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Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by dburanich, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. I'm somewhat of a newbie to Mac having purchased my first MBP this week.
    I bought an absolutely immaculate machine from a Café member.
    So far so good.
    Big learning curve to go through compared to windows.
    I purchased a 4TB USB drive to use with Time Machine.
    Is TM the best option?
    Does TM make full backups, incremental, both or is there a way to choose?
    I do not intend to have the backup drive connected all the time.
    Only when backing up.
  2. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    Time machine initially wil backup everything, then it will only back up new items. I've had a computer die, and TM worked perfectly to back up and restore all programs and data in a new HD in the computer.
  3. I have read that as the backup drive gets full it will delete the oldest backup.
    Does that mean it will create another full backup to replace the first one?
    I currently use Macrium Reflect on my Windows machines and I am just in the habit of only making full backups every time.
    It's a personal preference for me.
    I have used a different backup program that did incremental backups and if one of the incrementals got corrupted for whatever reason the entire restore was aborted.
    Doesn't sound like this will be an option with TM.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  4. Congrats, Dave, on your new-to-you MacBook Pro! I think you will be really happy with it once you've learned your way around the Mac and the way the OS works, etc. I think you'll find that much of it is quite intuitive, actually. If you have other Apple devices such as the iPhone or an iPad, you'll be pleased at how everything works together, too.

    I have never used Time Machine, and one reason is what you mention, that as the drive gets full, TM deletes the oldest backup, which to me is disconcerting because I might still need and want whatever was on there! I don't really know if TM creates another full backup to replace the earlier one, but I believe it continues to be simply incremental, building upon whatever is there at the time.

    Since I'm retired and have plenty of time I prefer to handle my backups manually, and that way I have full control over what's backed up, when and where it is. I also figure that since for me the important part is to have backups of my folders and files, I plug in an external drive and then copy them right from my Desktop, Documents, Movies, Music, Pictures, etc. My internal drive on my "workhorse machine" is 512 SSD, which is significantly smaller than the 1 TB "platter" HD that was in the iMac that this machine replaced back in 2015. At that time I realized that I was going to have to do some serious housecleaning or find a way to hang on to folders and files without necessarily keeping them right on the computer itself.

    Over time I developed a system where around the first of each month (or if I've made significant changes) I first back up what's accumulated on the computer within a given month -- full backups on larger 5 TB external drives -- and then I pull off anything that really isn't necessary to keep on the computer but that I don't want to simply delete, and include those files and folders on smaller, but faster Samsung SSD 2 TB drives which I term "supplementary files." Again, everything is arranged the same way, anything which was new in Documents, Movies, Music, Pictures, etc., is tossed into those respective categories. This is incremental, so that now I have significantly larger picture category, music category, movies, etc., on those Supplemental drives. Any time I need a particular file or folder it's easy enough to quickly plug in the SSD and retrieve whatever it is I need. When I fill up one of the actual larger Back Up drives I then purchase a new one and start filling it up, too, with monthly backups of what's actually on the computer plus what's on the supplemental drives. It's more than redundant but at least I can feel pretty confident that I am not going to lose anything! I also stash one full backup drive in my safe deposit box at the bank, too, swapping out each month.

    I found that it's definitely advantageous to have those supplementary folders and files handy, and it certainly makes setting up a new machine go much more quickly and smoothly since one is only putting in essential files and folders rather than dumping everything in there.

    One of these days I am going to also experiment with doing the cloning thing using Carbon Copy Cloner or one of those programs so that I'll also have a bootable backup in the event I might need that at some point.
  5. Connie,
    Thank you for your feedback.
    There are a few users on the Café that use Super Duper.
    I'm still researching it but right now I'm thinking two different backup drives.
    One for Time Machine and one for Super Duper if my research takes me in that direction.
    I have been reading a lot of good things about Carbon Copy and I haven't ruled it out yet.
    I think I'm giving Super Duper the advantage right now based on what users on the Café have said about it.
  6. Super Duper -- that's the name i couldn't recall! Yes, I think that's the one that most people here and also on MacRumors prefer, actually, and probably the one I would choose when I get to that point. I'll need to buy yet another external drive first, though, to add to my collection! LOL!

    Yes, absolutely it is a good idea to have at least two different drives and two different backup systems or setups. Redundancy is important when there are valuable and irreplaceable files and/or images at stake.
  7. From what I've read Super Duper creates an image backup and Time Machine creates a file by file backup.
    I'm still trying to find out the cost of Super Duper after the trial period.
    I haven't found that yet.
  8. Thank you Walter
    A lot of good information in there.
  9. Info about SuperDuper, including the price, can be found at the website:


    It costs $27.95.
  10. Thanks Connie.
    Don't know how I missed it.
    I'm reading Super Duper's user manual and they seem to suggest using a firewire external disk.
    I don't have a firewire port.
    I'm still reading so I'll let you know if that changes.
  11. I think the FW recommendation (requirement) is for older Macs (i.e., the ones on the PPC platform) prior to the arrival of the Intel-platform-based Macs. I believe that now with the Intel-based Macs and a fairly current version of the OS one can use a USB port and create a bootable disk. Someone who is more familiar with this can probably provide additional information.

    Right, current Macs do not have FW ports and instead have Thunderbolt. The newest ones have USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports while the earlier generation (2015 and prior) have USB- A (USB 3) ports plus Thunderbolt 2. Apple does make a FW-to-USB 3 or FW-to-Thunderbolt adapter, though. I had older external drives which were FW-only and a couple years ago had to use an adapter to retrieve older folders and files off them and onto more current drives and/or to my computer which doesn't have a FW port either.
  12. Yes I'll be glad when some of the Super Duper experts chime in.
    In reading their manual it looks like the options are

    1. Erase backup then copy files from Mac
    2. Smart backup

    Making me think it will not save multiple complete backups on one external drive. It wants to erase them.
  13. Yeah, we need some SuperDuper experts here!
  14. I found out some interesting information about Time Machine.
    I always thought that it did incremental backups meaning it needed all of the backups in order to do a restore as some of them might be minimal in size. If a minimal one got corrupted your backup was trash.
    Seems that with TM on your second backup it only retrieves the changes from your last backup but it then combines them with your last backup creating a new file. If you first backup was 20 GB and you made 1 MB in changes since your last backup the size of your second backup would be 20GB + 1 MB.
    So if you have 10 TM backups and delete 9 of them, if you have a failure the 10th backup remaining has all of the information you need.
    I'm beginning to change my mind about Time Machine.
  15. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    The technical name for that is a differential backup. Safer than incremental, less safe than full.
  16. Thanks Richard.
    Connie we now have an expert IMO on board.
    I value Richards recommendations dearly.
    He has never steered me wrong.
    Richard, is that indeed how Time Machine runs.
    If so, I am not nearly as concerned.
    That would work just fine for me.
  17. Right now I'm confused..... Guess I need to do some reading on "differential backups"! This is the first I've heard that term......
  18. tenplanescrashing


    Oct 15, 2008
    Back when I had a desktop, I had an external hooked up that did TM backups regularly. It was never disconnected and that's where I find TM to be beneficial.

    Now on a laptop, i've used CCC and SD and now prefer super duper. I have 1 drive larger than the 2 internal drives and do incremental backups regularly. One drive is handy, one drive goes in a fireproof box.

    Since getting a laptop, I haven't considered TM anymore. However, I have considered things like CrashPlan as it's offsite.
  19. Walter


    Jan 13, 2006
    Columbia, Maryland
    Walter Rowe
    Differential Backups capture everything since the last FULL backup.
    Incremental Backups capture everything since the last INCREMENTAL backup.

    Different backups take longer to back up, but reduce the restore time.
    Increment backups take less time to back up, but increase the restore time.
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