Stop cloning your hard drive as a backup

“Many people still use cloning as a method of backing up a Mac,” MacMost writes.

“However, this method is not nearly as useful or robust as a standard Time Machine backup,” MacMost writes. “Files you may think are safely backed up to a clone can actually be completely missing.”

MacMost writes, “If you use a clone as a secondary backup, better solutions exist such as online backups, cloud storage, or simply a second Time Machine backup.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yup.


  1. To me the obvious answer is to clone my main drive twice a month and also use Time Machine.

    I only do the bi-monthly for the exact reason he says, in case a file is deleted.

    I use Time Machine for all the obvious reasons and would be happy with it had I not lost at least 5 Time Machine backups since it was introduced. Had to reformat the hard drive and completely start over each time.

    And of course the off-site backup is another obvious piece of the plan.

  2. time machine has failed our org so many times. its poorly designed.
    we use carbon copy cloner doing nightlys on all important systems with safety net turned on.

    you can’t boot from time machine if you need to immediately recover from hard drive failure.

    we also use crashplan.

    don’t even get me started on how bad time machine “server” is for multiple users..

    – signed a professional mac systems administrator.

  3. Sorry, but my Mac use since the 512k Mac has shown lots of failures of TM backups (once TM was released) to the point I will never use it again.

    Ditto for Retrospect & it’s proprietary format.

    I’ve never had a CarbonnCopyCloner failure to copy & be able to copy a needed file or clone back a disk … ever.

    The first secret to long lived cloned data is simple: A new (cheap now) 1-2 TB hard drive partitioned into chunks a bit bigger than you drive to be backed up. That means you are not likely to have drive or sector failure on a drive that won’t be used much.

    The 2nd secret for my use is just that, a 2nd partition on my Mac that is a clone updated yesterday w/CCC that only takes typically 3-5 minutes. This is my insurance against accidental deletion, bad changes or corruption (which happens maybe once a year.).

    Third, a mobile SSD makes sure I can keep a clone of my boot partition separate from my laptop when on the move.

    I don’t use online backups now, but may do so in the future. I’m sure they can be good if done right, but don’t expect them to offer an insurance payout if you data disappears, so … local distributed backup clones are still needed.

    No I don’t travel foreign, and that is an entirely new subject.

  4. This guy is full of it. He says “the days of people needing a bootable backup are gone”. Bull! I know a lot of people, myself included, who have been rescued by being able to boot from their backup.
    Also, Carbon Copy Cloner has the option to archive deleted files, which the “expert” failed to mention.
    I regularly do two backups… one Time Machine, and one CCC, and I will continue doing this. They both have their pros and cons. But I have had more trouble with TM. Two different times it told me it could not back up to the drive it had been using. Nothing wrong with the drive. Backups were still there. But I had to erase the drive and start a new TM backup from scratch. Now, that’s only twice since TM came out, so not a terrible record. But nothing like that ever happened with CCC.

  5. Hmmm… his “problem” with cloning stems from thinking you are probably stupid. Looks and sounds like your typical know-it-all millennial.

    Provided it’s a good app, cloning software can be set up to only clone altered files and leave unaltered files alone… meaning it won’t erase a file that’s been deleted from your source drive. That would happen only if you’re doing a complete clone of your source drive.

  6. Been happy with ARQ backup with AmazonDrive for an online encrypted backup.

    Super Duper is a great cloning product.

    For syncing between multiple computers ChronoSync is tough to beat.

  7. Carbon Copy Cloner. Works great. Plug in a 512GB SSD to the USB3 port with a SataIII-to-USB3 adapter (cheap).

    Clones my MacBook to a bootable, external SSD in 10 – 15 minutes. In combination with Time Machine, never had a problem.

  8. Just another stupid and unimformed hit piece.

    This guy does NOT know what he is taking about.
    Data clone for me for many MANY years have been completely reliable.
    Time Machine backups have failed my three times when I needed them the most.
    Never had any issues with software data cloning.

    Bad advice from this piece.
    DO NOT believe OR follow this advice.

  9. Small business setup:
    TM has failed me several times, I strongly recommend something else be your primary backup.
    1. daily CCC or SuperDuper physical bootable clone (my LLC insurance policy requires a physical backup)
    2. TM: convenient for issues that occur during the day
    3. offsite physical clone drive (done weekly, again insurance dictated).

  10. We still have a quad core i7 Mac Mini in use. 16 GB RAM with both a 1 TB SSD and a 1 TB HDD internal. Once a week there is a “Carbon Copy Clone” of the SSD placed on the HDD. There is also an external Time Machine backup. If either fails, we have the other one – plus the files that are in the cloud. We are not worried about the files.

  11. Nope. Time machine is unreliable. Cloning with incremental nightly backup is the way to go, but you should be doing this with 2 or 3 rotating externals. Using time machine as your backup is ridiculous. Flipping idiotic.

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