Forum Question: Create a bootable clone backup drive

I just read something on the web that said you need a firewire external drive to create a bootable backup drive? Is this really true or can you use a USB external drive as well?
Do you have a favorite software to use? SuperDuper, Carbon Copy Cloner, or something else?
Thanks and keep up the great work!

Comments: 2 Responses to “Create a bootable clone backup drive”

    7/11/11 @ 4:03 pm

    You can create a bootable backup drive with USB or Firewire. But using the drive to boot your Mac is a little trickier. Basically it should always work from Firewire, but USB there are exceptions and some issues.
    But consider why you are making a bootable backup. Usually the idea is that if your hard drive breaks, you can boot from a bootable backup and get to work right away. Handy if you are an air traffic controller or some other job where you have to get up and running immediately. Not so handy if you are a creative individual who makes content or produces something.
    Your bootable drive will only have what you were doing up to the time of your last backup to it. So if that was three days ago, then you lose three days of work. On the other hand, a Time Machine backup gets you everything you did from 0-59 minutes ago.
    The difference is that you restore from a Time Machine backup. You don’t boot from it. So you can’t be up and running immediately.
    But if you have a bootable backup on USB, then you only have a temporary solution anyway. You’d boot from USB and then what? You’d be running a system crippled by the fact that your OS, applications and documents were on an external USB drive. It would be painful to work for any period of time. USB is so much slower than internal.
    So I’m not sure what your reason for wanting a bootable backup is, but I don’t find them useful at all.
    See episode 512:
    That said, I do use SuperDuper often to create a secondary backup of my drives. I then store those off-site. It is a good program. And Carbon Copy Cloner is just as good too.

      7/11/11 @ 6:55 pm

      Thanks for the expert advice. I do use Time Machine as my primary method of backup. I was thinking about another backup like you said to store somewhere else. I see what you’re saying about the bootable part not being as important as just perhaps having an additional off-site backup in case of emergency.

      Thanks again!

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