SuperDuper is fast becoming everyone’s favorite backup utility. I have been using it on a constant basis for the last few months, and it has definitely earned its place in my must-have apps list. The most impressive feature of SuperDuper is the ease-of-use that is evident […]

SuperDuper is fast becoming everyone’s favorite backup utility. I have been using it on a constant basis for the last few months, and it has definitely earned its place in my must-have apps list.

The most impressive feature of SuperDuper is the ease-of-use that is evident throughout the app – something that is necessary for a backup application. Backing up data is one of the chores that you have to do, but at the same time, would not want to mess up in the slightest – after all it’s your data. And SuperDuper intends to make backing up your data a no-brainer – you always know, in plain English, what’s going on.


The main window is pretty minimal though it does hide quite a bit of tweaking that is available behind the scenes. The destination for the backup could be an internal or external hard drive, a network location, or a disk image. As you can see, I use an external USB drive for my backup.

A backup routine is directed by a script, a set of directions which can be customized. For example, I use my own custom script which, among other things, does not bother to backup my movie folders. The verbose “What’s going to happen?” informs you exactly the steps and the details that will happen next – handy for people like me who always want to make sure that they are not overwriting or erasing important files. Using Options, you can specify what kind of backup you want – a full erase and copy, to copy newer files to destination, to copy different files, or to do a Smart Update. Smart Update is the option you are most likely going to use after you have created an initial backup and want to do only quick backups after that. This makes the destination identical to the source with the minimal effort necessary, sort of like “Erase then transfer” but much quicker.

During the actual backup process, you are again told exactly what’s going on – amount of data analyzed for transfer, how much has been actually backed up, and the backup speed, which is usually quite impressive. After the backup wraps up, you have a choice to let your Mac sleep or shutdown or just quit SuperDuper.

Another nice touch is letting power users run their own shell scripts before and after a backup. These could by anything useful – from deleting your own temp folder before the backup begins, to sending you an email that the backup was done.

A Sandbox is another feature that can prove very useful. It keeps an identical bootable copy of your main drive’s system files which shares all your other data and apps from the main drive. It can be handy in certain scenarios, such as when you want to make a major update to your system. You can always boot from your previous Sandbox, apply the updates there, check if everything is working fine, and then resync the Sandbox to the original system.

SuperDuper comes with a handy scheduler as well.

The only thing it may lack is support for incremental backups where you can go back to different versions of the data you have been backing up in the past – something Leopard’s Time Machine is supposed to take care of. Read up on this topic at ShirtPockect’s blog.

So what is the final verdict? SuperDuper behaves like a first-class Mac application, gives you clear instructions about what’s going to happen at every step, has a very well done manual, has plenty of options to play with if you want to get your hands dirty, and does the whole job with the least intervention. If you have spare $27.95 buy this app.

  1. I’ve been using SuperDuper! for months as my primary backup solution, and I couldn’t be happier. I evaluated several different products before finding that SuperDuper! does exactly what I want! When I find well-written, full-featured software at a good price, I don’t hesitate to purchase it. This is one of those applications, and I rate it 4.9 out of 5. (They’re off by 0.1 just because Smart Backup sometimes is a little inconsistent.)

  2. I am an IT professional, working in a big institution where we manage Po (Petas, yes thousands of Teras…) of data. Backing up is a familiar issue. Last year, for weeks, I have been evaluating all data backup solutions for my pessonal PMG5. SuperDuper came first with no difficulty. Even read a test that showed it was the only backup utility that respected and kept fully all the properties (Unix & OSX) of all the files. I have been using it for months. Incremental backups might be an issue, but I can deal with it. SD is a formidable product.

  3. We’re hooked on it. IMHO, the “Copy Different Files” or “Copy Newer files” seems to function as an incremental backup system.Although this might not have the granularity found in Retrospect, it does work nicely. Most of our folks use the “Copy Different…” option to ensure files don’t migrate out of the backup set. We do this to a network drive, unattended at night. Very nice app!

  4. I’m also looking for a backup solution, for two Macs. Is it possible to backup 2 different computers on one external drive, using Superduper?

  5. The last time I tried, this app didn’t work with USB 2.0 drives, or wasn’t guaranteed to work on them. Has this been changed?

  6. [...] SuperDuper!. This is a great backup application. I bought this a few months back to use with my external hard disk. Easy to use, reliable restores and backup scheduling. Good stuff. Buy it. [...]

  7. I give SuperDuper! 5 out of 5 stars. I use it to back up my iBook G4 and my Intel iMac – complaints? Nada, zilch, none :)! How could it be better? If it were “FREE” *LOL!*

  8. Karsten, as I briefly mentioned above, I use SuperDuper! and an external USB/Firewire 300GB Maxtor drive partitioned in half. I use one partition for my Intel iMac and the other for my iBook G4. So, the answer to your question is yes, you can back up 2 (or more) different computers using SuperDuper!. Keep in mind, PPC will only boot from an external “Firewire” drive. I have heard, but not tested, that Intel Macs will boot from either? Still, I use Firewire on both my Macs to the external Maxtor 300GB drive. The Maxtor is configured for both (USB and Firewire). Hope this helped?

  9. Super Duper is truly a great program! I have been using it for a few months to do three types of backups to the same partitioned drive. It does a great job of maintaining a daily, weekly, and monthly backup all in the background. I was also able to find a coupon code that made it extremely affordable as if it wasn’t already… Five stars for sure!

  10. @GCFiedler: I use SuperDuper with 2 different USB 2.0 harddrives and it works fine.


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