Forum Question: Using Time Machine As Exclusive Backup

Gary, I am using a MacBook Pro, mid 2011 model. I have a Time Machine and it regularly backs up. I have rarely used it to restore any documents and never used it as a complete backup. I expect to upgrade to Mountain Lion in a while (after the first rush to the Apple servers). In preparation, I have made sure I am up-to-date with apps and have done a Carbon Copy Cloner backup. This leads to my query. I am now faced with upgrading CCC (I previously made a donation and may get it for free) and would do so. However, in reality, I am uncertain of the process for using CCC and have some concerns over the need to use the terminal for various fixes when things don’t go right. For example I read of some problems with the Time Machine after using CCC. Quote: “If you clone a volume that you backup with Time Machine, its UUID will change and Time Machine will no longer be able to make backups of it.” The fix involves using the terminal with some sort of text to correct the Time Machine process. I am too much of a novice to mess around like this. Bottom line question: Is it reasonable to use a Time Machine backup exclusively or better to have a “plan B” with a clone copy?
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Mike Wheless

Comments: 8 Responses to “Using Time Machine As Exclusive Backup”

    7/27/12 @ 8:58 am

    I believe this means that if you lose your hard drive, and then use your CCC clone to replace it, then you’ll need to start your TM backups from scratch because the clone you’ve replaced your original drive with is recognized as a different drive than your original.
    So this situation won’t come up unless you lose your original drive. In which case you pat yourself on the back for having not one, but two backups of it. And most likely restore to a new drive from your TM backup. The CCC clone would be your secondary line of defense in case your TM backup fails for some reason.
    No reason to ever use those Terminal commands. They are for someone that restores the CCC clone, then wishes to resume using the old TM backup without starting fresh. So I’d imagine a tech repair person who uses CCC to clone a drive in order to replace it (replace a 1TB drive with a 2TB drive, for instance) would be the one to use those commands, not someone like us.
    For most people a single backup is fine. I have a TM backup and a second one too (now I do it online with CrashPlan, but I used to do exactly what you are doing). Two are better, and you’re already doing it, so why not continue?

      Simon
      7/27/12 @ 9:45 am

      Whats the difference between using CCC & Time Machine for backing up purposes?

        7/27/12 @ 10:46 am

        I happen to have a video on exactly that:
        http://macmost.com/time-machine-versus-cloning.html

          Simon
          7/27/12 @ 1:35 pm

          Excellent, thanks alot. I’ll have look tomorrow as the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics is nearly starting :)

          Tony Mitchell
          2/14/13 @ 3:06 am

          Hi Gary,
          Thanks for your advice and information.
          I began using a Time Capsule to use for my Time Machine backup and performed the first full backup of my MacBook Pro on 8th December, 2012. Subsequently, I had a weekly backup on the Time Capsule on 15th December. I have just noticed that the 8th December backup has completely gone, leaving the 15th December backup as my ‘initial backup’. Do you know why this would happen? I’m concerned that the 15th Dec backup is useless to restore from.

            2/14/13 @ 6:23 am

            That’s not how Time Machine works. It keeps the most recent version of every file. Then multiple copies of files you have changed, going back in time. There isn’t a “December 15th” backup vs. a “December 8th” backup. December 15th would only consist of files that would have changed after December 8. Together they would make a complete backup.
            But you can’t see this in the way you are suggesting. I’m not sure what you are looking at to draw the assumption that there are “two” backups on your drive. But if a file hasn’t changed it would only show a “current” backup since the file is current. If you have changed it, then you would see multiple copies in the Time Machine interface.
            See http://macmost.com/time-machine-versus-cloning.html for an explanation.
            Also: Why weekly backups? Time Machine works best if you let it work normally, which would be hourly backups. I strongly recommend that you use Time Machine normally and let it back up hourly.

    Michael Wheless
    7/27/12 @ 4:57 pm

    Thanks for making clear the main points. I will continue the way I’m going now.

    Peter Nachtwey
    8/15/12 @ 9:09 pm

    I use time machine with an external USB drive. I recently upgraded to Mountain Lion by doing a clean install by first making a USB boot drive. Then I used the Migration Assistant to restore my setting. No problems. However, the first time it wouldn’t restore my user account with the same name so it created another user account. I didn’t like this because I had an account name and accountname1. So I used the command line to delete all the accounts. I made a admin account and then use migration assistant to restore my account with the original name. The point is that Time Machine and Migration Assistant work well for restoring user data after upgrading or simply doing a clean install.

    However, just to be safe I use the Disk Utility to make a back up just in case. I use the Disk Utility because it is the most basic and first backup system one has access to after reinstalling OS X.

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