6 Replies Latest reply: Feb 10, 2011 11:05 AM by winkletron
phasmatrope Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Hello, I am in the process of backing up my MBP for a hardware issue (faulty optical drive). Initially, I had borrowed a friend's (partially-used) drive for this purpose (to save $ buying an extra one), and copied every file & folder I could over to it. However, when the question arose of whether I'd successfully copied all my Preference files, every Bookmark, etc, I just took someone's advice on here & used Carbon Copy Cloner to back it up to a brand new drive (first because it was safer & I wasn't imposing on my friend, 2nd because I didn't want there to be any risk that I'd write over their files while using it to backup to... but if that's not a huge risk, let me know).

Question is, besides the obvious advantages (that it does so automatically), what IS the difference between a backup created using Time Machine, and Carbon Copy Cloner?

I think I'll use Time Machine next time, I just wasn't sure if it'd do the same job. Let me know which you use, and recommend.

Also, is there ANY way to configure Time Machine so it doesn't backup EVERY hour? Just seems that that's a bit gratuitous/will likely wear out the life of my drives more quickly.

Plus with any laptop, there's the issue of how likely/user-friendly it is that you'll be plugged into your external backup drive EVERY hour... hmmm.

MBP 2.53 Intel Core, 4GB mem., Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Matt Clifton Level 7 Level 7 (29,740 points)
    TM and CCC are totally different animals.

    CCC (although it has other options) is best if you need a FAST, one-off, EXACT duplicate of all files on your system, creating a fully bootable clone. So yes, if you need to do hardware repair, it's an ideal method.

    TM works best as an ongoing, always-connected backup system which, as you say, by default (there are third party ways to change this - see TimeMachineEditor, or the FAQ in the 10.6 - Time Machine forum) backs up changed files once per hour. No, it won't "wear out" your drives, but honestly, wouldn't you rather lose one hour of work due to a drive crash than 5 hours? TM is SLOW - backing up an entire disk can take many hours. You can't boot from a TM backup.

    TM can be configured to use a Time Capsule (Apple would prefer that you pay them for a network backup drive, of course!), or there are third-party network drives which are also compatible. So you don't have to keep a drive attached to your laptop.

  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (18,765 points)
    If you google for something like "Time Machine scheduler" or "Changing Time Machine backup schedule" you will find instructions for altering the default TM scheduled backups. I have mine set for every 8 hours, as I simply don't need it hourly. Also, if your machine is not connected at the time, TM will simply pick right up where it left off the next time it is connected.

    Along with my TM backup, I do keep a CCC clone on a bus-powered portable hard drive. It is nice to have a bootable clone of your machine, for repairs and such as mentioned. But, it also means, if your main machine is down for service, and you have access to a backup machine, you can effectively boot right into your own system while you get your main machine repaired.
  • phasmatrope Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    OK, sounds like I did the right thing then, backing up with CCC.

    However, if either of you know--since this seemed to be a question with both programs--if the drive you're backing up to (at least in the case of CCC) needs to be devoted SOLELY to that backup, let me know... because needless to say, I didn't want it on my conscience to have accidentally backed-up over something my friend had on the same drive.

    So, that's one of the main features of a network drive, eh? Backing up/reading from remotely? They caught my eye when I was at the ol' Fry's to grab this one (which I know sounds like a rube move... so if you guys have any other retailers--I hear OWC.com is good--I'm all ears), but mostly seemed to emphasize the benefits of streaming media to your HDTV from...
  • Matt Clifton Level 7 Level 7 (29,740 points)
    Ideally, for both, you'd dedicate a drive, or at least a partition, to the backup. TM will coexist with other files and folders. I don't remember if CCC requires that you erase the drive before doing a complete clone - I've always done so, to keep things clean, but I believe there is an option to not erase the destination. Don't forget if you don't wipe a destination drive, and you need to restore a clone back to a system drive, you'll clone EVERYTHING back - so it may not be a great idea to have a lot of extraneous stuff.

    When you're looking at network drives, make sure they offer TM compatibility. Some will work, some won't. I'm using a Synology NAS. Works well so far, though I haven't yet had to restore an entire system.

  • Michael Black Level 6 Level 6 (18,765 points)
    I always like to have at least some kind of backup on a dedicated drive. Since the point is disaster recovery, it just makes sense to me to limit the use of the backup drive to just backing up. It's not just a matter of isolating chances for hardware failure, but also limiting the chances of logic errors or corruption on the drive messing up the whole disc.

    My TM drive (a 1 TB external firewire 800 drive) is partitioned to allow for the TM backups, and a weekly SuperDuper Clone of everything. I also have two external, bus powered firewire 800 drives (both exactly the same size as my MBP's hard drive) which get cloned to on alternate weeks since one is kept at home, the other in my office at work. Really important things also get burned to DVD. Call me paranoid, but, despite hardware failure (including a few hard disc sudden deaths) I've never lost a single file from equipment problems.

    If you do plan to use the TM drive for other uses, partitioning makes sense to me as it keeps your TM backup database isolated from other file areas and makes the setup cleaner to work with.
  • winkletron Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I have TM connected to a 1TB USB Seagate drive and also use CCC on a separate 1TB drive connected to my airport extreme. TM does not work with the airport (so that you have to buy the TC I guess) but CCC will recognize it and you can do periodic disk image incremental backups. I set the drive as a user login item under system prefs...CCC can't find it otherwise automatically once your computer reboots. My airport extreme is in another room but I'd really like to mount it in a firesafe box somehow. Redundancy is key, DVD backups and in the cloud to boot.