How To Back Up Your Mac [UPDATE x2]

One of the things that I forgot to mention when I wrote this article is how to backup your Mac. That’s a glaring oversight considering I referenced an iMac in the original article. In any case backing up a Mac is dead easy.

First you need an external hard drive. You can choose from the pre-built solutions from companies like Seagate, or you can buy your own 3.5″ hard drive and external enclosure and build your own for less. Alternately, you can use a network attached storage enclosure like the D Link DNS-323 that I mentioned in the original article.

Next you need a backup program. I highly recommend Carbon Copy Cloner by Bombich Software. This easy to use software will not only make backups on demand, but it will also allow you to schedule backups too. Plus, the backups that you make can be fully bootable (meaning in the event of a disaster, you just plug your backup into your Mac and turn the Mac on), or you can make them into image files (handy if you’re wanting to keep different versions of your backups and/or you want to backup to a network attached storage enclosure). The software is shareware and you can donate whatever you feel the software is worth.

At the moment I am backing up my MacBook Pro using Carbon Copy Cloner to an external hard drive that I built using a 250 GB Seagate Barracuda SATA drive and this external enclosure. I’m basically making a bootable disk every time I back up as I like the security of having a bootable disk at hand. But I will eventually move to backing up to my DNS-323 and saving it as an image when I retire my main PC this summer and make my MacBook Pro my main computer.

In closing, I’ll say what I said in the original article again: The most important thing that you can do if you have a computer is to BACK UP YOUR DATA on a regular basis. Don’t assume that your computer will always work and that you won’t have a problem that will cost you your data. That assumption often ends up being wrong.

P.S. I’ve updated the original backup article as the external hard drive mentioned in that article is no longer available from Seagate.

UPDATE: I’ve changed my backup strategy since I wrote this article. I’ve switched from Carbon Copy Cloner To SuperDuper as my backup application as it easily allows me to create a pair of scripts that will back up my computer to a disk image on my D Link DNS-323 automatically. The scripts are designed to do a full backup of my MacBook Pro every Saturday morning at 12AM, and updates that image every other night of the week. The full backup takes about two hours and the updates takes about 30 minutes to do. SuperDuper is $29.95 USD but you can run it’s basic functions in a trial mode. The scripting functions are only available if you pay for it.

UPDATE #2: I’ve since moved back to Carbon Copy Cloner for a variety of reasons that I explain here.

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