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Carbon Copy Cloner: Image Copy Your Hard Drive

Carbon Copy Cloner: Image Copy Your Hard Drive

Apple’s Time Machine is a fairly good backup choice with both ease of use and fairly decent power and flexibility to do the necessary operations. But what if you migrate or upgrade to a new system? A fresh install followed by restoring whichever apps you deemed necessary to follow you on the new system. There may be problems forcing you to reinstall some apps. Maybe you forgot something. Plus, restoring files is a very time consuming process.

A far more simple and safe solution would be to clone the entire system on the new one, by creating an image identical to your own data on the HDD. Here’s where Carbon Copy Cloner comes into play.

Even if it is Shareware, the “demo version” isn’t limited in any way, shape or form. You can even use it for as long as you want, with full functionality.

But how to do the cloning process?

As for any backup, a new hard drive should be pointed as destination. However Carbon Copy Cloner recommends an external hard drive: just plug it in, make the copy and plug it back in to restore data. The external hard drive can be kept in a safe place if you choose to restore your system to its initial state anytime later.

After you plug in the new device, start the “Disk Utility” application on your MAC. Partition the newly inserted hard drive with a partition to be roughly the same as the disk you are going to backup, and add a few GB extra, just to be safe. Remember to always buy a backup drive that is at least equal to the source you already have. Now be sure you format it “Mac OS Extended (Journaled)”.

Carbon Copy Cloner can be downloaded from the developer’s website: Once installed and started, specify the “Source Disk” and the “Target Disk” as indicated above, and make sure to click the “Delete items that don’t exist on the source” check box. Interestingly enough, CCC shows detailed information for each process under the “What is going to happen” section, below your options.

Click the “Clone” button, and continue after reading the warning. The cloning process is now started, and will take roughly two to four hours, depending on your hard drive’s speed, size and other factors.

Once this process is finished, this disk is also bootable, just as your original operating system was. You can start your computer from this external device, by holding down the Option key while the system boots up, and choosing the external USB boot option. Just be patient, external devices can be slower than internal ones…

For more details on this whole process, be sure to read the documentation under the Help menu. CCC can even be used to schedule regular backups, on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.

Restoring your OS from backup when all else fails

If your system has become corrupted, repeat the procedure above to boot your system from your USB external drive. From the CCC choose “Source Disk” your external USB hard drive, and your “Target Disk” the original hard drive. Careful though as once you start restoring, any data will be reverted to the time you last made the backup of your disk.

Restore should be faster than initial backup, and after everything is finished, everything should be working normally again.

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