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.