formatting, no partitioning. It's $129.99 from Amazon.

Rick
 

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Just a hint and bit of info: Whenever you buy a hard drive and it's a model for the Mac, you're going to pay more for it. For example, your 1 TB Passport (formatted to NTFS) sells for around $99 at Best Buy and other stores. It's a very simple and quick procedure to reformat it for your Mac. And saves you $30.
 

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Thanks to each of you for your replies re the type of device! Good food for thought!

I notice from the community rules that I probably should not have posted the Amazon link since I guess that's "3rd party.". I had followed the link from Schweb's (who I see was a tremendous leader for this community) original summary and thought maybe it was ok to post an example. But since in doubt, I've edited that out!!
 

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Hi,
I am belaboring this because the external device I used for TM back-up failed while still under warranty, so I'm erring on being "extra cautions" before purchasing my drive for a bootable clone! I decided to just "look" at Best Buy, and they actually had My Passport For Mac 1 TB for only $69.99. It seemed like a "great deal," and I confirmed with the sales person that it would do what I needed it to do. But before I opened it, I found this on the WD site List of Mac-bootable WD external drives and how to format them to install an operation system that makes a distinction for their products about whether they will boot certain processors. Since it doesn't specifically list My Passport for Mac, I have emailed WD support and awaiting answer. In the meantime, can anyone help me make sense of this? My Mac Mini processor is 2Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with USB2.0 and Firewire400. Once again, thanks so very much! (I think it's ok to provide the link to another site to clarify a question?)
 
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Don't waste your time waiting for WD to answer. The "My Passport" regardless of whether it's been formatted for a PC (NTFS) or Mac (HFS+) will work just fine as a backup external hard drive. Of course if you buy the Passport and it's formatted for a PC (NTFS) it will have to be re-formatted before you can use it for Time Machine backups with your Mac.

As for the bootable instructions, they're referring to using the drive to boot from which you're not doing. You can ignore all that. Just go ahead and use the drive.
 

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Thanks so much for your quick response! I'm sorry i wasn't clear. Actually, I AM wanting to use the My Passport to create a bootable clone. Will it work with CCC to create a bootable clone?

(I have a TM backup on another external drive and that's the drive I had problems with).

Thanks again!
 

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Thanks so much for your quick response! I'm sorry i wasn't clear. Actually, I AM wanting to use the My Passport to create a bootable clone. Will it work with CCC to create a bootable clone?

Yes it will work just fine. I'm currently using a WD Passport that was formatted as NTFS for a PC and that I re-formatted to Mac HFS +. I use it to make my CCC bootable backups. I know it works because I've tested it. ;) BTW, my WD Passport is USB 3 since my iMac has USB 3 ports.
 

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Awesome!! Thanks so very much! I am really relieved to know it will work!
 

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Awesome!! Thanks so very much! I am really relieved to know it will work!

My wife has a 1Tb WD "My Passport". She has partitioned half for Time Machine and half for CCC.
When you partition a drive with Disk Utility it is automatically erased and you will be offered Mac Journaled (Extended) as the format (which is what you want) when you name the Partitions however it is good to check Options on the same window. You will see 3 mapping options. You must tick GUID as the mapping system if you want to use CCC as a bootable drive.
CCC is pretty smart though, if you choose bootable drive from from the initial backup options it will tell you if it can't do that and direct you to their help page which basically says what I have stated above but in more detail.;)
 
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