Back Up Your Mac Properly

Back Up Your Mac Properly

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode # 378

As promised, I have a few tips this week to help you make a good backup of your Mac – advice I got for three decades as a troubleshooter, consultant, and author for Mac. I have two waterproof rules and an axiom to make a good backup.

Two lines (and an axiom)

Rule 1: A backup is better than no backup (but not enough).
If you don’t have backups, one is better than none, but if you want to make sure you can restore everything you need to keep living and working, you need at least two full backups.

Rule 2: At least one of your backups must be stored off-site.
If you keep your only backup in the same room (or building) as your Mac, a natural disaster or theft can erase it and give you nothing more.

Axiom: Create a startup clone and update it daily.
The reason it’s an axiom and not a rule is that it only applies if you’re using your Mac to make your daily living and can’t miss it for a while. day or more in the event of a disaster.

In the future, the reason why a backup is not enough is because things are happening. A backup can be damaged, stolen, die from a disk failure or a power failure or some other spell making it unusable.

In addition, at least one backup must be kept off-site, somewhere other than where your Mac is located, just in case.

Time Machine: your first line of defense

I recommend Time Machine as the first line of defense. It comes with your Mac, easy to use and configure, and most importantly, reliable. All you need is an external or solid state hard drive that is larger than your startup disk. And you can connect additional drives to create additional Time Machine backups. Your Mac then takes turns backing up to each disk, like a chest.

Clone if necessary

Since I need my Mac to run, I also manage a clone backup with Carbon Copy Cloner ($ 39.99). Every morning at 2 a.m. it makes a startup clone of my startup disk. So if my startup disk becomes unusable, I can boot from the clone and get back to work in minutes.

Finally, I maintain two offsite backups.

Off-site and from the heart

The first (updated monthly) uses Carbon Copy Cloner with an external USB key stored in my vault.

Second use Backblaze, a commercial cloud-based backup service that I have been using for years. It’s easy to configure and use and has been running smoothly for many years (albeit slower than local backups). I consider unlimited storage for my Mac a bargain at $ 6 a month (or $ 60 a year).

There is one last thing: a backup that does not work is not a backup at all. So my last tip is to regularly test your backups to make sure they contain all the files you expect and that you can restore the files successfully.

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