Easy Backup with SuperDuper

A couple of months ago, my 300GB external hard drive decided to bite the dust without a proper 30-day warning. I considered myself lucky since I have copied most of my family iMovie videos and photos to DVD discs prior to the incident. However, I still lost a good deal of files that I wish I have backed them up. This is not the first time I lost data due to hard drive failure, so why did I not learned from my previous experience? The short answer: backup is too time-consuming and painful to do. Right after the incident, I purchased a WD MyBook external hard drive with 500GB in capacity and a copy of Intego’s Personal Backup X4 (PBX4). However, PBX4 seems to cause me more troubles than solving my backup problem. You can read about my PBX4 experience here. Based on recommendations from other Mac users, I downloaded SuperDuper and after a couple of weeks of usage, I decided to register for it–a $31 ($28 + tax) well spent.

Pros:

  • Painlessly clone your hard drive
  • Cloned drives are bootable
  • Registered version allows for smart backup, which I will discuss later
  • Easy scheduling for unattended backup

Cons:

  • Does not backup to CD/DVD
  • Does not backup from a FAT32 volume
  • SuperDuper in itself not a complete backup plan

The first thing I noticed about SuperDuper is how simple the interface is. To get started, I went through the following steps:

  1. Choose a source drive
  2. Choose a destination drive
  3. Choose the “Backup – all files” pre-defined script
  4. Click “Copy Now”

After confirming my intention, SuperDuper was on its way copying files away. A word of warning: By default, SuperDuper will erase the destination drive before copying, so be sure to move those files you want to keep off this drive prior to the cloning process. The initial copy will take a while to finish due to the amount of data SuperDuper must copy. Subsequently, the copy process will take much shorter time, thank to the Smart Update feature. With Smart Update, SuperDuper only copy those files that have been created or modified since the last backup. This save significant amount of time.

To fine tune the copy process, you can click the “Options” button. One of my most used customization option is choosing between “Erase then copy” or Smart Update. As the name implies, “Erase then copy” means SuperDuper will first erase the destination drive (yes, all files), then copy. The Options screen also allow advanced user to run scripts before and after the copy process. For a normal user, choosing Smart Update will be enough. The Options screen also tell SuperDuper what to do after copying (nothing, quit the application, restart from the destination, set the destination drive as the boot drive, or shutdown/sleep the computer).

From the Options, the user can also tell SuperDuper what to do upon completion such as restart from the destination drive, or simply quit SuperDuper. The Advanced tab allows even more fine-tuning options such as the ability to run scripts before and/or after copying.

Overall, I like SuperDuper for its ease of use, yet powerful backup features. I highly recommend this software for every Mac users.

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