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Macintosh Backup Software

Updated on August 27, 2009

Macintosh Backup Software

There are many backup software programs available for your Macintosh computer, but choosing the right one can be a daunting task. When it comes to backing up your computer, not every one has the same needs or requirements. For example, one user may need to backup to removable media such as DVDs while another user may need to backup to an external hard drive. In addition to media types, on site and off site storage are also a consideration one must take into account when devising a good backup scheme. And of course, any time we are talking about software, price is always an issue. In this hub, I will list most of the various backup programs availble on the market today.  The right one for you will be based on your backup needs.

Online Backup Services

One of the benefits of high speed internet, is we now have the option to transfer larger amounts of data off site with out the limitations that older modems had. This has lead to the increased popularity of online backup services to help ensure the safety of your most critical data. I would recommend these services if you are dealing with a reasonable amount of data, they can get rather pricey once you start storing massive amounts of data off site.

  • Mozy - This service offers 2GB for free and unlimited storage for $4.95 a month
  • iDrive - iDrive offers 2GB for free and 150GB for $4.95 a month. They also allow multiple computers on the same account.
  • Carbonite - They offer a 15 day free trial and charge $54.95 a year after that. Carbonite only works with Intel processors.
  • BackJack - This service is more for business users as opposed to single home users. They do have a 15 day free trial where you get 2 accounts with 10GB of storage.
  • MobileMe - MobileMe is an Apple service that not only offers 20GB of online storage, but can also sync your Mac, phone, and PC together. The cost is $99 a year and they offer a 60 day free trial.

I currently use both Mozy and iDrive to store off site copies of my most important files.  For a more in depth look at these two programs, read my hub on Free Macintosh Online Backup Programs.

Inside look at a hard drive.
Inside look at a hard drive.

Macintosh Tape Backup

Backing up to tape is usually not something a home user would need, these programs are more suited for organizations that need to backup large amounts of data. It also provides the ability to keep a copy of your data off site. When researching tape solutions, keep in mind you need to consider the cost of the hardware (tape drive) as well as the capacity and cost of the media (tapes) in addition to the software itself.

  • Retrospect -There was a point in time when this was the only option for tape backups on the Macintosh.  I have been a Retrospect user for years, and given the total cost of a tape backup system, it is not economically feasible for me to test these other systems. This is not to say Retrospect is better than the others, but it has worked for me so far. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Perhaps when I have more time and can deal with the inevitable sales calls that are inevitable, I'll give them a try.  One thing to keep in mind is Adaptec SCSI cards no longer function with Restrospect under OS X. Trust me on this one, to avoid kernel panics, do yourself a favor and buy an ATTO SCSI card.
  • BRU - This is another enterprise level solution for Macintosh tape backup systems. We just recently upgraded our system at work or else I'd give BRU a try.

There is another company that I will not name claiming they have a Macintosh backup solution available. I'm sorry, but when these are the requirements to run the software, it hardly qualifies as a Macintosh solution: "Windows Server® 2003 Standard or Enterprise Edition SP2 or Windows Server 2008® Standard or Enterprise Edition (32- or 64-bit) IIS 6.0 for Windows Server® 2003 or IIS 7.0 for Windows Server® 2008 (32-bit support only) Microsoft® SQL Server® 2000 Standard or Enterprise Edition SP3a or Microsoft® SQL Server® 2005 Standard, Enterprise, Developer, or Workgroup Edition (32- or 64-bit)".

Removable memory
Removable memory

Macintosh Backup Programs

  • Carbon Copy Cloner - Carbon Copy Cloner is another free program (donations are encouraged), but their claim to fame is the ability to create a bootable backup of your drive.
  • Super Duper - This is another great backup program that you can use in limited mode for free. You can purchase the program for $27.95 and unlock the scheduling ability (which in my opinion is essential for backup software).
  • iBackup - Yet another free backup utility.
  • SilverKeeper - This is LaCie's free backup utility that they ship with their external hard drives. You can also download it for free and use it with any non-Lacie drive as well.
  • Deja Vu - This one isn't free, but for $24.95, it's not a bad deal. Deja Vu operates in the System Preferences and gives you plenty of options for full, partial, unattended or manual backups.

This is by no means a complete list of every single program available to backup your Macintosh. It is however a list of programs and services I have personally used and tested (with the exception of BRU). My goal was not to tell you the best program to use, but rather to give you a starting point to find what is best for you.  and remember, when it comes to backing up your data, you can never be too safe.  I would recommend using multiple programs to ensure the safety of your data.


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    • debtfreedude profile image

      debtfreedude 7 years ago from USA

      I use carbon copy cloner and have used superduper. both are great apps.