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Why cloning a Mac hard drive is still relevant?

Updated on October 21, 2014

Cloning Mac

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With the advent of time machine backup, a user may also have become cavalier to make bootable backups of the startup drive. No question, time machine has lowered the risk of data loss from OS X but at times the time machine hard drive may also become a victim of logical or physical corruption. I am afraid at that time, this foolproof backup will just not help. Time Machine backup still aren’t bootable which can be used immediately to boot up a troubled Mac OS X.

Some points that justify cloning a Mac system:

  1. Talking of backup, free cloud services succeeded in diverting our focus to store data online rather than to some other drive. Clouds become instantly popular in storing, syncing and accessing data from OS X and iOS devices. No question, on how Clouds helped share data along all Apple devices such as iPods, iPads and Mac OS X. But, clouds have very little to offer on actual backup of the system. Clouds will not backup any of the system oriented data which is required to run OS X or iOS devices. Cloud services limit themselves to few gbs of free usage and later require fees ($$) to get access to more gbs for storing data. Not to forget, online backup services requires smooth internet connection to upload & download files. Any halt or poor network connection will make the backup job the most painful.
  2. Unexpected events of data loss may occur at any point of time. Even the smartest user on the planet will not expect an unexpected event to arise. Talk of last year OS X 10.9 upgrade hassle and I remember I was on the verge of losing my current OS X due to crashes that occurred while installation. In spite of time machine backup I cared to clone my Mac OS X Mountain Lion drive to another drive (bootable) before 10.9 Installation. My 10.9 bootable usb was at fault which made me stuck in between. I neither went to 10.9 nor could turn back to 10.9. At this point of time, I plugged in OS X Mac clone drive to my Mac and booted into OS X to clean the mess. Thankfully, I upgraded to OS X 10.9 with another bootable USB. I am sure, if I hadn’t the bootable clone copy of my Mac, I would have been searching for Mac data recovery software to extract files from the system. To bring this to user’s note, Mac cloning software is 3 times less costly than any Mac data recovery software.
  3. Older Mac hard drives are at greater risk of failure. Though some times, even a new Mac hard drive could fail due to sudden power outrage, physical damages or manufacturer defects. At any event, a prior backup of the dead drive would be handy and life-saving instead of having nothing. Do not forget, your Mac drive is constantly read/write over thousands of times in a week or so. A good mathematical computation will sum up the disk usage to millions/billions of times in a year. HFS disks can be logically damaged due to minor or major wear/tear to the directory structure of the drive. In such case, disk utility may give up repairing the disk and would recommend to ‘backup as much data as possible’.

How to clone Mac startup drive? Since Disk Utility already mentioned that drive is failing and only option to save data on drive is to backup. So, without wasting any time, use an external hard drive to backup the OS X startup drive. Note: - The external drive used as destination should be equal or large than the source drive.

  • Get Mac drive cloning software and install on Mac OS X.
  • Connect the external hard drive to Mac.
  • From the software interface, navigate to Mac boot drive cloning feature.
  • Select boot drive in source tray and external hard drive in destination tray.
  • Click ‘Start’ button to launch the cloning process of the startup drive.

Once the cloning is done, you can now boot the Mac OS X with its hard drive replica. And yes, a cloned drive can be used to boot a Mac having similar hardware configuration. Though, a cloned drive of Intel Mac won’t be of any use to boot a PowerPC Mac OS X.

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    • Peter Oscars profile image

      Peter Oscars 2 years ago

      If you still lacking Macintosh HD backup then try Stellar Drive Clone software http://goo.gl/Th18PQ to create regular backups of Mac HDD and network drive.

    • profile image

      sarah362 2 years ago

      Ya, its true that Time Machine backups are not successful in case of unexpected events. Using Mac Clone utility is very efficient, which not only clone and restore data but also provide the bootable clone copy.