8 Replies Latest reply: Jul 16, 2007 11:00 AM by Denison Phelps
CTS Level 2 (200 points)
I've been backing up my iMac using Retrospect Express, onto an external hard drive.

We also have an iBook, which we have not been backing up.

Two questions:

1. Can I back up both computers onto the single external drive I already own? If so, do I need to partition the drive (something I know nothing about)?

2. If I do have to partition, does that mean I lose all the data on my external hard drive?

2. Since I've got Retrospect Express, not Desktop, on my iMac, I need to buy a new backup program. I could upgrade to Retrospect Desktop (quite expensive; and Retrospect seems to be a fading project); or I could buy Chronosync, SuperDuper, or Carbon Copy Cloner for the iBook. Which of these paths would any of you recommend?

imac 15 / ibook g3 12 Mac OS X (10.3.9)

imac 15 / ibook g3 12   Mac OS X (10.3.9)  
  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)
    You can backup both computers to the same drive, but you would need to partition the drive first. Partitioning will erase all the data on the drive. You will have to backup both computers anew.

    I don't know why you would need to buy a second backup program. Retrospect Express can be used to backup both computers. However, if you wish to replace Retrospect there are some excellent alternatives:

    Basic Backup

    You can make a bootable clone using the Restore option of Disk Utility. You can also make and maintain clones with good backup software. My personal recommendations are (order is not significant):

    1. Retrospect Desktop (Commercial - not yet universal binary)
    2. Synchronize! Pro X (Commercial)
    3. Synk (Backup, Standard, or Pro)
    4. Deja Vu (Shareware)
    5. PsynchX 2.1.1 and RsyncX 2.1 (Freeware)
    6. Carbon Copy Cloner (Freeware - 3.0 is a Universal Binary)
    7. SuperDuper! (Commercial)

    The following utilities can also be used for backup, but cannot create bootable clones:

    1. Backup (requires a .Mac account with Apple both to get the software and to use it.)
    2. Toast
    3. Impression
    4. arRSync

    Apple's Backup is a full backup tool capable of also backing up across multiple media such as CD/DVD. However, it cannot create bootable backups. It is primarily an "archiving" utility as are the other two.

    Impression and Toast are disk image based backups, only. Particularly useful if you need to backup to CD/DVD across multiple media.

    Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on maintenance, optimization, virus protection, and backup and restore. Also read How to Back Up and Restore Your Files.

    Use Disk Utility to partition the drive. Open DU (Utilities folder.) Select your hard drive entry from the left side list (mfgr.'s ID and drive size.) Click on the Partition tab in the DU main window. Select the number of partitions from the drop down menu. Use the resizing gadget to size the partitions. You will need each partition to be large enough to store the contents of the drive it will backup. Set the format type to Mac OS X Extended (Journaled.) Click on the Partition button and wait for the volumes to mount on your Desktop.
  • CTS Level 2 (200 points)
    Thanks for the response.

    My impression was the main difference between Restrospect Express and Desktop was that only Desktop let you back up a second, networked computer. That's not the case? (My desktop and laptop are connected by wi-fi.)

    Or are you saying a Retrospect Express license would let me install a copy on my laptop?

    Obviously, if I don't have to buy a new program, I won't.

    I'm nervous about having all my stuff unbacked up while I fiddle with partitioning, which I've never done. But I guess that's my problem; I guess if I'm feeling very unlucky, or supercautious, I could just buy another drive.
  • Michel Vézina Level 4 (1,145 points)

    if you can borrow an external drive from someone, you could backup your external there untill you partition your drive, then re copy back to your newly partitioned drive.

    if your 2 computers are using the same OSX, then there's no reason to backup the entire HD from each computers. No reason to backup the OS twice on 2 separae partitions. You can do as follow. Which I did for my 4 different computers.

    I partitionned an external drive with 3 partitions. 1st one with 30GB and installled the basic OSX. Used carbon copy cloner. It copied everything including the user folder containing itunes and photos folders. But later emptied them, (to save space) for as you will understand in the following.

    2nd partition, has 2 folders.> Folder 1 = computer 1. I copied the entire user's folder, which contains everything, itunes library, photos, movies etc...
    2nd folder > = computer #2 . did same as above

    3rd partition 2 folders containing computer 3 and 4.

    So you get the system.

    you can organized it any way you want.

    Then when I need to backup, I open the proper folder at the proper level on the internal HD, and then open a 2nd window, relating the the external HD at the same level of the internal, and drag and drop over the external Drive window, copying only the folder needed. Sure enough, you will be asked if you want to "replace" the folder of same name that is already existing at this location. You can also use backup software. I prefer doing it manually.

    The beauty about having the 1st partition as a "option startup", is if any of your computer shoud crash, you could boot either computer from the option startup partition, clean your internal HD ( or defrag- keep in mind you cannot defrag a drive that you are booted from- so this system also allows you to defrag your internal drive once in a while) , and restart again from internal HD.

    Hope this helps you understand the possibilities at hand!

  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)
    I don't see how that would affect running Retrospect on each computer. Retrospect Express doesn't support any networked clients according to their information, but then you aren't using it to backup a networked client. You are using it to backup directly to an external drive. Not the same thing.
  • CTS Level 2 (200 points)
    I'm confused (and I'm sure it is not your fault; I'm a beginner at this stuff). I have a single copy of Retrospect Express, installed on my desktop. How do I get from there to backing up my (networked) laptop without either 1. buying a second copy of Express (or other backup program) for the laptop or 2. upgrading to the version of Retrospect that allows networked backups?

    What am I missing in your explanation? I can't just take out my Retrospect Express disks and install a second copy on my laptop, can I?

    imac 15 / ibook g3 12 Mac OS X (10.3.9)
  • Kappy Level 10 (263,335 points)
    If you install Retrospect Express on each computer then you can use it independently to backup that computer to your hard drive. Legally speaking you need a second license to install Retrospect Express on two different CPUs at the same time. Although you could put a second copy of the one you have on the other computer I cannot recommend you do that because it would violate the software license.

    The fact that your computers are networked is not really relevant to your situation. You are not doing network backup. Network backup is where there is a Server on which Retrospect and its backups are kept. Each Client machine has a special 'Client' version of Retrospect that enables the client to interface with the Server which is actually running the Retrospect program. Retrospect Desktop includes two Retrospect Clients. This would serve a small office with three computers - one server and two clients.

    This is not what you have. All you have is two computers that are networked to provide mutual file sharing. Retrospect Express does not even provide services for network backup.
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)

    I am not familiar with how Retrospect works, in detail. Gave up on trying to understand a while ago.

    I use, SuperDuper, which I have backedup/cloned to my external FW HDD. When I want to backup to my wife's computer I boot from the cloned partition and use SD from the backup to clone or do SmartUpdates (cumulative backups). I suspect that I could use Firewire Target Disk Mode to accomplish the same thing. I am not sure whether this is an option using Retrospect. If you could, you would have Retrospect installed on only one computer, and use to backup the other computers. If not, you might using SD in that way.

    Good luck.


    Message was edited by: cornelius
  • Denison Phelps Level 2 (210 points)
    It depends too on whether you are cloning (or as Retrospect Express puts it, duplicating) two different computer hard drives. Then you have to partition. If you are just backing up Home folders, you can put them on the same partition.
    Obviously cloning is superior, no question.
    As far as having Retrospect Express on two computers, you realize that there is the technical question of whether it can be done, which is yes, and then the legal question....
    I used Retrospect Express for a while and I am so glad I switched to Super Duper. I find the language in RE strange and hard to comprehend, whereas SuperDuper is plain language and pretty straightforward. Having said that, RE worked and I was able to put a clone (duplicate) on one partition and my home folder on another. There is one other thing, though. Updating the Duplicate in RE took about an hour on my ibook. With SuperDuper it takes about ten minutes.

    Hope this helps.