Need to make an exact copy of your Mac as a backup, or use to setup a new Mac, or even keep your entire computers OS in your pocket? Carbon Copy Cloner takes everything on your Mac and creates an exact duplicate of it.

Fast backup saves your stuff. Bootable recovery saves your time.

carbon copy cloner mac duplicate

Carbon Copy Cloner

One of the best things about Carbon Copy Cloner is that it copies everything; this means that the backup is a fully operational copy. Meaning you can plug that external hard drive into another Mac, boot into the external drive, load up and run a fully operational version of the OS (Operating System).

This comes in extremely handy if your main computers hard drive crashes, because all you have to do is load up the backup, and your right back at doing whatever it is you do. Once you replace the hard drive, or buy a new computer, you can simply restore the backup onto your new drive/computer.

After the initial backup, it only copies over the new and modified files, ensuring the fastest possible backup speed. Of course it can also be scheduled to automatically backup hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or whenever you plug your backup drive into your computer. Simple, easy to use, and incredibly useful.


So how do I duplicate my Mac?

carbon copy cloner source

Select a source

First you need to have a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner. It is not a free Application, however they do give a free 30 day trial. Open it up once you have it installed (very simple installation).

Now that the difficult part is over, the rest is really simple. In the main window, there are two options to look at. One is the “Source” and the other is “Destination”. It’s pretty straight forward, but I’ll explain anyways. Under “Source”, select the drive that you’d like to clone. Under “Destination”, select where you’d like the clone to be stored. Next click the “Clone” button on the bottom right. A window will slide down showing the progress.

If you have multiple drives that you want to backup / clone, they can all be backed up to the same destination. And since Carbon Copy Cloner maintains the folder structure, you can easily dig into the backup at anytime.


Restoring a Backup

If you didn’t think it could get any simpler, prepare yourself. To restore simply select the clone under “Source”. Next select the drive / folder you want the clone to be restored to under “Destination”. Click “Clone”. Depending on how much data is being restored it could take a while.

Even if it’s a brand new computer or new/formatted drive. All you need to do is restore that backup to it, and it’s done. No setting up the OS again, just boot into the drive and off you go.


Boot from a portable USB disk

You can keep your entire computer in your pocket if you want. After making a backup to a USB flash drive, simply plug it into any Mac and load up your Operating System. To boot into your portable drive:

  1. Plug your OS X boot drive into any Mac
  2. Open System Preferences and select “Startup Disk.”
  3. Select your cloned drive from the list and click “Restart.”

Alternatively, when plug the device into the Mac before you boot the computer up and hold down the “option” key on the Mac. This will bring up a list of the drive connected to the computer, simply select your cloned drive to load it up.


Scheduling Backups

schedule mac backup clone

Schedule Backups

Scheduling regular backups is critical if you want to fully utilize Carbon Copy Cloners amazing backup ability. To setup a schedule click the “Schedule this task” button. From this window you can set it to automatically backup hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or just whenever you plug your backup drive into your computer.

Personally I would have it set to backup on a daily basis. Since it will only backup new or modified files, the backup is usually completed in less than a minute. Carbon Copy Cloner also allows you to modify what happens after the backup is complete. It can put your computer to sleep, shutdown the computer and restart the computer. It allows further customization by allowing your to run a shell script before and after the backup.

If you want to be notified when your backups are successfully completed, you can also have it automatically send you an email once it’s done.


 Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that Carbon Copy Cloner is a very impressive piece of software. I’ve been using Time Machine to keep regular backups of my computer and only installed Carbon Copy Cloner to test it out. I have to admit though, I couldn’t find a single thing I did not like about it. That being said if you’re looking for a great backup solution or an alternative to Time Machine, I highly recommend Carbon Copy Cloner.

Also I had entirely way to much fun creating the featured image in this article.