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ew1
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Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Fri Feb 14, 2020 9:57 am

Hi

I'm trying to decide between Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

I'm looking for something that will give me a reliable bootable drive.

Thanks
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fisherking
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:24 pm

time machine does incremental backups every hour, is unobtrusive, and simple. for most macusers, should be enough.

i prefer to mirror my mac, so... no extra files. if i delete something, it's gone forever. for me, that works, always has. for others, they want older files, older versions of things (i DO archive a lot of work; my brain just can't handle everything being saved :mrgreen: ). i use carbon copy cloner for that (and no time machine).

CCC is pretty versatile, and you can clone your drive, so if u ever need to, you can boot from the cloned drive. i never do that, i just back up my work, plugins, etc.

am sure others will chime in as well; am curious myself to see how people back up.
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skijumptoes
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:04 pm

Time machine is set and forget, very easy to setup and integrates well with MacOS - it's never failed for me personally - but it won't create a boot drive as such, it gives you the option of restoring a boot drive to your SSD/HDD via the MacOS recovery options though.

CCC i've only used for complete system snapshots which i do 5-6 times a year manually now, and that does create a bootable drive - you can clone to a second drive.

As long as you have a local backup which you can use for quick rollbacks and an offsite/cloud backup you're golden or most situations. CCC for me is more of a failsafe, and i feel comfortable knowing i have the entire contents stored locally.

If i had entire system failure i'd restore my newest CCC (If i'm busy/lazy i can be 3 months away from my last clone) - which is basically my entire OS and it's apps/settings - and then i would restore data i needed from cloud. But that's mainly because my internet connection would take days to restore everything from scratch. It's data that i'm most precious about.

So yeah, CCC for a true boot disk clone 100% over time machine. But make sure you have at least a local and external backup to be on the safe side, and at least one you want to be incremental for file rollbacks. Things get trickier when you're archiving out to local disks... as they also should techincally be cloned elsewhere too.

Backing up is a pain really, and if you've ever suffered losses before that's cost you time/money then it's easy to become over OCD about it.
 
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:51 pm

i back up after any major work, and regularly once a week. i backup my (external) archive drive as well. CCC is great, simple enough (once you set it up). but time machine is, at least, easy to use, and organizes your backed-up files as well.

either way, backing is always essential; i've heard too many stories of people who've lost work.
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:15 am

I had a powercut that killed my main machine and the local backup which was taking place, literally lost everything overnight and sat in disbelief the next morning thinking it can't be possible! But it was.

Paid to have drive recovered by a specialist, but that didn't recover everything I needed, the files existed but they were corrupted.

For me cloud backups are a blessing, I'm not regimented enough for manual backups and moving local copies to external locations to keep my ass covered, it's the biggest piece of mind out there for my requirements. And best of all it just does its stuff in the background.

The carbon copies are take are just piece of mind, in truth the only time I'd use them is if I migrated to a new hdd Or had to get a system up and running within the hour. Cause they're outdated the minute you take them vs an incremental system.
 
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:46 am

yikes. i use idrive as well; great to have an online backup; plus, you can backup and/or retrieve files if you're travelling... etc.

CCC & idrive work for me 8-)
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Akitru
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:23 am

I use both, with an external SSD drive dedicated to each. I find Time Machine great for quick examination or recovery of an older version of some file, and use CCC for backing up full images to protect against a serious crash (and also to have an external drive that I can use to boot from a different Mac Mini in case of a disaster that keeps the main Mac Mini in a shop for a while).

I also rotate separate periodic CCC backups to physical SSDs kept in an external site (in case the whole place burns down).

Summary: use both, they are each great for their use cases!
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fisherking
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:59 am

Akitru wrote:
I use both, with an external SSD drive dedicated to each. I find Time Machine great for quick examination or recovery of an older version of some file, and use CCC for backing up full images to protect against a serious crash (and also to have an external drive that I can use to boot from a different Mac Mini in case of a disaster that keeps the main Mac Mini in a shop for a while).

I also rotate separate periodic CCC backups to physical SSDs kept in an external site (in case the whole place burns down).

Summary: use both, they are each great for their use cases!


you could replace the external site process with an online backup service... just a suggestion.
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Akitru
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:13 am

fisherking wrote:
you could replace the external site process with an online backup service... just a suggestion.

For security reasons I prefer to limit my use of the cloud for general storage. But I agree it is a good convenient alternative for offsite ('house burned down') if you can get comfortable with the current (and future) data provenance and encyryption.
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facej
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:10 pm

1. Time Machine backups are not bootable
2. Online backup services are not bootable

I use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my boot drive and external drive every night. Once a week I take the backup drive off site and retrieve the other backup drive.

I use Time Machine to create incremental backups as usual, so I have my clone from 0300, and incremental as needed. Never more than a week behind.

Yes, I have had all of my computers and backup drives stolen, so I will not do without a bootable backup off site.

My laptops clone to SSD. My "working Mac" clones to 4TB disks.

Backing up is not at all hard, and certainly shouldn't be "set it and forget it". I spend 45 minutes per week swapping out backup drives including taking drives off-site and putting the "other" drives in service. I listen to a podcast while I am doing it.
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sun Feb 16, 2020 12:59 pm

Akitru wrote:
fisherking wrote:
you could replace the external site process with an online backup service... just a suggestion.

For security reasons I prefer to limit my use of the cloud for general storage. But I agree it is a good convenient alternative for offsite ('house burned down') if you can get comfortable with the current (and future) data provenance and encyryption.


you can use these services selectively, ie backup only what you want; for example, on my imac, i back up my work, logic files, plugins, preset folders, app support, etc. nothing 'personal'.

anyway, has saved me several times (twice while travelling), and for me, that's worth it's weight....
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:01 pm

facej wrote:
1. Time Machine backups are not bootable
2. Online backup services are not bootable

I use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my boot drive and external drive every night. Once a week I take the backup drive off site and retrieve the other backup drive.

I use Time Machine to create incremental backups as usual, so I have my clone from 0300, and incremental as needed. Never more than a week behind.

Yes, I have had all of my computers and backup drives stolen, so I will not do without a bootable backup off site.

My laptops clone to SSD. My "working Mac" clones to 4TB disks.

Backing up is not at all hard, and certainly shouldn't be "set it and forget it". I spend 45 minutes per week swapping out backup drives including taking drives off-site and putting the "other" drives in service. I listen to a podcast while I am doing it.


which is why an online backup is so valuable; it doesn't have to be bootable, you want it to get to, at the very least, your work... just my thoughts, of course.
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:48 am

I prefer and use CCC.
- bootable clone and much more useful as such
- don't need versioning, so less space
- i don't do "transfer data" when i reinstall ever

thinking of also buying Crashplan, to have an additional backup off site
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:58 am

Ploki wrote:
I prefer and use CCC.
- bootable clone and much more useful as such
- don't need versioning, so less space
- i don't do "transfer data" when i reinstall ever

thinking of also buying Crashplan, to have an additional backup off site



crashplan is great; i moved to idrive when CP doubled my yearly rate, but it's a great service (both work, CP is more 'pro')....
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Ploki
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:08 pm

fisherking wrote:

crashplan is great; i moved to idrive when CP doubled my yearly rate, but it's a great service (both work, CP is more 'pro')....


idrive looks good - and basic plan supports two computers on one plan, as opposed to most others, including CP.
Also 5TB option...
neat, thanks
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:32 am

I like Time Machine because it's built-in and always quietly working. Every now and then you glance down at the external hard drive and see that the light is blinking. You can very easily look through past versions of anything that has been backed up. It also backs up other things like Mail. When I finish making an important change to a project, I click on "Back Up Now" and take a short break while Time Machine does its thing. After I back up my iPhone to my computer, I immediately back up the computer.

Carbon Copy Cloner is really a different beast, and its purpose is exactly what its name implies. External hard drives are ridiculously big and cheap now, so yes you can certainly use both. I do think that CCC is a "best of breed" tool for what it does – which is different from what Time Machine does.
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:11 am

MikeRobinson wrote:
I like Time Machine because it's built-in and always quietly working. Every now and then you glance down at the external hard drive and see that the light is blinking. You can very easily look through past versions of anything that has been backed up. It also backs up other things like Mail. When I finish making an important change to a project, I click on "Back Up Now" and take a short break while Time Machine does its thing. After I back up my iPhone to my computer, I immediately back up the computer.

Carbon Copy Cloner is really a different beast, and its purpose is exactly what its name implies. External hard drives are ridiculously big and cheap now, so yes you can certainly use both. I do think that CCC is a "best of breed" tool for what it does – which is different from what Time Machine does.


i use CCC solely for backup; i like the control i have over what gets backed up (i skip the apps, which i'd reinstall in an emergency, yet backup the logic app support folder, for example). also (& i am sure i'm in the minority), i want a mirror of what's on my mac; if i delete something, i don't need it back in the future.

either way, whatever you use... backing up is, as always, essential. i am amazed when someone loses their data, and says they've been 'meaning to back up'. no one should have to say that in 2020 (or 2002, for that matter).
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:39 am

2002 we was still on tape backup, and that was the most unreliable solution ever. You think you've got a week of backups, until you test a restore from one set and they fail, this is despite each one verifying each night. I used to hate it.

Back then a disk clone was a blessing as you could easily test it out on another machine without a tape drive needing to be installed, But also easily forgotten to do it routinely due to the manual process involved.

In fact, changing tapes was a chore in itself when busy. No matter how much you link it to last activity in the day so you don't forget, something usually comes up that drags you away from doing it. Should've trained a dog to do it really and a treat pops out from the dispenser as you eject the tape. :)

This is why i love cloud backups, it notifies you on the desktop and/or email if you're behind on a data set. A Backup is only as good as it is maintained routinely.
 
ew1
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:36 am

Thanks so much for all the replies. I'm a bit unsure of some of the terminology you're using here so I'm going to ask a few more questions if that's ok. I appreciate the help.


skijumptoes wrote:
Time machine is set and forget, very easy to setup and integrates well with MacOS - it's never failed for me personally - but it won't create a boot drive as such, it gives you the option of restoring a boot drive to your SSD/HDD via the MacOS recovery options though.


Whats do you mean by this sentence in bold?



skijumptoes wrote:
So yeah, CCC for a true boot disk clone 100% over time machine. But make sure you have at least a local and external backup to be on the safe side, and at least one you want to be incremental for file rollbacks. Things get trickier when you're archiving out to local disks... as they also should techincally be cloned elsewhere too.



What do you mean by "local backup"?


What do you mean by "external backup"? How is that different to a CCC backup? A CCC backup is external isn't it?


By "incremental for file rollbacks" do you mean a backup system that saves previous versions off all files, allowing you to go back to an older version? If that's what you mean, you're essentially saying even if I choose CCC, I do have to use Time Machine or an equivalent system in addition to CCC. Is that right?
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skijumptoes
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Re: Time Machine vs. Carbon Copy Cloner

Thu Feb 27, 2020 9:58 am

skijumptoes wrote:
it gives you the option of restoring a boot drive to your SSD/HDD via the MacOS recovery options though.

Whats do you mean by this sentence in bold?

If you boot to MacOS recovery (https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT203981), there is an automated process which will install MacOS fresh AND use your time machine to re-populate/restore data and settings. Which effectively gives you a similar end result to restore a CCC snapshot. A CCC restore is far quicker and 1:1 copy though.

skijumptoes wrote:
But make sure you have at least a local and external backup to be on the safe side, and at least one you want to be incremental for file rollbacks

What do you mean by "local backup"?

Backups that are stored in the same physical location as your live data. I.e. if you clone your drive from a computer that sits in an office room, and store that clone in a bedroom you risk data loss if in the event of fire/theft.

Whereas external backups are when you take the clone drive off-site to a new location OR use cloud backups.

By "incremental for file rollbacks" do you mean a backup system that saves previous versions off all files, allowing you to go back to an older version? If that's what you mean, you're essentially saying even if I choose CCC, I do have to use Time Machine or an equivalent system in addition to CCC. Is that right?

That's correct, incremental/time machine style backups means that you can go back each hour for a file for where changes have occured, for example - whereas CCC is a snapshot of the entire system. Cloud backups can be up-to-the-minute as changes occur.