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You probably know this already but for others who may not, Carbon Copy Cloner provides a similar, though less automatic, capability via its SafetyNet option. (And all kinds of automation and scheduling options are available for custom configuration.)
This is why you really need to think about the business purpose of backups. Incremental backups have been available for decades, but, until Time Machine, I was unwilling to recommend any computer to 'less technical' users. With the advent of Time Machine, I was confident enough to help a 70-year-old retired dancer get her first MacBook. Many years later, she is still using it with no problems not related to DSL/etc. provider changes.

If you just need to recover from 'fat fingers', Time Machine is ever so much simpler (both to teach and to use) and has been available for a long time (in computer years). SafetyNet is relatively new and, although it is the default for new CCC installations, still requires modest ability at the keyboard for best results.

One important consideration is how to keep spouse, family, and government happy, especially with personal and tax documents and pictures/videos. Losing those decorated cookie pictures can be a major offense. Losing documents can have health and financial implications. These are the kind of considerations that compel the use of off-site backups along with local Time Machine backup(s). Adding additional incremental saving, such as CCC SafetyNet certainly adds additional confidence in recovery, but will never be as simple as "plug in the matching connector from the Time Machine box" instructions to the 'non-technical' user.

From the view of the technical support person, there is no such thing as enough backups. Or, as Calvin Carson says, "There are two kinds of people: Those who have lost data and those who will."
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... Incremental backups have been available for decades, but, until Time Machine, I was unwilling to recommend any computer to 'less technical' users. With the advent of Time Machine, I was confident enough to help a 70-year-old retired dancer get her first MacBook...
I agree with your points but we should probably note that Time Machine can fail silently, too, such that precious files are not recoverable, which has happened to quite a few people in the past. Obviously, any Time Machine drive failure could cause this, but Time Machine also had had software bugs, and we no longer have the great Pondini working to help manage all those problems. And, of course, Time Machine, by design, deletes older backups when it needs space.
 


Time Machine, by design, deletes the oldest backups when it needs space.
As I've mentioned any time this subject comes up, the Time Machine failure that drove me away was, apparently, a failure to prune old files, leaving a Time Machine connected volume that silently failed, because it was full, though its gee whiz view back through time created the impression all was good. No error message, interface worked... backup didn't.
We no longer have the great Pondini...
Thanks for that reminder of one of the great members of the "Mac Community" who helped Apple marketing say "it just works" with a straight face.
James Lewis Pond Obituary Guest Book said:
James Lewis Pond | 1943 - 2013
2018 and James is still helping Mac users! I clicked on his name at the bottom of a beautifully written (and surprisingly current) description of Mac's time machine, hoping to thank him for offering up such great information, and was linked to this guest book. An odd thing about the internet, people who are no longer with us here on earth, still remain. Thanks James; I appreciate your contribution.
James Pond (via Baligu Blog) said:
 


AlVarnell said:
In my experience (and that of many other users I work with), High Sierra was a big improvement over Sierra...
Where did you see improvements, specifically?
One critical one for some folks was that High Sierra finally fixed the timed task scheduling problem that existed throughout the Sierra series and kept Time Machine and similar things from being reliable. Howard Oakley has covered this extensively....
 


I agree with your points but we should probably note that Time Machine can fail silently, too, such that precious files are not recoverable, which has happened to quite a few people in the past.
Oh, my, yes! This happened to me a couple of years ago, when a friend whose web site I hosted on a local server I maintained needed a restore, and I found that Time Machine hadn't been making backups for months. Time Machine's technical operation and U.I. are works of minor genius, but its utter lack of failure reporting renders it virtually useless as a backup program...to me anyway.

After this disaster I migrated to QRecall and have never looked back. It's not nearly as user-friendly as Time Machine, and can't be used to (easily) migrate a user account to another machine, but it's the only backup program I know of whose default operation includes a periodic backup integrity check, so you'll get an alert if there's every anything amiss from scheduling problems to a potentially damaged backup archive.
 


I have recently discovered that Prosoft Engineering Data Back Up (Version 4 in this case, not to mention Version 3), has stopped working on my Macs.

The latest install was on a macOS Sierra system, which used to work fine, and the only difference I can surmise, the only change to the system, might be a firmware update or something that may have occurred in the interim since original install.

Any thoughts?

It seems odd that this software would simply stop working, with no significant change in system environment, conflicting apps or such, even if such incompatibilities still exist on macOS. (It's not like Sierra is Mac OS 9.)
 


I have recently discovered that Prosoft Engineering Data Back Up (Version 4 in this case, not to mention Version 3), has stopped working on my Macs. The latest install was on a macOS Sierra system, which used to work fine, and the only difference I can surmise, the only change to the system, might be a firmware update or something that may have occurred in the interim since original install. Any thoughts? It seems odd that this software would simply stop working, with no significant change in system environment, conflicting apps or such, even if such incompatibilities still exist on macOS. (It's not like Sierra is Mac OS 9.)
I've had this happen a few times before, and the solution is to reinstall the software.
 


I've had this happen a few times before, and the solution is to reinstall the software.
Tried this a few times — perhaps one or two times, the application will open and can be configured, but the backup will fail. And then, on further attempts, the application will hang at the "connecting to Executor" initial start up... thus, no functional panes, no ability to even uninstall through the app. Manual un-installs, per technical support, have not cleared whatever the system conflict is. Perhaps these log extracts clue in to the issue:
• . Got exception connecting to Execytir java.rmi.ConnectException: Connection refused to host:
• Thread.run(Thread.java:748)
Caused by: java.net.ConnectException: Operation timed out (Connection timed out)
By the way, I was able to get Data Backup 3 to install and run on a small test. I am hoping to get a successful back up of a large chunk of data on my next attempt.

According to Prosoft, Data Backup 3 is not compatible with macOS 10 Sierra, and 4.03 is (well, so far, not so much).

The main reason I am using software to back up files is that Mac OS Finder drag&drop method just is not working for moving files to a network server, and I have had, previously, better results when using a backup application to manage/handle the back up.

Finder will stall on the first inclination of an error; backup applications, in my experience, can slog past a glitch and complete a backup, while logging any errors for reference.

Perhaps time to scrap Prosoft's app, to move to shareware: Carbon Copy Cloner, perhaps?
 




Have you contacted Prosoft regarding your current problem with version 4?
Definitely, and just in the last couple of days.
• I was given a list of all the pertinent visible and invisible files to delete to prepare a reinstall,​
• reminded that any query re: version 3 is a moot point,​
• ironically, sent a link to the exe file for the application version 4,​
• subsequently sent a beta v 4.04 link for Mac,​
• informed that there are no "developers equipped to review the logs",​
• not to mention that I was advised that DriveGenius will soon have back-up features ... point being, not exactly the feedback I was hoping for, for this particular situation... my sense is there is some more simple solution just yet to be revealed...?​

Time to proceed to a more Mac-friendly solution.
;-)
 


Tried this a few times — perhaps one or two times, the application will open and can be configured, but the backup will fail. And then, on further attempts, the application will hang at the "connecting to Executor" initial start up... thus, no functional panes, no ability to even uninstall through the app. Manual un-installs, per technical support, have not cleared whatever the system conflict is. Perhaps these log extracts clue in to the issue:
Code:
• Got exception connecting to Execytir java.rmi.ConnectException: Connection refused to host:
• Thread.run(Thread.java:748) Caused by: java.net.ConnectException: Operation timed out (Connection timed out)
According to Prosoft, Data Backup 3 is not compatible with macOS 10 Sierra, and 4.03 is (well, so far, not so much).
I am running Prosoft Data Backup v4.0.3 on Sierra 10.12.6 at this moment, and it works fine. I'm not an expert at decoding log file diagnostics but I'll take a guess here...

Is Executor running? It is launched at startup via a System LaunchDaemon:
/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.prosofteng.databackup.executor.plist

This is usually what gets messed up on my system and resolved by re-installing.
 



I am running ProSoft Data Backup v4.0.3 on Sierra 10.12.6 at this moment, and it works fine. I'm not an expert at decoding log file diagnostics but I'll take a guess here...
Is Executor running? It is launched at startup via a System LaunchDaemon:
/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.prosofteng.databackup.executor.plist
This is usually what gets messed up on my system and resolved by re-installing.
That plist file does exist, and Executor runs by virtue, I suppose, of the Version 3 re-install. I took a shot at the Version 3 install because two tries at the Version 4 reinstall did not fare well. If Version 3 starts being troublesome, I will add the launch daemon file as one to include in a manual uninstall.
 


Prosoft Data Backup is no longer under development and has limited support. So says their web page:
Thanks. I actually thought that was the case and went to that page before I posted my earlier comment, but when I went to the page, I closed it before it finished loading. Safari started pegging both cores on my laptop, which it seems to like to do now and then. I guess that's a subject for a whole different thread!
 


Carbon Copy Cloner isn't shareware, but I can recommend it highly and use it heavily. SuperDuper is also good and even cheaper (if Carbon Copy Cloner's modest cost is an issue). There are other good options, as well, including ChronoSync.
I have used Carbon Copy Cloner for years and have had excellent results. I just delete Prosoft apps from my computer because of their going to the subscription model, and, quite frankly, the tools that Drive Genius has are not as necessary, as file/disk maintenance is not a big issue for me anymore.
 


Sounds worth a try with Carbon Copy Cloner, since Prosoft software has its own issues and questionable future.

As somewhat of a follow up, or perhaps this is a digression, or perhaps a complaint:

My whole kerfuffle over backup apps could have been easily avoided if macOS Finder (via simple drag and drop) had the ability to move files to my network music server without bombing out over what appear to be minor anomalies, or unnecessary "permissions" glitches.

Backup applications seem to be able to handle these (fake-news) glitches with aplomb and simply log the blip and proceed to complete a transfer of files.

Ironically, Finder has no problem transferring files from the network server to external hard drives or back onto a Mac.
 


Another vote for Carbon Copy Cloner. I've used it for 3 years; one of the top 5 most bulletproof apps I've ever encountered. Well worth the modest cost.

Also, I just started using the automated (i.e., scheduled) backup feature last weekend. Extremely simple, and works beautifully; the documentation provided on bombich.com got me going within 10 minutes.

Side note: I tested CCC's automated backup support because I have an elderly family member who is no longer able to handle the basic maintenance of his Mac -- including backups. I'd considered Time Machine, but experiences reported by several friends who use it (or used it) convinced me that there would be too many situations/notifications that would confuse said family member.

CCC, on the other hand, handles things very quietly (unless there's an error), and provides some setup options to keep the backup from interfering with my relative's work.
 



I use both Carbon Copy Cloner and ChronoSync. I like both of them. They are what I think Mac OS software should always be: they just work, they are well maintained, and you do not have to get them from the App Store.

I generally use CCC for whole drive backups. I run ChronoSync for specific tasks. I have backup tasks set up for backing up my main image folder to three drives, one for backing up desktop images to Dropbox, one to backup new desktop images to my other internal drives, etc. You add any tasks you set up to a group so that the whole group of tasks can be run. It’s as simple or as complex as you want it to be.

Whenever I have added images, or have processed or edited them, I run my ChronoSync image backup. I run a backup of my iTunes folder if I add something to my iTunes library. And so forth.
 


I use both Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) and Time Machine.
CCC is best if one has to restore the whole drive. Time Machine's frequent incremental backups make it good for retrieving recent files.

Also, if one backup is good, two are better. In these days of cheap external hard drives, I dedicate one to CCC and one to Time Machine. That way, if my main hard drive goes, I still have my backups, including a bootable one on CCC. I used that for a while when the drive on my old iMac failed and I was waiting for a new iMac.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I use both Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) and Time Machine.
CCC is best if one has to restore the whole drive. Time Machine's frequent incremental backups make it good for retrieving recent files. Also, if one backup is good, two are better....
I agree, and here's a system that has worked well for me, for what it's worth, in case it's helpful to anyone else:
  • Keep 25%+ free space on main drive (SSD).
  • Attach two backup drives directly to computer USB 3 ports. At least one is an SSD for rapid recovery.
  • Backup drives are each double the size of the main drive.
  • Each backup drive is split into two volumes, one for CCC and one for Time Machine.
  • Backup drives are certified before first use (using SoftRAID). I also check them periodically for SMART errors (which requires installing the SAT SMART driver).
  • CCC SafetyNet is enabled. I periodically enable Find and replace corrupted files to double-check operations.
  • Drives are rotated weekly (and before any travel, major updates, etc.)
  • I do manual backups several times per day and after any significant amount of work.
    • Carbon Copy Cloner is run manually, using tasks in the Task bar and checking completion status.
    • Time Machine is in my menu bar, and I also manually invoke it with the "Back Up Now" menu item whenever I've done a bunch of work.
  • I keep logs/folders to track drive certification and status, backup changes and issues (e.g. Time Machine deletions for space).
  • I keep CCC volumes dismounted while not actively being used as a backup target. (Ransomware hasn't hit Macs too hard yet, but it's a huge issue on other platforms.)
This probably all started when I had a GCC HyperDrive that died with the notorious hard drive seek mechanism failure. I've been pretty hard-core about backing up ever since. :-)
 


Another vote for Carbon Copy Cloner. I've used it for 3 years; one of the top 5 most bulletproof apps I've ever encountered. Well worth the modest cost.
Also, I just started using the automated (i.e., scheduled) backup feature last weekend. Extremely simple, and works beautifully; the documentation provided on bombich.com got me going within 10 minutes.
Side note: I tested CCC's automated backup support because I have an elderly family member who is no longer able to handle the basic maintenance of his Mac -- including backups. I'd considered Time Machine, but experiences reported by several friends who use it (or used it) convinced me that there would be too many situations/notifications that would confuse said family member.
CCC, on the other hand, handles things very quietly (unless there's an error), and provides some setup options to keep the backup from interfering with my relative's work.
For my server, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to back up a variety of drives to other hard disks in two Thunderbolt Akitio 4 enclosures. Some drives are spinning, and some are SSDs. I have used the automatic part of CCC to make these backups a few hours after midnight each day. The auto backups have worked flawlessly for years.

Another thing that CCC can do is back up to a disk image file. Thus, one can have a number of disk image files (one for each server client machine, for example) on a single, large shared hard disk. I do those manually, but I suspect one can do this automatically, too. Because the files on a client machine do not change very often, and CCC is only backing up changed files, client machine backups do not take very long, even over my ethernet system. And I do not back up the client machines very often, since restoring a client machine is not nearly as hard as restoring the main server, as nothing on the client machines should be non-replaceable - everything important is on the server.

None of these backup systems precludes having an alternate off site backup.
 



I never turn my iMac off unless I'm traveling. All of my daily-use drives are external SSD, including my boot drive. For local backups I have one huge hard drive and use CCC to schedule incremental backups late at night. Then, I use Arq to schedule incremental backups of that hard drive to Amazon cloud storage, to start a few hours after the usually quick local backups should have finished, so that I have an offsite backup.

When I travel, I turn off my iMac and unplug it, so that it doesn't wakeup to run any backups, and thus leave the system up afterwards. It's not perfect, but it lets me sleep knowing I will have full backups both local and offsite.
 


For my server, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to back up a variety of drives to other hard disks in two Thunderbolt Akitio 4 enclosures. .... Another thing that CCC can do is back up to a disk image file.
I'd like to ask: What is the purpose of backing up to a disk image file as compared to CCC cloning a disk as it normally does? Just curious. I use SuperDuper to clone my main (internal) drive to a portable drive. Is there some benefit to having a disk image file as well?
 


I'd like to ask: What is the purpose of backing up to a disk image file as compared to CCC cloning a disk as it normally does? Just curious. I use SuperDuper to clone my main (internal) drive to a portable drive. Is there some benefit to having a disk image file as well?
Using the backup to a disk image file allows me to backup each client machine to a unique disk image file, all of which reside on one shared 3TB spinning disk on my server. (This is in addition to a CCC clone at the client machine location.)
 


I'd like to ask: What is the purpose of backing up to a disk image file as compared to CCC cloning a disk as it normally does? Just curious. I use SuperDuper to clone my main (internal) drive to a portable drive. Is there some benefit to having a disk image file as well?
I find it useful for Macs that have more than one internal drive, including more than one boot drive. I can back up four or more bootable internal volumes connected to my Mac Pros to one big external drive. I can keep a just-in-case disk image of a volume with an earlier OS, after I have upgraded the OS on that volume. (Of. course I have more than a single backup of these volumes.) With laptops, I don’t always bother with backing up to disk images, but that’s mostly laziness.
 


I'm a very happy camper using Carbon Copy Cloner to back up my clients' and my Macs. It just works.

Is there a good counterpart in the Windows world? Unless I missed something, Windows 10's built-in backup has to be re-setup for each of his backup drives. One option is to use the Windows 7 backup.

With CCC, I can set up the client, and showing them how to clone to each drive is easy.
 


Is there a good counterpart in the Windows world? Unless I missed something, Windows 10's built-in backup has to be re-setup for each of his backup drives. One option is to use the Windows 7 backup.
Not really. Ever since Norton/Symantec Ghost changed from a personal disk-cloning utility to an enterprise-class tool for imaging fleets of computers, there hasn't been any convenient utility for this.

Microsoft has the (deprecated) system image tool, but the result isn't a bootable clone. You need to boot a Windows recovery disk in order to restore from the image.

The only disk cloning tool I know about that can work for the Windows world is Clonezilla, and it can't clone a running system. You need to boot from a live image (CD or USB drive) and clone the drive from there.
 



Thanks, but I should have been more clear. Only the user's home folder needs to be backed up, not the drive, and no need for a bootable clone. I'm mostly concerned with all the settings in the user's hidden folders.
Ah. For this, on Windows or Linux, I would look at something that puts a friendly GUI over an rsync utility. Once upon a time, I regularly used GRsync for this, but that was a long time ago so I can't honestly claim to have had any experience with the current version.

FWIW, CCC appears to have began life as such a wrapper as well, although it has grown far beyond those roots today.
 



Thanks, but I should have been more clear. Only the user's home folder needs to be backed up, not the drive, and no need for a bootable clone. I'm mostly concerned with all the settings in the user's hidden folders. CCC does this superbly.
I use Casper for whole-disk, bootable backups. For user directories and individual folders, I use the Windows tool, robocopy. It is script-based, but it is not very hard to use. For critical machines, I have used both to different volumes (remote and local).
 


I see lots of comments regarding backup strategies. I would be curious to read comments regarding, in your experiences, how the various options handle errors, as I am still curious as to why Finder cannot handle simple drag&drop method of bulk quantity... why, in my experience, so far anyway, Finder can copy from a network server without errors, but copying to a network server (in my case, Linux-based hardware, I believe) has been so problematic for me.

I rarely use programmed or scheduled back-ups; I generally back up specific files, or folders of files,, manually.

I don't quite understand why dragging a boat-load of files shouldn't simply copy to a chosen destination....
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I see lots of comments regarding backup strategies. I would be curious to read comments regarding, in your experiences, how the various options handle errors, as I am still curious as to why Finder cannot handle simple drag&drop method of bulk quantity... why, in my experience, so far anyway, Finder can copy from a network server without errors, but copying to a network server (in my case, Linux-based hardware, I believe) has been so problematic for me.
To answer a few of your questions...

Carbon Copy Cloner has robust recovery and continuation when encountering errors — SuperDuper doesn't; it just stops when it encounters a problem.

The Finder, in general, is, um "poor" in many ways ("ftff"). One alternative is Path Finder from Cocoatech, which I use myself (Version 7, in my case). You can try it free for 30 days and see if it works for you.

ChronoSync might do just what you need.

Rsync is a nice option if you're comfortable with the command line; it's included free of charge in macOS and other Unix-based systems (and is used by Carbon Copy Cloner).

Lastly, I wonder if you might just be hitting some permission issues with the folders you're trying to copy files to. It might be worth investigating that.
 


I see lots of comments regarding backup strategies. I would be curious to read comments regarding, in your experiences, how the various options handle errors, as I am still curious as to why Finder cannot handle simple drag&drop method of bulk quantity... why, in my experience, so far anyway, Finder can copy from a network server without errors, but copying to a network server (in my case, Linux-based hardware, I believe) has been so problematic for me.
I rarely use programmed or scheduled back-ups; I generally back up specific files, or folders of files,, manually.
I don't quite understand why dragging a boat-load of files shouldn't simply copy to a chosen destination....
Hello, John. When I do bulk transfers from one hard drive to another, I use Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) for the operation. It doesn't choke. Just select the bulk folder(s) from the original hard drive in CCC to be copied. Just make sure the new hard drive has nothing on it. Hope this helps.
 


A client of mine heard about GoodSync on a photography site. Even though she already has Carbon Copy Cloner, she bought GoodSync and is reluctant to stop using it. Any experiences with it?
 


KJM

A client of mine heard about GoodSync on a photography site. Even though she already has Carbon Copy Cloner, she bought GoodSync and is reluctant to stop using it. Any experiences with it?
When I recently switched to an SSD in my spare Mac, I used a complete Carbon Copy Cloner clone, but this clone had several issues when I used it as the new startup disk in my Mac. Several system processes did not run as expected. So I erased the SSD, installed a fresh Mojave system, and migrated my data from a backup.

Now that the Mac is working well, I am using GoodSync to synchronize some essential folders on two mid-2012 MacBook Pros via a Thunderbolt 2 cable.
  • It is quite easy to set up sync sets (for backup or sync),
  • GoodSync can show and access invisible folders (in case you want to sync folders in your user library),
  • GoodSync is wonderfully transparent in analyzing the data sets and synchronizing them,
  • In case of sync conflicts, you can decide how to solve the conflict e.g. by changing the sync direction,
  • and last, but not least: GoodSync is blazingly fast.
 


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