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Summary:

I have a confession to make. I’m back-up challenged. See, I backup my system like a good boy, and generally run it about every 2 weeks. But I never really understand exactly what my backup tool – SuperDuper! – is doing based on whichever settings I […]

I have a confession to make. I’m back-up challenged. See, I backup my system like a good boy, and generally run it about every 2 weeks. But I never really understand exactly what my backup tool – SuperDuper! – is doing based on whichever settings I use from week to week. The result is different drives, with several copies of the same things, but from different dates. It’s just a mess.

I know there’s a better way to perform my backups, but I’d like to better understand what I’m doing with the tool first. I imagine there’s plenty of others out there who aren’t quite sure the best approach to this as well, so how about helping us out?

I’d love to hear some explanation – in small words that someone like me can follow – about the main backup options that SuperDuper! offers. Like the Backup and Sandbox choices. Also, how do you use the ‘During Copy’ options? And especially the Advanced Options which I’ve never even played with. What scripts do you use there?

Typically I like to provide the insight on cool stuff like this, but I’m not afraid to ask those who may know more than I do. (You’d be surprised how often that is….) I look forward to your responses!

EDIT: I know Raheel wrote about SuperDuper! here on TAB, recently, but I want to hear from you on your setups and explanation of the features. Thanks.

By Nick Santilli

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  1. I’ve done my research, and am in no way claiming any expertise, but I’ve educated myself the best I can when it comes to this.

    My setup:
    17″ MacBook Pro
    300GB HDD in a USB MiniStack v1 (Horrible, ill explain in a bit)
    Drive formatted GUID HFS+ (1 partition)
    SuperDuper Entire Drive Smart Copy

    Result:
    I can boot my MBP from either the internal drive or the backup drive, and with the backup drive, it boots into OSX just as if it were in the state at which I last backed up. (VERY COOL). I can therefore SuperDuper the backup drive back to the original from the SuperDuper boot, if my internal needed to be formatted (did it, and it worked like a charm!)

    Problems:
    First, I ran into the fact that theres something wrong with the MiniStack hardware. I talked to the company, and at first i was given an RMA, but was eventally told it was just incompatible with OSX (!!!!). Yes. I cannot format it as a GUID, or for that matter HFS+ on Apple Partition Map, nor FAT32 through disk utility. I just get the spinning beach ball. Now for the weird part!! I can boot into Windows on the same Mac (bootcamp and parallels, now just parallels running bootcamp…sweet!). It CAN format it in FAT32, HFS+ (using MacDrive), AND EVEN GUID using Vista!!!!) So theres obviously something wrong with this drive, as i also brought the enclosure to my university’s mac lab and tried on multiple computers (iMacs, G4s, Mac Pros, etc) I would NOT recommend it. Finally, i pulled out my 4 year old $20 ebay enclosure that i keep for emergencies and it worked fine. I was able to format only 1 partition mind you, if i formatted to FAT 32, then to GUID HFS+. Finally I put it in the MiniStack and it was working. Only problem is that I am backing up my 70GB Mac partition (30 GB for windows…thanks to FSX taking up 15GB!!) to a 300GB DRIVE!! The only reason im not throwing this ministack into an incenerator and flushing its ashes down the toilet is beacuse it looks so sweet on my desk! It was also a steal in the refurb section on their website (ok im a bit stubborn, but i got it to work).

    Summary:
    So now, i plan to get a better enclosure, a smaller drive, or one that i can partition for storage space, and for backups. I highly recommend SuperDuper. I was able to communicate easily with customer support at all hours of the night and weekends, as well as their product is great. Its saved me, and will save you in the future. I back up every night, and with incremental back up, it takes a mere 15 minutes, and shuts itself off along with the drive. Its done by the time i get out of the shower! I know my data isnt being stored for the long run (if my dorm caught on fire due to all the overloaded circuts in my room (we have a home built DVR with an high def LCD flat panel on a double redundant UPS system as well as a networked 15 year old projector to watch on our 12 foot wall :-)…PS the ladies dont think its anything special, and we never actually end up watching anything on it, but it does keep our common room clean (no one goes in front of the projector)). Anyway, then id lose all my data. I’d rather have a second drive to keep offsite, but id definately use SuperDuper on both!

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  2. I always have a second internal drive on my MacPro (and my old G4 before that) and an external FireWire drive which are SuperDuper clones. Periodically I do a complete erase and backup to create bootable copies. Usually that occurs just before major OS updates. In between complete wipes, I use the Smart Update to make both my backups identical to my primary system. I’ll use the Smart Update daily when creating new files or adding new software. While this strategy is nearly the most rudimentary available with SuperDuper,I’ve never lost data.

    Recently I introduced a friend to SuperDuper. He has a new Intel iMac with both Mac and a BootCamp Windows partition. To my amazement, SuperDuper copied his drive faithfully to an external FireWire hard drive and both the backup Mac and Windows systems were bootable!

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  3. My systems (I have two that use Super Duper). Both are Mac G-5 towers (one single core and one double core) with external LaCie drives on them. Each and every day at 5:00 pm they both go into back up mode automatically. They do a smart backup to the external drives making them both bootable and then shuts down my design machine (dual core) and leaves my other Mac (that I use for e-mail and web browsing) up and running. At the most I can only lose one day of work.

    Once each week, I move projects I am finished with to an Archive folder and back these up to DVD. I make two DVDs and keep one in my office for easy access and one at a public storage shed I maintain for business. If my computer crashes I never lose more than one day of work (I once had to pay DriveSavers $2,000 to resurrect a 100 megabyte drive) and my archival backups are always in two places just in case my office has a fire or theft.

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  4. Here’s my setup:
    Step 1: The first thing I did was copy my macintosh hd to my external firewire drive using SuperDuper!.

    Step 2: The next thing I did was I smart updated my firewire drive from macintosh. This would make my firewire drive exactly the same as my macintosh drive.

    Step 3: Repeat step 2 every X period, where X=days, months

    That simple, and it works for me.

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  5. very best idea make rules time!…

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  6. Welles,

    When you say
    “To my amazement, SuperDuper copied his drive faithfully to an external FireWire hard drive and both the backup Mac and Windows systems were bootable!”
    what settings were exactly used?
    SuperDuper (running under MacOS) can only write back on a FAT 32 partition.
    Did you replace the original partition on the Mac by the one (backed-up) on the external disk? Weren’t any files missed?
    Was the Windows OS (still) stable?
    SuperDuper support say their program is only made for backing up HFS+ partitions…

    Interested hearing from you.

    Cheers,

    He has a new Intel iMac with both Mac and a BootCamp Windows partition.

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