Monday, August 28, 2017

Carbon Copy Cloner 5

Mike Bombich:

I introduced CCC to the world over 15 years ago. With the debut of CCC 5 within reach, I thought it would be neat to see how CCC has changed over the years.

Carbon Copy Cloner 5 costs $40, with upgrades discounted 50%.

What’s new (tweet):

Create a bootable clone of your hard drive, but also keep copies of your recently deleted and changed files — just in case. SafetyNet is smarter than ever: if you run out of space during a backup, CCC can free up space automatically and resume your backup.

This should fix my number one annoyance with previous versions, which was that a backup would run for a long time and eventually fail because the SafetyNet made it run out of space. You had to guess up-front how much space you’d need, and CCC would prune the SafetyNet before starting the backup. Guess too low, and the backup would fail in the middle of the night. In the morning, you’d have to free up some space and try again. Guess too high, and you’d waste time pruning files that didn’t need to be pruned, and also lose access to those versions, which you actually did have room to keep. It sounds like this new “Auto adjust” option will do the right thing automatically, pruning just enough old versions so that the backup will complete. And it should provide certainty that when you start a backup it will definitely succeed—important if you need to depart on a trip or update the OS.

Excluding a folder or two from a backup task has always been trivial with CCC, and now it’s even easier to precisely define what should and should not be backed up. You can also now visualize the effects of custom filter rules, and now CCC will report how much data is going to be backed up.


The setup procedure for backing up to a remote Macintosh has been greatly simplified. SafetyNet pruning is now available for remote Mac destinations, and CCC can now show you the content of a remote Mac source.


Have you ever worried that your backup might fail when you need it? CCC has you covered. CCC can run a special monthly or weekly corruption check to identify damaged files in your backup – and automatically replace them.

The checksumming feature was there before, but you had to manually turn it on and off if you didn’t want to verify the backup every time. Now, CCC can manage the verification schedule for you.

There are lots of other new “task” features like this, which are designed around the idea that CCC is managing and scheduling your backups. This is a nice idea, but it doesn’t really work for me in practice. I need to keep track of backups made by a variety of apps (Arq, CCC, SuperDuper, and Time Machine) on multiple Macs. Most of the backup drives are not attached, so CCC cannot initiate a backup on its own, anyway. And for each backup, I need to keep track of where it is, what it contains (e.g. “last 10.11.x clone” rather than just the date of the backup), when it was started, when the media and contents were last verified, problems encountered, and rotation information. So I end up managing all this with a text file and OmniFocus, and I have a CCC task for each type of backup rather than for each backup disk.

The bundled ccc command line application allows pros to incorporate CCC backup tasks into larger and more complex workflows. Pre- and postflight scripts bring that same level of customization into existing CCC task workflows. Task and individual task filters can be imported and exported, allowing you to manage exclusion lists across tasks and to duplicate tasks to other Macs.

All backup products should provide this last feature, in a way that works across different home folder paths.

See also: Everything you need to know about Carbon Copy Cloner and APFS.

Previously: Pondering the Conversion From HFS+ to APFS.

Update (2017-08-30): Bombich informs me that CCC checksums the resource fork and extended attributes in addition to the data fork.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Late to the party!

A few years back, even as I was largely moving away from Apple computers, I still paid for an upgrade or two of Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC). I didn't need support for newer versions of OS X, hence could have happily relied on those older versions of CCC on my few pieces of remaining legacy Mac hardware, but I felt this software had been such an important part of my workflow in the past to warrant supporting Mike Bombich and his team.

I've also used Time Machine, SuperDuper, and ChronoSync (hate it, pretty good, and pretty good respectively) on the Mac, and CCC was just the right mix for my home office setup over those options (network backups, incremental backups, doesn't require a Mac server for network backups, full clones too, scheduling, etc. CCC has a great mix of features).

In fact, I patterned my own custom rsync script on Linux to largely mirror the way CCC does incremental backups over the network to a server. Until I hammered out that little bit of magic (still a total novice to the *nix shell, even after all these years of OS X and Linux), I was heart broken over losing access to Carbon Copy was the one major stumbling block when switching to Linux from the Mac. That says a lot given the plethora of excellent Mac software on the market, this site's author included of course.

Seriously, reliable, easy to use, well supported backup was that important to me. Still is and every current Mac user that I support gets the same earful..."If you are serious about backup, Time Machine alone doesn't cut it."

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