When was the last time you backed up your hard drive? If you haven’t, start soon. Yank that hard drive from that old computer, stick it in a USb enclosure, and copy your important (or even not important) files over, you don’t need software to do that. Backing up is nice, and is what most people do. But what about your settings, wallpaper, wireless networks, bluetooth devices, and modded boot logos you put on there? When you back up, you only have files and maybe even applications. But to get the rest, you have to do something called cloning. It means exactly what it sounds like: clone your hard drive to a disk image or other hard drive. This means that you can boot off of the clone (only if it is a hard drive) and everything will be there: modded boot up, wireless networks, bluetooth devices, email, apps, wallpaper images, even monitor profiles. and if you have the right tool, cloning is free and as easy as 123. But that’s only if you have an awesome app called Carbon Copy Cloner. This is a REALLY easy to use freeware app for Mac, and is usually referred to as CCC. It really is as easy as 123.
1- Select source hard drive or file(s).
2- Select target hard drive or disk image
3- Click clone!
It will take a little while, and there is even a scheduler. Sadly, if you select the delete files on the target that aren’t on the source selection, you cannot save that as a scheduled task. But I just put a sticky note on my monitor and clone right before I go to sleep, and let it run overnight. My MacBook has a SATA drive, which is really easy because they make USB enclosures for those, and I have a 200GB SATA sitting around. So I have found that it is best like this for me:
1- Source as whole hard drive
2-Target as my 200 GB SATA in a USB enclosure, formatted as the default format for your Mac’s hard drive (for the Leopard computers like mine, Mac OS Extended (Journaled), which I would never change).
If you are running a desktop computer, get a other usb hard drive, or if you have one of the same kinds of hard drives you have in your computer sitting around, find a dock or usb enclosure for it to use as the target.
Now here is why you want the exact same kind of hard drive to clone to: If your computer crashes and you need your data immediately like you are in the middle of a conference call, just plug in and power on your hard drive through USB, and hold the option key while pressing the on button. You will see the hard drive of your computer, then with a USB icon (depending on how you connect your clone, it may vary) there is your backup. Click it/move with the arrow keys to select it and hit enter. Before you know it, you are booting your hard drive as it was when you hit the clone button in CCC at the speed of USB 2.0 which is 480 MBPS. Not the fastest ever, but loads almost as fast as the hard drive plugged in. now you are forgetting that you are running of of a clone. That is if you need your data right then. But if you have a little time, I recommend getting everything back to normal. In your computer, remove the crashed/ruined/wiped/whatever happened as long as it wasn’t destroyed physically drive and put in the backup. Then, put the crashed/ruined/wiped/whatever happened as long as it wasn’t destroyed physically drive in the USB enclosure. Boot from the backup that you put in the computer and open CCC. Then say clone to your original hard drive which is now classified as USB (or however you connected it). Then once it is finished cloning, switch the hard drive again. It will be like nothing ever happened. Now that is something that a backup can’t do. you can’t boot off of a backup, you can only boot off of a clone.
And to tell you the truth, I hated backing up. Backup applications were slow, time machine is a piece of crap (along with iCal: FIX IT APPLE!), and copying manually took to long. Finally, I get a nice interface, cloning, super quick cloning, and best of all, FREE!