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Copy vs. backup

336 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Nov 18, 2012 11:35 PM by Chris CA RSS
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LQGuy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Nov 18, 2012 10:56 AM

This might be a stupid question...


I use Time Machine to backup my system to an external hard drive.  My question concerns the fact that I want a complete copy of iTunes (actual music files, songs, artwork, etc) backed up in Time Machine such that, if my Mac drive fails, when I purchase a new computer, I will have a complete set of the music ready to transfer on to the new computer.


However, I notice that the language used in these forums utilize the terms "back up" and "copy".  Is there a difference?  If so, can you please tell me how to accomplish the above goal?


Thanks very much!

iMac, iOS 4.3.3
  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,585 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 1:19 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    I don't use TM but I assume it places a copy of all your files on the TM drive as a backup.  In this context "copy" and "backup" are equivalent.  A backup is essentially making sure you have a second copy of files, preferably on a different hard drive.

  • Stephen Spark Level 4 Level 4 (2,380 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 4:23 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    I prefer a combination of Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner on 2 different drives. I let Time Machine do it's thing but schedule CCC to back up once a month. Time Machine has it's perks with it's ease of recovering individual files and their different versions in it's own interface. But for a whole system back up I like CCC since it creates an exact disk image you can browse through just like you can with Finder. My normal CCC back up only contains my Home folder though.


    CCC, as well as SuperDuper will also allow you to create a bootable image. I find this handy when doing major updates that can hose your system. A bootable image can get you back to before you started in short order.


    So with this set up at best I have 2 complete back ups of my irreplaceable files just in case something goes wrong with one. I add the extra bootable image to a third drive to the back ups when doing major operating system updates.

  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 5:15 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    If Stephen Spark does as I, he does have two physically separate external drives for backup.


    The odds of 3 physically separate drives failing at the same time are far less than two physically separate drives dying at the same time.


    But some people decrease the odds of total failure by having 2 CCC clones, keeping one offsite at a friend's house to avoid even in-the-same-room failures.

  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 5:48 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    No.  Just connect with physical cable.


    My TM uses FW toaster-style external and the CCC uses USB 2.0 drive.  Both or neither can be attached at any time.

  • Limnos Level 8 Level 8 (36,585 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 7:49 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    I have one of these:



    with it I can use multiple bare drives which saves on the cost of extra enclosures.  The main drawback is you have to be pretty careful you do all your backups methodically or else drives can get out of sync.

  • Stephen Spark Level 4 Level 4 (2,380 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 8:26 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    My Time Machine backup is on an Apple 1TB Time Capsule, wireless router with built in hard drive. I use an additional 500Gb USB drive for the CCC backup. I have an additional 200Gb drive I use for general use which can be wiped and used to create the bootable image for the major OS updates. I'll leave the image for a month or so after an update to ensure my system is working fine. So I use 2 separate drives, one wireless, one USB, just for my main backups. CCC is supposed to work with Time Machine but I prefer the 2 separate drive setup.


    On top of that I keep a Drobo drive dedicated to a video library. These files I could stand to lose although it would be painful rue ripping all my DVDs. The Drobo contains 4 1TB drives of which 1TB is for backup and the other 3 for storage. Any one drive can fail with no data loss. Unlike most raid arrays you can replace a failed drive in a Drobo with any other size or brand of drive and it will rebuild itself. All my music photos and other important files are stored on my computers main drive in my Home folder where they are on the other 2 backup systems.


    I mainly use CCC for the other backup software. I only mention Superduper since it is just as good, CCC is just the one I ended up using.

  • Chris CA Level 9 Level 9 (73,410 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 8:56 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    Time Machine backs up everything.

    If you get a new drive/computer, you can simply restore the entire drive.


    Copy vs. backup?

    No real difference.

  • steve359 Level 6 Level 6 (12,035 points)
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    Nov 18, 2012 9:41 PM (in response to LQGuy)

    CarboCopyClone ($40 download, makes bootable external drives.  These are wonderful backups to have when your main internal drive finally dies.  TM is not a bootable backup like CCC.  CCC also "incrementally" backs up, meaning the original CCC takes possibly hours, but later cloning can take just 5 minutes and you will always have a bootable backup copy of your internal system drive.

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