How To Backup your Mac

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If you wish to make a backup of your system before messing up with OS X, here are some tips for backuping your system

What's the problem of making a backup with the simple finder?
If you only copy the files from your home directory to your external drive/partition, you are to encounter some errors such as permission issues and invisible folders. With the next method, you are to be able to back up your system without having to face this type of errors.

Easy backup

Before doing any backup, run Disk Utility - Disk First Aid, and verify/repair your hard-drive(s). If any problems are found, may be best to use 3rd party software "Disk Warrior"

Option A. For doing full backups, the "SuperDuper!" (super duplicator) software, was found in tests to be only app that correctly copied all MetaData, even compared to apple's own ditto (used by CCC below). The "shareware" version will do a complete bootable cloning to drive or image file: "Heroic System Reovery for mere mortals" It is well documented, but you won't need the help: just run it, select Source, Dest, and hit "Copy" button.

Option B. Tradiitionally,the best and easiest option to backup your complete HDD to another partition or external device is by an app called [ Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC)

With CCC you can completeley clone your HDD. When you finishes copying succesfully, CCC then, by default, makes your destination drive/partition bootable (if destination was a drive instead of an image file).

What you need:

 - Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later (well actually you need Mac OS X 10.4.6 to use bootcamp)
 - Administrator privileges

Cloning your HDD with CCC

  1. Download and mount the CCC disk image
  2. Run the CCC app
  3. Select your destination (Your current Mac OS X drive) Usually Macintosh HD
  4. Select your target It can be your iPod, another external drive or partition
    The target should NOT be an image file on external FAT32 drive, since the file will be bigger than the 2-4gig max file size. If an external Firewire drive, best bet is to create a MacOS partition as big as your boot parition, and use that.
    (The osX /Applications/Utilities/"Disk Utility" can create on an external drive 2 partitions: one Mac (HFS ) and one FAT32 (MS-DOS). You might want to FAT32 part(s) less than 32gig.
  5. Remove folders that you don't want to copy You can remove a folder by selecting it and hitting the erasing button
    If you wish to make a complete and bootable clonation of your home directory don't remove any folder
  6. Click the lock and enter your administrative password
  7. Hit the clone button and start your cloning

Option C.

Making a backup with Terminal

1.- Go to Applications>Utilities>Terminal

We are to use the Ditto command with the -rsrcFork flag that's installed natively with OS X
The Ditto command is used as follows:

 sudo ditto -rsrcFork [Source path] [Destination path]

Ex: If you want to backup ONLY your Applications folder, you can use the Ditto command to do it. Example:

 sudo ditto -rsrcFork /Applications/ /Volumes/MyiPod/Backup/Applications

If you want to backup all your entire HDD you can type

 sudo ditto -rsrcFork /Volumes/Macintosh HD/ /Volumes/MyiPod/

Note: You won't get any progress bar or any sign that the copy is in progress, if you close the terminal window the process is cancelled and you'll have to start over again.

Unless you run it in a screen session:

 sudo ditto -resrcFork [Source path] [Destination Path]

Then type ^A ^X to detach the screen, or just close the terminal window. It will continue running, and you can re-attach the screen by typing "screen -x" at any command line (assuming that is the only screen you are running). screen comes with OS X by default, but you may learn more about it at the gnu screen project page