Mac Backup Software Harmful

April 23rd, 2006

Introduction

burnt computer

Earlier, I wrote about The State of Backup and Cloning Tools under Mac OS X, where I made the point that copying files on Mac OS X is not trivial because of the metadata associated with files:

Paradoxically, copying a file and being sure that all information has been copied is not easy under Mac OS X.

I analyzed a variety of file copying engines, most of them command-line tools, and demonstrated how they fare in preserving file metadata.

In this article, I will investigate commonly used GUI backup/cloning tools for Mac OS X. The tools vary widely with respect to their feature set; the features are irrelevant here. I will concentrate purely on the underlying functionality of copying files. A backup tool needs to be able to copy files faithfully for a successful restore in case desaster has struck. The surprising conclusion of my investigation is that almost all Macintosh Backup tools fail at their most basic task, the faithful copying of files.

Test Setup

I set up a particularly mean set of files and folders, which feature varying BSD flags, file ownership, permissions, resource forks, HFS+ extended attributes, and ACLs. Then I used the tool in question to backup and restore or clone the set of files and folders. The tests were performed on Mac OS X 10.4.6.

Results

All tools investigated manage to copy the file contents, including the resource forks. But when it comes to the file metadata, the performance varies widely, as can be seen in the following results.

Recommendations

Based on the ability to preserve metadata, I gave the following recommendations:

Update 2006-04-23: slightly revamped my recommendation scale.

  • Highly recommended: no perceivable problems with metadata preservation
  • Partially recommended: all metadata preserved except for creation date, which is an issue that plagues all of Apple’s tools (see my earlier explanation), or HFS+ extended attributes or ACLs, or BSD flags. Depending on one’s preferences and usage patterns, these deficiencies might be tolerable at this time. Especially with regard to extended attributes and ACLs, one needs to be careful, though: while some of the tools that do not support HFS+ extended attributes may still be viable at present, they will grow increasingly inappropriate in the future as more and more applications make use of HFS+ extended attributes.
  • Not recommended: Preserves basic metadata such as owner/permissions or modification date, but doesn’t preserve other important bits of metadata.
  • Avoid at all cost: Doesn’t preserve most basic metadata such as owner/permissions or modification date, or appears buggy.

Results Table

Please refer to my earlier article on explanations about the different types of metadata.

Update 2006-04-26: Even though it should already be pretty obvious, an additional word or two: my recommendation is based solely on the metadata preservation capabilities (no other features are judged), and on my perspective that a backup tool should preserve every bit of metadata of every file. There are good reasons to have different preferences; in that case, study the list of each tools’ issues and decide for yourself if you can live with it. I deliberately did not give marks or points, because it is all relative to your preferences and needs. Another point: there are tools that do not explicitly allow the user to authenticate as root; hence, only files accessible by you will be copied, and every copied file will have you as owner. If you only copy files owned by you in the first place, these tools will not do any harm to your data, so you can safely ignore my warning about ownership/root authentication. Also, there may be ugly workarounds for running the tool as root, but this is generally not to be recommended.

ToolVersionIssuesRecommendation
Apple Disk Utility (file-by-file mode) 10.5.5 doesn’t preserve creation date (file-by-file mode) Update 2006-04-27: in addition, doesn’t preserve locked flag, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs in OS X 10.4.6. For device-level cloning mode, see my earlier article. Partially recommended (<OS X 10.4.6), avoid at all cost (OS X 10.4.6)
Carbon Copy Cloner 2.3 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, locked flag, creation date, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs [uses ditto] Not recommended
ChronoSync 3.2.1 doesn’t authenticate (i.e., doesn’t preserve owner, can’t access other users’ files with insufficient permissions), doesn’t preserve nodump,opaque flags, creation dates for folders with uappnd flag set are not preserved, modification dates of folders are not preserved Update 2006-04-26:The vendor has committed to fixing these issues in an upcoming version. Not recommended (see note about upcoming update)
CloneX 2.0.2 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs Partially recommended
Déjà Vu 3.2.1 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs [uses psync] Partially recommended
Impression 3.0 doesn’t unset “ignore ownership” flag on image (Update 2006-04-27: vendor is committed to fixing this issue in the next release), doesn’t preserve BSD flags, locked flag, creation date, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs [uses ditto] Update 2006-05-01:product has been discontinued as of end of April. Update 2007-08-21:I Need Your Software writes in to say that they have resurrected Impression and taken over further development from the original developer. Even better, a forthcoming version 4.0, available around the time Leopard comes out, is announced to fix the metadata issues. Avoid at all cost (see note about upcoming update)
MimMac 1.8 doesn’t preserve owner for locked files, doesn’t preserve BSD flags, ACLs Not recommended
Prosoft Data Backup 2.1.0 doesn’t preserve owner when certain BSD flags set, doesn’t preserve HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs, issues with modification/creation date Not recommended
PsyncX 2.1.1 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs [uses psync] Partially recommended
Retrospect copy mode 6.1.126 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, issues with modification date, doesn’t preserve ACLs Avoid at all cost
Retrospect restore mode 6.1.126 completely clobbers permissions, doesn’t preserve modification date of folders [see footnote a], doesn’t preserve ACLs Avoid at all cost
RSyncX 2.1 issues with some BSD flags, issues when uappnd set on directory, doesn’t preserve HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs [uses rsync_hfs] Not recommended
Silverkeeper 1.1.4 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs Partially recommended
SuperDuper 2.1 perfect preservation of all metadata Highly recommended
Synchronize! Pro X 5.0 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, ACLs Partially recommended
SyncupX 1.5.5 doesn’t preserve owner, permissions, BSD flags, creation date Not recommended
Synk 5.2.1 doesn’t copy .DS_Store, doesn’t preserve owner for locked files, doesn’t preserve BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs Update 2006-04-26: The vendor has committed to fixing all the issues in upcoming versions; the most serious ones have already been fixed in a beta made available to me (see next row). Update 2006-04-28:5.2.2 was released today. Avoid at all cost (see update on upcoming versions and next row)
Synk 5.2.2 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs (private beta, not yet available) Partially recommended
Tri-Backup 4.0.4 doesn’t preserve BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs Partially recommended

[a] Update 2006-04-26: I’ve found this post, which basically says that the clobbering of the folder modification dates is deliberate, and that there’s an obscure “secret option” by which it can be switched off. I consider such a solution not acceptable.

Conclusion

The surprising conclusion is that almost all Macintosh backup or cloning programs do not fulfill their primary purpose, i.e., they are not able to restore files with all associated metadata. This is despite the fact that many of the tools are advertised as “safe”, “accurate”, “bug-free”, etc. The tools that fail are harmful because they generate a false sense of security. Even more exasperating is that many of these tools cost (significant amounts of) money. The only laudable exception is the great SuperDuper application, which performs flawlessly.

I have to remark, though, that the “partiallly recommended” tools may still constitute viable solutions for people who do not use HFS+ extended attributes or ACLs or BSD flags, or do not care if the creation date is lost on backup.

One may speculate about reasons for the devastating failure across the board. Some tools use flawed underlying engines such as ditto (Carbon Copy Cloner) and psync (Déjà Vu, PsyncX), so they inherit their deficiencies. Many other developers seem to try to roll their own proprietary copying/archiving routines, but the results show that this is an extremely bug-prone endeavor. Only Shirt Pocket with SuperDuper has succeeded at this task. I would expect that many of the “custom” engines have even more bugs in corner cases that my tests didn’t cover.

One result that I found extremely surprising is the poor performance of the venerable Retrospect. Basically, the file restore resulted in completely clobbered metadata; file copying was only slightly better. I downloaded the time-limited demo, could it have to do anything with this? Does anybody have any clues why Retrospect performs so badly?

I don’t have a .Mac subscription, so I couldn’t test Apple Backup. I’d be interested in reader feedback on Apple Backup.

Final Recommendation

For backup purposes, use SuperDuper. If you use your own solution based on command-line tools, I’d recommend Apple’s built-in cp command, for the lack of a better solution.

Update 2006-04-26: Because of this, I cannot currently recommend Apple’s asr in file-by-file mode as a cloning alternative, which I otherwise would. asr in device-level mode is still fine, though, and guarantees that all metadata is preserved.

Categories: hacking, macosx

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

350 Comments Add your own

  • 1. coelomic  |  April 24th, 2006 at 07:37

    When I bought SD! a while back, one of the reasons was that it was one of the cheapest utilities around. I am now very happy that my decision was the right one. Another point to note is that the support that comes with SD! in terms of forums, members and support from the author is just unparalleled. This blog and its content is fantastic. Thanks for this writeup.

  • 2. Bloody Fingers » Bl&hellip  |  April 24th, 2006 at 08:51

    [...] A very exhaustive comparison of backup software for Mac, with an emphasis on the preservation of OS X metadata. The clear winner is apparently SuperDuper. [...]

  • 3. ebaranz  |  April 24th, 2006 at 14:13

    Very interesting test and results. I miss only a couple of indicators: (a) which tools are case-sensitive aware? (b) which tools are generating images (if any) whose content is case-sensitive? Of course, I am using HFS+ journaled, case-sensitive filesystems (under Tiger 10.4.6).

  • 4. Gueorgui  |  April 24th, 2006 at 19:18

    How about Personal Backup X4? That works pretty well for most of the criteria you listed.

  • 5. maurits  |  April 24th, 2006 at 19:25

    Gueorgui: Thanks for the pointer. What does “pretty well” mean? have you actually tested it? They don’t seem to offer an evaluation version/demo, so I can’t test them. But I wouldn’t believe them before running a test.

  • 6. Joe Stump  |  April 24th, 2006 at 21:30

    I’ve been using Backup 3 for a while now and I must say it’s pretty nice. Not sure how it relates to the ones listed above though. It also requires a .Mac membership.

  • 7. maurits  |  April 24th, 2006 at 21:35

    Joe: Precisely, that’s the reason why I haven’t tested Apple Backup yet…

  • 8. BubbaGump  |  April 24th, 2006 at 21:43

    Have you evaluated BRU LE from Tolis Group? Could you (they have an eval version)?

    This is very depressing for anyone using tape backups. Apparently Retrospect and BRU are the only tape-aware options available. And it appears Retrospect in it’s current incarnation is worthless — Such a shame, under OS9 Retropect 4.3 was solid.

    BG

  • 9. Niko  |  April 24th, 2006 at 21:46

    I backup two hard drives regularly, my laptop (about 50GB) and my music library drive (over 100GB). I want the backup app to mirror the original files and not save the files in any special format (like Retrospect does).

    Apple Backup 3: it has a nice interface, but there is no way to do a “smart backup” like it’s called in Super Duper. The incremental mode only copies changed files, but doesn’t delete old files from the destination. As you can imagine, the backup disk fills up pretty quickly. Like, on the second backup run. Backup 3 also puts the files inside separate packages for each incremental backup run, breaking the original file structure.

    After struggling through most of the options you’ve listed, I found an app that actually came bundled with my Lacie hard drives: SilverKeeper. It’s an oldish application, it looks ugly and not very reliable, but it’s free (for everyone, not just Lacie disk owners) and works like a charm for me. It copies the changed files, nothing more. I haven’t examined the permissions and such in detail, but I’ve never had any problems with files I’ve brought back from the backup disk.

  • 10. maurits  |  April 24th, 2006 at 21:53

    Niko: I’ve tested Silverkeeper (see above), and it’s OK if you don’t care about the preservation of BSD flags, HFS+ extended attributes, and ACLs.

  • 11. maurits  |  April 24th, 2006 at 21:57

    BubbaGump: Thanks for the pointer. I might include BRU in an update.

  • 12. Vic  |  April 24th, 2006 at 22:31

    Here are a few more backup apps that you might want to consider testing.

    Free apps:

    iBackup http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/17007

    BackitMac http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/21172

    Backuplist + http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/21413

    Commercial Apps

    QuickBack (part of Intech SpeedTools) http://www.speedtools.com/

  • 13. Eric  |  April 24th, 2006 at 22:48

    The problem with a program like SuperDuper is that if a local file becomes corrupt on your hard disk, the next backup will wipe out valid copy in the archives. You’d never even know until you tried to restore it, possibly years later.

    Anybody tried rdiff-backup?

    http://www.nongnu.org/rdiff-backup/

    Command-line only, but looks useful.

  • 14. maurits  |  April 24th, 2006 at 22:58

    Eric: rdiff-backup looks interesting, thanks for pointing this out. They pretend to support resource forks, extended attributes, and ACLs. I’ll add it to my to-do list.

  • 15. Al Davidson  |  April 24th, 2006 at 23:13

    Superduper is a piece of utter crap, I can’t tell you the amount of data I’ve lost using their program.

    I’ve used DejaVu running as a System Preference pane ever since and it’s completely effortless and automatic, even auto-cloning/backup drives/files over a network without even being logged in.

    DejaVu has saved the day multiple times and pales in comparison to the complicated SD.

    The author must be a paid off to write this half-assed evaluation.

  • 16. maurits  |  April 24th, 2006 at 23:27

    Al: it’s a pity that you give no technical reasons for your verdict. BTW, have you been in contact with Shirt Pocket’s support regarding your problems with SuperDuper?

    As for a “complicated UI”, I explicitly do not judge the UI in this review.

    My evaluation is entirely fact-based, you could check it yourself. So there wouldn’t be any reason for paying me off ;-) Apart from that, I’ve paid my copy of SuperDuper.

  • 17. n8  |  April 24th, 2006 at 23:56

    When you get a chance to test, i’d like to see how BRU LE and/or Server stack up. I’ve used it at client sites who use tape autoloaders, and it seems to work well. The CLI and remote management capabilities are handy, too.

    Also, there are a number of higher-end tape-oriented packages from Atempo and Bakbone that are supposed to work well.

    I’ve been interested in some of the OSS offerings, like bacula and dirvish for network backups. I’m not sure how they handle all the metadata, though.

    Thanks for the reviews!

  • 18. Jonathon Delacour  |  April 25th, 2006 at 00:16

    Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to put together such an informative (if somewhat dispiriting) analysis.

    Would there be any chance of testing Tri-BACKUP from Tri-EDRE? A 30-day trial version is available.

  • 19. maurits  |  April 25th, 2006 at 00:22

    Jonathon: boy, good that you mention this. I had already tested Tri-Backup, but somehow the line got lost when I copied the information from my Excel sheet… I’ve updated the post.

  • 20. Thomas McMahon  |  April 25th, 2006 at 00:23

    I was hoping to see iBackup in the list. Maybe you can do a follow-up or round two?

  • 21. maurits  |  April 25th, 2006 at 00:24

    Thomas: yes, at the rate that review suggestions flow in at the moment, I’ll definitely have to do a follow-up.

  • 22. renravd  |  April 25th, 2006 at 00:28

    Al obviously has some strong emotional connection to anything but SuperDuper. SD saved me after my PB hard drive failed. Took minutes to get me back on line with a new drive.

    I have tried plenty of these things as well and if SD’s interface is poor, then what is good. I find it very easy.

    Thanks for the testing. I originally used Tri-backup from Tri-Edre not too long after OS X came out. It seems like it was one of the first backup solutions for OS X. SD way easier and seems more accurate.

  • 23. Sam  |  April 25th, 2006 at 00:54

    15 – Troll post

    Making unsubstantiated statements in contrast to well reasoned and reproducable tests is just bad form. Either regale us with the specifics of SD’s shortcomings, or don’t post at all.

  • 24. e:leaf  |  April 25th, 2006 at 01:49

    Do you know of any resources which do a similar test for command line tools? I use an in-house solution abd would like to be sure that I am using the most effective tool available.

    This is a very interesting study, even if the end result is bad news for Mac users. Perhaps this will drive developers to develop better GUI solutions.

  • 25. wrf3  |  April 25th, 2006 at 02:53

    I use Retrospect all the time in “Duplicate” mode to clone my laptop drive to an external firewire drive. It has always worked, including restoring data.

    Can you detail the methodology you used that caused Retrospect to have such low marks?

  • 26. Steve Nagel  |  April 25th, 2006 at 03:05

    Thanks for the work! I will keep an eye out for any updatings?

  • 27. Chris Howard  |  April 25th, 2006 at 03:57

    Maurits

    I was of the impression that the trial .Mac let you use a limited version of Backup which would at least allow you to do your testing.

    I’ve been fairly happy with Backup and did a massive restore from it three weeks ago after my HDD crashed and have not had any operating problems. Just checking, creation dates have been preserved.

    I did have one corrupt incremental backup with Backup which made the whole of that set unusable. So I had to go to another. This is a danger if you depend on one backup set. You can drill down into Backup’s sparseimages and egt files back that way, but I read someone claiming copying form them would lose resource forks.

    I am writing a review of SuperDuper for Apple Matters and will send a link your way for this excelent piece about all the backup software.

  • 28. David Gimeno Gost  |  April 25th, 2006 at 05:46

    I wish to thank you for the great work you’ve done here. A year and a half ago I started to realize the sad state of backup solutions for Mac OS X when I tried Carbon Copy Cloner on Panther. I went to the CCC forum to warn users of that utility about the risk of unknowingly losing timestamp information. To my dismay, not only was this an unknown problem there, but the forum “moderator” even laughed at me for suggesting that such a thing could happen with such a proven utility as the venerable ditto. Go figure!

    Since then, I’ve been using several incarnations of rsync, which has become somewhat a hassle since I upgraded to Tiger. I hadn’t switched to something else yet simply because I didn’t trust any of the other solutions either, and I wasn’t willing to thoroughly test them all. And none of the other backup review/recommendation sites I’ve seen so far seemed to “get it” either. Now, you’ve done it.

    Many thanks!

  • 29. Simon Gatrall  |  April 25th, 2006 at 06:02

    Like #25 I use Retrospect’s immediate duplicate command to backup my Powerbook drive to an external one. The only issue I’ve ever had with this are some things which encode the name of the root volume into a path. If I rename my external drive to be the same name as my internal, it seems to be “the same”. I don’t do that much which directly interacts with BSD permissions, but I do have some hidden dot files which are chmoded to things other than the normal umask in my home directory.

    Does anything even use ACL?

  • 30. links for 2006-04-25 at e&hellip  |  April 25th, 2006 at 07:21

    [...] plasticsfuture » Mac Backup Software Harmful (tags: osx backup) [...]

  • 31. Matthew Barr  |  April 25th, 2006 at 09:02

    just noticed that you tested CCC 2.1, vs the current 2.3.

    Any particular reason?

  • 32. LoonyPandora  |  April 25th, 2006 at 09:50

    Nice article, very useful :)

    It would be nice if you could give some details of the methods you used to test all of these solutions – That way we can test all the other backup solutions we want without bugging you saying “please test this…” etc.

    Knowing your methods would make sure the results are good. Even better would be providing an example package for download, containing a variety of files with differing extended attributes, Finder flags etc – so we are using the same methods, and the same files.

    Thanks again!

  • 33. christopher  |  April 25th, 2006 at 10:28

    SuperDuper is good but it has one Achilles heel: It does NOT work over a network. The only way get it to do this is to create a disk image on the netork volume and target that. Doing this incurs a HUGE speed hit, making it so slow as to be unuseable… I think yous should re-draw your table to classify the apps into “backup/sync” and “cloaning” tools.

  • 34. JimB  |  April 25th, 2006 at 10:43

    How about adding the industrial strength Arkeia” to the mix. I’d love to see how it performs. Not only does it do network backups– it can do live backups of MySQL and Postgres databases.

  • 35. maurits  |  April 25th, 2006 at 11:47

    Simon: everybody’s free to enable ACLs on a volume and go ahead using them.

    Matthew: sorry, that was a mistake in the table. Of course, I tested CCC 2.3; or, rather, I didn’t really test CCC — instead, I tested ditto, which is the underlying engine.

    LoonyPandora: this is a great idea. I guess I’ll provide a disk image with my test files and the perl script that did the comparison; hang on for a couple days.

    christopher: Neither did I test the UI, nor the tools’ network capabilities. Everybody’s free to factor those features into the equation and to make an educated decision about what tool to use. It’s not a black-and-white decision, obviously.

    JimB: good suggestion.

  • 36. Craig  |  April 25th, 2006 at 14:18

    Any advice/info on YouSoftware’s You Synchronize as a backup vs. cloning tool? Thanks for the useful analysis.

  • 37. Aaron Freimark  |  April 25th, 2006 at 14:36

    Retrospect does indeed restore permissions very well, but only when you instruct it to restore or replace an “entire disk.” If you want it to work on a single file, you’ll need to define a folder as a “subvolume.”

    Retrospect is far too confusing to be recomended to most individual users. But we do use it every day to successfully back up — and restore! — hundreds of Macs.

  • 38. Angus  |  April 25th, 2006 at 15:25

    Thanks for the reviews. I’ve been using CCC at home and have restored from it once after a disc failure – it seemed fine. Based on your review I might give SD a look for home.

    Work is another matter. Currently we use Retrospect for a combo of tape archival and HD backups. We looked at BRU but the cost was a bit nasty at the time. I’d be interested in a review on it, or any other solution for small networks (incremental, tape, HD).

  • 39. Jon Harris  |  April 25th, 2006 at 15:32

    As someone earlier said, what about Personal Backup from Intego (http://www.intego.com).

    Could someone with more technical knowledge than I (not difficult) test this one in a ‘Round 2′?

  • 40. Steve Klein  |  April 25th, 2006 at 15:39

    You didn’t review my current favorite backup tool, Backup Simplicity from Qdea: http://qdea.com/pages/pages-bs/bs1.html

    I think it’s built on the same engine as Synchronize! Pro X, which you did you review. I’m a full-time IT Manager, and a part-time consultant — most of my consulting is for home users. I’ve recommended Backup Simplicity for it’s amazingly simple interface. I don’t know if my clients are typical, but most of them are overwhelmed by anything but the simplest interface. Having said that, I’m definitely going to take a look at SuperDuper.

    Also, with regard to retrospect, you didn’t say which version you used. I use Retrospect Server at my day job, backing up roughly 30 Mac & Windows desktops and servers (including a Mac running OS X Server 10.3.9), and I’ve never had a problem with permissions on restored files. Is it possible that their “single-user” products use a different engine than their “commercial-grade” products?

  • 41. applewoods&hellip  |  April 25th, 2006 at 16:00

    實實在在地備份…

    plasticsfuture 這篇篇幅頗長的文章比較了 17 個不同的備份或磁碟複製工具,最後作者推薦的是 SuperDuper… 有興趣的朋友可以前往瞧瞧!…

  • 42. Jean-Denis  |  April 25th, 2006 at 16:21

    I am looking for a backup solution that triggers automatically when the backup device is plugged in (such as a USB flash drive). Can any listed here do that?

    It seems NTI Shadow 3 can do that. Would you test it too? A 30 days trial is available on NTI web site (www.ntius.com).

    Thanks,

    Jean-Denis

  • 43. Anonymous  |  April 25th, 2006 at 16:24

    Maurits, have you filed bug reports with some of these companies.developers to offer your insights and QA data to help them improve their products?

    You obviously have collected a good amount of data and have definable expectations regarding these issues; it’s a good community duty to help improve these products by filing bug reports with their QA groups.

    Posting a critical review of all of these solutions other than SD and then walking away from the responsibility of helping to improve the offending products seems like a bit of a bit of a slanted advertisement pitch for SD to me.

  • 44. dproni  |  April 25th, 2006 at 16:44

    It’s good to have information like this but I think that the article has one fundamental flaw – it is analyzing and comparing different classes of software, many of which cannot be considered true backup solutions.

    To me, Backup, Clocking and File Synchronization software are three different categories with admittedly blurred lines of distinction. Each of the programs listed performs better in one of these three areas than others, and to lump them all together as “Backup” software does a disservice to the respective developers and users alike. For example, a program like SuperDuper is not going to help retrieve that set if files accidentally deleted six months ago or keep my desktop and laptop in sync with each other. Conversely, SuperDuper will offer a far more convenient fail-safe than a true backup program will if my main hard drive suddenly decides to take a dump.

    The article also focuses excessively, if not solely, on the preservation of metadata as the criteria for ranking the programs. If this is the intent, I think a more detailed table of what metadata is and isn’t preserved would be much more relevant – and would allow the reader to draw their own conclusions based on what’s important to them. All metadata is not created equal and there is certainly some metadata which is of little or no concern to the overwhelming majority of users.

  • 45. dproni  |  April 25th, 2006 at 16:46

    Oops – I meant “Cloning”, not “Clocking” software…

  • 46. Kevin Purcell  |  April 25th, 2006 at 17:44

    You don’t mention Tiger’s rsync to copy/backup on the command line. I’d like to see it added to the second round of tests.

    I would presume it preserves all flags as Apple specifically modified it to deal with “regular” Finder/resource metadata in Tiger.

    RsyncX hasn’t been updated in some time (rather suprising given the fixes in Tiger’s rsync). I guess it works well enough for use in their lab or the authors have better things to do.

    Thanks, Kevin

  • 47. George Wedding  |  April 25th, 2006 at 17:47

    Whew! 18 different backup options tested plus another half dozen that have yet to be tested. OS X has officially arrived where Windows has long resided — in a place where there are so many freeware, shareware and commercial software options that average users cannot possibly find and select the right piece of backup software that is best for their needs!

    These tests do seem to need more documentation and qualification. Undoubtedly, some are poor products, but as noted, “…Backup, Clocking and File Synchronization software are three different categories with admittedly blurred lines of distinction…”

    At best, even educated and motivated consumers who exercise due diligence in researching products like this may only stumble into the best solution by accident. As Windows users already know, more choices are not always better if all options are mediocre and problematic.

    For now, I’ll continue to use the version of Backup 3 available through .Mac, but with some tredpidation and suspicion.

  • 48. Chris Murphy  |  April 25th, 2006 at 17:50

    Great article. I wonder if some of these utilities will be updated as a result? Will you do a follow up article? Please look at BRU for tape backup… I would like to know more about it given the low marks for Retrospect. (there is the kludgy looking program called DV Backup, for backing up to your camcorder, but that’s not an enterprise solution).

  • 49. maurits  |  April 25th, 2006 at 18:09

    It seems that some readers overlooked my previous article The State of Backup and Cloning Tools under Mac OS X, which I would consider (strongly) suggested reading before citicizing this article.

    Some random responses:

    Jon: Intego doesn’t seem to offer a trial version, so no go (for me).

    Steve: you’re right, Backup Simplicity probably has the same capabilities as Synchronize! Pro X, although I’d have to check. I did in fact state the Retrospect version, see the table.

    Anonymous: I have filed extensive bug reports with Apple. Apart from that, I don’t see it as my responsibility to do so for every single other tool out there. I wrote this article in my spare time (which already took way too much time) and don’t use any of these products (except for SD), so I have little motivation to do so. If any affected user files a bug report, I’ll be more than happy to provide affected software vendors with details on my tests.

    dproni: As I’ve said before, I explicitly only analyzed the metadata preservation capabilities of tools that can potentially be used for backup purposes. In this analysis, I don’t care about the other features. Everybody is free to factor that into the equation and to make an educated decision. Regarding “I think a more detailed table of what metadata is and isn’t preserved would be much more relevant” — please read my earlier post, which explains the classes of metadata in most meticulous detail.

    Kevin: I do extensively mention rsync and rsync_hfs in my earlier post.

  • 50. blurbomac » Blog Ar&hellip  |  April 25th, 2006 at 20:38

    [...] This has been long overdue for the Mac. Especially OS X. Read the post here [...]

  • 51. sjk  |  April 25th, 2006 at 21:07

    Much thanks for writing these informative and insightful articles, maurits. I appreciate the “free” time effort and research you’ve put into this so far, more than some people who’d have gotten paid to do it.

    A few comments mention “successful” backups/restores they’ve done with certain products, yet seem to be overlooking a crucial point of your articles: not all metadata, attributes, etc. are necessarily being restored by said products (regardless of if they’re saved or not during the backup phase). While that may not compromise a system to the point it won’t run it’s certainly not a complete and thorough restore. The potential lack of integrity to the process is what you’ve exposed here. Excellent!

    Personally, I chose SuperDuper! based on my own investigation into those integrity factors you’ve written about. And discussions with Dave Nanian proved to me he deeply understood those issues more than many other developers (some who seemed “surprised” when I mentioned things their products overlooked). That gave me the level of assurance that I’d be purchasing a product I could trust, from developers I believed would handle any unforeseen future issues with it. Now, about two years later (don’t recall offhand when I bought it), that choice has stood the test of time. I always recommend SuperDuper! as the personal cloning backup solution for OS X and will continue to do so.

  • 52. The Webteam Blog » &hellip  |  April 25th, 2006 at 22:40

    [...] You back up your Mac datafiles regularly and you think your data is safe, right? Wrong. Maurits writes about the (abysmal) state of Mac backups here and here. Hint: If you’re using Retrospect, you should be worried. [...]

  • 53. Matthias Steffens  |  April 25th, 2006 at 23:21

    Jean-Denis, Synchronize! Pro X is able to do that. It can also mount a network volume for backup and unmount it again when its done. There’s also an option to wake up sleeping machines over the network…

    Regards, Matthias

  • 54. Alastair  |  April 25th, 2006 at 23:51

    Great stuff. I’ve been meaning to do some testing like this myself. Couple of questions:

    1. Can you explain your methodology for setting up test files with ACLS, EAs, resource forks, etc? And how did you verify the backup against these test files? Did you use some sort of tool or was it all manual?

    2. Perhaps an obvious question, but what about tar? Or pax? As far as I remember, Apple claims support for metadata and other good stuff in the tiger tar.

  • 55. maurits  |  April 25th, 2006 at 23:58

    Alastair: I just assembled a couple files and added resource forks, EAs, and ACLs using the common command-line tools. I’ll probably post an disk image with the test files later.

    I wrote a perl script that dumps all relevant metadata, and compared output with a diff.

    As for tar and pax, it’s probably also a good idea to test them. I smell trouble ahead.

  • 56. sjk  |  April 26th, 2006 at 00:21

    SuperDuper is good but it has one Achilles heel: It does NOT work over a network. The only way get it to do this is to create a disk image on the netork volume and target that. Doing this incurs a HUGE speed hit, making it so slow as to be unuseable

    I’m currently backing up about ~25GB on my wife’s eMac to an AFS-mounted disk image volume using SD! over a 100Mbps LAN and that’s definitely not “so slow as to be unusable”. And I’m off doing other things (e.g. sleeping) while that’s running so the amount of time it takes isn’t crucial for me. Of course the rules might change backing up a few hundred GB.

    Making generalized conclusions without evidence to back them seems unhelpful to people interested in objectively evaluating different products for their own particular needs and situations.

  • 57. Web Admin  |  April 26th, 2006 at 00:48

    SD is just like any other cloning software, they basically all do the same job to different degree’s. What makes SD different is the clever guerrilla marketing campaign behind it.

    Instead of being very clear cut software and doing it’s job, the software is purposely designed to incurr questions about it’s use.

    This drives users to ShirtPocket forums, to be indoctronated into becoming unwhittingly blog, post and Apple discussions shills for the product.

    The producer of SD and his shills have violated numerous discussion forum rules pertaining to advertising on other sites not his own to generate this guerrilla marketing campaign.

    I know this because I was a head moderator for a popular Mac website which booted this Dave Nanian guy from our forums. Not only that, after much discussion with other web admins and moderators, seems they too have had a problem with him marketing free of charge on their websites.

    Running a website costs money, we depend upon advertising revenue to offset some of these costs. Dave Nanian charges his users money to use the advanced features of his product. And he’s had hundreds of thousands of paid downloads at $20 or so a pop.

    We don’t appreciate how he carelessly uses other Mac forums and unwhitting/willing shills to market his product without fair compensation for our operating costs.

    There is a fair and just way to advertise his product, it’s called banner advertising. It’s a level playing field which all can play honestly and fairly.

    Dave doesn’t seem to think he needs to play by the rules, and since his software makes insecure internet connections running as root to gleam even more marketing data, it will be hell and high water before I recommend his software to anyone.

  • 58. maurits  |  April 26th, 2006 at 01:03

    Al Davidson a.k.a. Web Admin:

    1. Please be so kind to use a consistent pseudonym.

    2. If you have a personal issue with Dave Nanian, please don’t fight your private war in somebody else’s (uninvolved person’s) blog comments, especially not based on unsubstantiated allegations. I won’t let you turn this into a flame war.

    3. This is off-topic. I am solely talking about technical merits of the tested products. If you have complaints about some companies’ marketing strategies, please post them on your own blog or in public forums.

    4. This is your last post on the topic of SD marketing, “SD is utter crap”, etc. here. Feel free to make substantiated and on-topic contributions.

  • 59. Vic  |  April 26th, 2006 at 01:24

    RE: Intech’s SpeedTools.

    I found this over at Intech’s support forums about which technology QuickBack uses (this backup app wasn’t covered in the above review):

    “I believe that the current revision of QuickBack’s volume copy is based primarily on Ditto, but some additional details are performed when Ditto is complete. The File/Folder backup routines are our own engine – which attempts to preserve more flags and settings than Ditto does.

    As the engineer writing the next major revision of our QuickBack application (I didn’t write the previous version), I can be a bit more descriptive: The next revision (actually, its more like like a rewrite), will solve many (if not all) of the missing details that your review link describes, plus a few others.”

    QuickBack definitely sounds as if it could give SuperDuper! a run for its money. Does anyone here use QuickBack?

  • 60. Web Admin  |  April 26th, 2006 at 01:41

    maurits, your remarks are duly noted. This site is yours and I’ll respect your wishes. My apologies to you for my apparant outburst.

    Best regards

    Al

  • 61. maurits  |  April 26th, 2006 at 02:01

    Vic: Thanks for posting this snippet. I think it’s great news to hear that at least some parts of the industry take the metadata issue seriously. Let’s hope that others hop on, too.

  • 62. Web Admin  |  April 26th, 2006 at 02:45

    maurits,

    We apologize for our outbursts on your open forum.

    Thank you for your informational comparision of the products above.

    sincerly

    Al

    [Editorial comment: your similar comment #60 got caught in my moderation queue, sorry for not spotting it earlier. I hope you see that this is indeed not an open forum. -maurits]

  • 63. Manuel  |  April 26th, 2006 at 06:39

    You might want to include Bounceback Pro, I used to recommend it but abandoned it for SuperDuper. http://www.cmsproducts.com/productbouncebacksoftware.htm

  • 64. Adrian B  |  April 26th, 2006 at 08:11

    This is the response from the Synk developer:

    http://www.decimus.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=514

    Part of the response:

    - “Doesn’t copy .DS_Store”: True, and deliberate. This choice stems from historical problems with the Finder freaking out when .DS_Stores were copied to a different volume. I actually recently revisited and re-tested it, and modern Finders do not seem to have the problems anymore. 5.2.2 (due out probably in the next week) already had that filter removed. - “Doesn’t preserve owner for locked files”: True, and accidental. Just a simple bug, took me 5 minutes to fix today after I found out about it through the article. It’ll be included with the other changes in 5.2.2. (Sure would have been nicer to just file a bug on it, since it’s just a transient glitch and obviously not indicative of any greater pattern in permissions.) - “Doesn’t preserve BSD flags”: The least used of all of the metadata. No plans for support in v5, implemented in v6. - “Doesn’t preserve xattrs”: No plans for support in v5, has been implemented for months in v6. - “Doesn’t preserve ACLs”: No plans for support in v5, has been implemented for months in v6.
  • 65. MacMedic  |  April 26th, 2006 at 15:42

    No mention of Duover here – I use this one for backing up to other volumes on the network. I like its easy GUI for specifiying the authentication to the other volume, and that it dismounts when finished. I hate to throw another “test this for me” request on the pile, but I’d love to know how the metadata is handled. Yes, there’s a fully functional free trial.

  • 66. Applesauce & Window P&hellip  |  April 26th, 2006 at 16:42

    [...] Well, I just read an article, you can find it here: Plasticsfuture [...]

  • 67. maurits  |  April 26th, 2006 at 19:17

    Vendor Reponses

    I have received feedback from some vendors; despite some initial disgruntlement this has turned very constructive. The good news is that two vendors so far (of ChronoSynch and Synk) have committed to fixing all the issues raised here. The developer of Synk also provided me with a beta version, which indeed fixed the most serious issues, and boosts my recommendation from “avoid at all cost” to “partially recommended”. Please see the updated table above. Also, the developers of QuickBack, which I haven’t tested here, seem to be committed to making their future products fully metadata-aware.

    Let’s hope that the state of metadata keeps improving. And big kudos to the folks at econ Technologies and Ben Rister for being so responsive!

  • 68. cyou  |  April 27th, 2006 at 00:24

    No great surprises at all. My impression is that Bru Backup, originally written for Unix is the only real Backup candidate. Retrospect was never written for a multitasking system. Driver troubles are endless whit Retrospect since Version 4.X Superduper is OK as a cloner.

  • 69. Stephen Elliott  |  April 27th, 2006 at 19:47

    Hello, it’s Steve Elliott here – the author of Impression.

    I’m on holiday now, though a friend wrote to inform me that you’d published this piece and included a review of Impression’s meta-data handling capabilities.

    Indeed, Impression uses ‘ditto’ for file-copy archiving operations, or alternatively ‘pax’ (both Apple-authored utilities). Impression’s old mainstay, ‘hfspax’ is no longer useable under Mac OS X 10.4.x and Apple’s ‘pax’ utility is now used instead. Both ‘ditto’ and ‘pax’ have the specific meta-data handling deficiencies that you note, and Impression inherits those facets of their design.

    Your first article correctly points out the meta-data handling deficiencies in Apple-authored command-line tools under 10.4.x; some meta-data is correctly preserved, while other is not (depending on the tool and the meta-data in question).

    I’m working through Radar with Apple’s engineers to constructively fix these known issues in their tools. And in regard to your feature request for Impression to offer the capability to unset the ‘ignore permissions on this volume’ flag – I’ll see that that function is incorporated and tested for the next forthcoming dot release. Thanks for your feature request – normally I get requests in a polite eMail from folks, but this will do.

    In the future, I’d love to hear of your concerns firsthand as opposed to getting links from others. Just drop me a note if you’ve something to say; I reply to a majority of Impression’s correspondence and work fastidiously to fix bugs and incorporate feature requests (see Impression’s long, detailed version history list for reference).

    Best,

    Steve Elliott Babel Company

  • 70. maurits  |  April 27th, 2006 at 20:24

    Steve,

    thanks for responding to my article!

    After having received similar criticism from other vendors, I agree now that it would probably have been somewhat better style to inform vendors upfront of my review; however, it never came to my mind that this piece would get the enormous coverage (which brings added responsibility) it eventually did.

    I still have no reason to believe that the facts in my article contain significant mistakes, and no part of this article is meant derogatory or negative in an unobjective way; when I chose strong wording for my recommendations, that’s because I think it’s appropriate. Backup tools are no screen savers — they deserve a drastically more fastidious scale of judgment.

    Even if you or other vendors had known about this beforehand, it wouldn’t have changed the results of the tests; you and your competitors would only have had the opportunity to correct factual errors in the article, of which none have been discovered yet.

    In the end, all vendors I’ve been in contact so far have eventually seen that the gist of my article is to give a solely constructive impulse to the industry, and I guess you agree with that.

    I am happy to hear that you take the list of my issues seriously (also see added comment in the list above). It is of course extremely unfortunate for you and other folks like the CCC developer, who rely on buggy Apple tools, that there is little to remedy the situation unless Apple fixes these egregious bugs. But given the fact that these bugs exist for years now (you, I, and probably gazillions of other developers must have written numerous duplicate bug reports already), I have little hope that Apple is seriously committed to fixing bugs such as these.

    Again thanks for writing, and I appreciate the constructive dialog! There’s probably going to be a second installment of this article down the road; you’ll hear about it first.

    Have a nice remainder of your holiday!

    Best,

    maurits

  • 71. Bill  |  April 27th, 2006 at 20:59

    I believe Bounceback is what is byndled with Seagate firewire harddrived.

  • 72. Scott Lamb  |  April 28th, 2006 at 04:12

    Use rdiff-backup!

    It’s designed for transfer to another drive or across the network with ssh, which is a much more realistic model than pumping in DVD-R after DVD-R. It uses rsync to cut down transfer times. It keeps deltas of older versions on the backup machine in case it takes you a while to discover data loss. It preserves all the metadata you’re looking for, even when the destination filesystem that doesn’t support it. (I use it to backup resource-fork-heavy Quicken files to a Linux machine.)

    As a bonus, the same program works well for backing up other operating systems and even servers. It can be chained together to chain it together with scripts that do application-specific things to obtain a consistent backup (pgsql-dump, “svnadmin hotcopy”, lvm snapshots, whatever). I use it for my entire network.

  • 73. links for 2006-04-28 | Ed&hellip  |  April 28th, 2006 at 08:22

    [...] Mac Backup Software Harmful Basically, only SuperDuper is trustworthy. (tags: superduper mac osx backup sysadmin) [...]

  • 74. Gueorgui  |  April 28th, 2006 at 09:48

    Maurits, you can get a demo version of Personal Backup X4 by downloading an update from the Intego website (“support and services” in the menu, then “software updates”). If installed without a serial, the software will work for 30 days.

  • 75. Andreas  |  April 28th, 2006 at 18:58

    Looks like your review has caused the first casualty: “After three long years of development and support, Impression has enjoyed a good run.

    Unfortunately, due to a lack of available resources and time on my end I’m discontinuing Impression effective immediately.”

  • 76. Jim  |  April 28th, 2006 at 23:37

    With regard to SuperDuper bashing—it saved my bacon a couple years ago when I drive went down. This article is timely—last night I was getting ready to backup a newer Mac to a new Firewire drive. I opened SuperDuper, downloaded the update, and then it wouldn’t recognize me as a registered user.

    Emailed support at 9:20 PM CDT. Got an email back from Dave at 10:05 PM CDT with the fix (that worked). You wonder why he sells copies—it’s because the software works and the company is responsive.

  • 77. Steve Klein  |  April 29th, 2006 at 01:07

    “I did in fact state the Retrospect version, see the table.”

    Poor choice of wording on my part. not version, but perhaps “edition.” There’s Retrospect Express, Retrospect Desktop, Retrospect Workgroup and Retrospect Server.

    So which edition did you test?

  • 78. Andrew Ferguson  |  April 29th, 2006 at 06:28

    Regarding rdiff-backup (http://www.nongnu.org/rdiff-backup/):

    It does NOT support BSD flags or ACLs on Mac OS X (it does support ACLs under Linux and FreeBSD). rdiff-backup is written in python and relies on pylibacl for ACL support. Currently, pylibacl does not support Tiger ACLs because they are somewhat nonstandard. Although Tiger ACLs use the POSIX 1003.1e API (like Linux and FreeBSD), they do not use the POSIX types and are instead stored in an Apple-custom binary format (see /usr/include/sys/acl.h)

    rdiff-backup DOES support everything else (although using HFS+ extended attributes requires a patch that I just submitted to the author and the xattr python module). In particular, it supports resource forks, content type and creator codes, creation time, user modes, and Finder comments.

    The amazing part about rdiff-backup is that it is able to backup files from OS X on HFS+ to, say, Linux on the ext3 filesystem and restore them while preserving everything I mentioned! It’s at its best in a heavily networked environment with many types of servers since it supports so many operating systems.

    Use the CVS version (or at least the development release). Many users have found them very stable and full of features.

  • 79. Henrik Nørgaard Hansen  |  April 29th, 2006 at 13:29

    Very interesting article indeed.

    I think you should reconsider you verdict on Retrospect. It appears to based on a misunderstanding of how the restore modes of Retrospect works.

    You ask “Does anybody have any clues why Retrospect performs so badly?” Yes we do.

    Aaron Freimark have stated quite clearly how Retrospect works. He also correctly stated that Retrospect is not everyone, partly because of this.

    By answering the question from wrf3: “Can you detail the methodology you used that caused Retrospect to have such low marks?” would reveal to enable us to clarify why the test fails.

    Lastly your “footnote a” points to a discussion of Retrospect Express which I don’t think has the samu UI as Retrospect.

    PS: what is up with the formatting. Every piece of text since post #72 is a link to http://www.cmsproducts.com.

    Regards,

    Henrik Longtime lover of Retrospect :-)

  • 80. chrisdiclerico.com »&hellip  |  April 30th, 2006 at 06:48

    [...] SuperDuper! is the worst name for the best backup software I have ever used. It does exactly what I want it to. You have some options about priority (which drive overwrites which drive) but basically it simply duplicates all the data from your main drive onto the backup drive, and subsequently replaces older files with new ones and adds new files. Perfect synching every time. You can read some reviews (this boingboing one is how I found the software in the first place), all outstanding, if you need proof. In this recent roundup, this reviewer found that ALL other backup software had problems saving meta data and could many problems. SuperDuper! was the only software given a “Highly Recommended” score. In fact, some of the other companies should be sued if this analysis is accurate. [...]

  • 81. doug-miller.net: doug mil&hellip  |  April 30th, 2006 at 21:16

    [...] Mac Backup Harmful. An exhaustive comparison of Mac backup tools indicates most are problematic in producing a restorable volume. Only SuperDuper! performs as expected. I use SuperDuper! and can attest to it’s effectiveness; if you are concerned about Mac backup (and you should be if you use a Mac) you ought to be using this software. [...]

  • 82. jeglin  |  April 30th, 2006 at 23:22

    I’ll refrain from using Al’s words to avoid reprimand :-)

    I had a one-time cloning job – put the contents of an 80GB Tiger Server (+50 users) installation onto a new 250GB drive, freshly formatted. SuperDuper left me with an unbootable mess. Turned immediately to Carbon Copy Cloner and it worked without issue, first time. I had heard so much about SD and was going to switch to it… until I witnessed this.

    I’m a busy person – no time to waste on software that fails. I don’t particularly like CCC, but SD is in the wastebasket where it belongs. Obviously others’ mileage varies. Word to the wise: do these things conservatively, and test test test.

  • 83. sjk  |  April 30th, 2006 at 23:54

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but from your description of the problem with SD it doesn’t sound like you even tried getting support from Shirt Pocket before trashing the app.

  • 84. Victor Panlilio  |  May 1st, 2006 at 03:50

    I recently had to restore data from a client’s degraded OS X 10.4 RAID 1 slice to a new two-drive RAID 1 array, and the only software that would restore all of the data (180+GB) was — SuperDuper 2.1. Automatic RAID rebuild wouldn’t, Finder copy failed, CCC 2.3 aborted@40GB. SD copied all the data, but for some reason not the ACLs. At home I use a combo of Backup 3 (to .Mac and a local network volume) and SilverKeeper 1.1.4 for daily incrementals, and CCC or SuperDuper for disk cloning. I still haven’t figured out how to use Retrospect properly, after all these years.

  • 85. BadgerB  |  May 1st, 2006 at 17:13

    Hi, after reading your blog, I used SuperDuper 2.1, here’s my report:

    I used it to backup/clone my harddisk to a diskimage on an external harddisk, but it will be the last time I tried. Backup took 3 hours that I couldn’t use productive, and after I returned, it turned out that SuperDuper successfully performed its operation (as indicated in the log by the lines

    “Evaluated 457618 items occupying 66.29 GB (75089 directories, 377223 files, 5306 symlinks) | 05:08:11 PM | Info | Copied 532543 items totaling 65.88 GB (75065 directories, 377112 files, 80366 symlinks) | 05:08:11 PM | Info | Cloned 65.88 GB of data in 7496 seconds at an effective transfer rate of 9.00 MB/s”

    ), but then it encountered a minor error (it wasn’t able to convert the resulting image to a read-only image), and so it subsequently deleted the whole backup. The log didn’t even mention it, just this error apeared:

    “| 05:20:16 PM | Error | hdiutil: convert failed – Auf dem Gerät ist kein Platz verfügbar (no space left on device)”

    This is an outrage. A software that takes away so many hours should be programmed safe enough to not commit suicide and take its data with it. Furthermore, it looks like this app will need double the space on my already big main harddisc for the external backup harddisc (which is why the error was raised), and it needs this huge space just to perform one minor conversion at the end. I will move back to CCC now, which is awkward, but at least it fulfills its duty.

    So, since the app did such a bad job once, this leaves the question “will I ever be able to trust it again’”. And “will you be able to trust it”. I think, no. After looking through your list, and seeing that not a single solution can be wholeheartedly recommended, I feel that the state of Mac backups is indeed at a very bad low point.

  • 86. TGA  |  May 1st, 2006 at 19:30

    check those apps: Phew http://www.substancesoftware.com/phew/index.html iMsafe http://homepage.mac.com/sweetcocoa/imsafe/

  • 87. maurits  |  May 1st, 2006 at 23:36

    Sorry for not reponding during the last couple of days — I was away from my computer.

    Thanks for all who suggested even more backup programs that I wasn’t aware of yet.

    Andreas: yes — Steve Elliott (the Impression author) has also told me of Impression’s demise. As far as I can tell, this metadata headache was the last straw in this. I have highest respect for Steve for taking this decision. Apple could do a lot more in terms of providing more comprehensive, higher quality, and better tested APIs for developers like Steve, such that they can afford to put out nice tools like the former Impression, and not waste hundreds of hours in chasing Apple’s bugs and filling in holes in their APIs.

    Steve Klein: Sorry for misunderstanding you. I downloaded the trial from the EMC website; so I think it was the Desktop version. There shouldn’t be any differences between Desktop and Workgroup/Server in terms of backup engine, right? Where in the program can I see what edition I got (short of dowloading a new copy?)

    BadgerB: could be that this is an annoying bug in SD’s error handling, but I’d check with their tech support. BTW, you can easily set SD to backup to a sparse image (I do this for partitions that don’t compress that much anyway, e.g., partitions that contain music and pictures). If you do this, there is no difference in output format compared with CCC (both make sparse images). If you chose a compressed disk image as target, SD actually warns about the extra disk space needed upfront. There are actually some good (technical) reasons to chose a compressed image as format, in which case the conversion is technically necessary and there is no way to circumvent the double disk space requirement. You can do the same conversion manually with disk images generated by CCC. I have no reason to defend SD (except for the fact that I’m a SD user, which should be no surprise given this article), but the facts aren’t quite as outrageous as you describe it.

  • 88. Nerdy News in April at Ge&hellip  |  May 2nd, 2006 at 05:58

    [...] Apparently, there aren’t really any good backup solutions for OS X. There are a couple of OK ones, but no good ones. In related news, the staff at Geek Patrol were not surprised at this revelation in the least. [...]

  • 89. Jussi Hirvi  |  May 2nd, 2006 at 10:28

    Thanks for the article. Very interesting! About CCC. you mention that you didn’t really test 2.3 but assumed that it uses ditto. I made a scheduled backup script with v2.3, and it uses ditto only for items on desktop. For directories, it uses psync.

  • 90. maurits  |  May 2nd, 2006 at 20:10

    Jussi: the main cloning operation in CCC uses ditto throughout. Further (scheduled) synchronizations of the clone with the original data can be performed via the CCC GUI, and you’re right, CCC uses psync for this under the hood (it relies on a system install of psync).

  • 91. David Zatz  |  May 5th, 2006 at 16:35

    Regarding Intego Personal Backup: I foolishly bought it assumign their marketing materials were fully accurate. What I found was nothing that was an outright lie, but a lot of half-truths. It is roughly useless for backing up to DVD and is a truly lightweight app generally speaking.

    If the author of this page would like my copy I’d be happy to send it over and take the hundred-dollar loss as a contribution to this rather nice site.

    After getting IPB, I decided not to get VirusBarrier.

  • 92. David Zatz  |  May 5th, 2006 at 16:36

    Um. Additional. I’d like to ask the author if there are any backup programs I can use to back up my Mac to a part of my colocated Web server which runs Linux. I need the ddata to be encrypted in transit and once there. Thanks…

  • 93. slimeyapple  |  May 6th, 2006 at 03:26

    Thank you for taking the time to research this so thoroughly. I recently used CarbonCopyCloner to make my In case of emergency back up to an external HD. I have SuperDuper installed – and I am going to -re-backup- based on your results.

    Nice work with the research!

  • 94. Buggy-Net.de » Back&hellip  |  May 7th, 2006 at 10:11

    [...] blog.plasticsfuture.org [...]

  • 95. Steve  |  May 8th, 2006 at 16:19

    Apple’s Backup 3 is, in my experience, the very worst backup software available. It looks like it might be workig well when you use it as an adjunct for file backuup. However, should you suffer a disk crash, it appears difficult to retrieve your files from your iDisk – - or any other place you have put the backup files. .Mac support stated that if there have been serious directory problems, Backup 3 may have trouble reconstructing its catalog – precisely the moment you would need it to perform this function. Despite extensive e-mail contact .Mac support offered no solution that actually worked. They suggested that I go through each of the 400 backup files on the iDisk to determine in which ones I could find the files I need. Backup 3 also failed to restore a large file backup to an external disk.

    Luckily I was using Backup 3 as an adjunct to Carbon Copy Cloner and Retrospect and was, therefore able to restore my files. If my experience is any indicator, Backup 3 provides an illusion of saftety, but completely fails in the precise circumstance in which a backup program is needed. In other words, it seems to be merely a marketing device aimed at selling .Mac subscriptions – - not something that is capable of performing any of the services one might expect from backup software.

    I must say that over the years Retrospect has saved the day on numerous occasions – - and of those products tested it appears to be the only that works with tape. It does not make good clones, but it does backup in its own format fairly well. In April 2005 I downloaded Virex 7.5.2 from the .Mac site. I set it to scan and repair. When I returned, Virex 7.5.2 had succesfully erased every file on every disk connected internally or externally to my G5 – - except parts of the OS and, of course, itself. Luckily, I had a triplicate tape backup (Exabyte VXA-1) After several hours, Retrospect, running from its own startup CD, reconstructed its catalog and restored the disk. The restore was not perfect, and I had to do an Archive and Install of the OS. On the other hand, I recovered all my files.

  • 96. John Langrill  |  May 9th, 2006 at 21:46

    I’ve used JAMF Software cloning before, which worked very well (before most cloning programs were available). Casper should be added to the list for evaluation.

    http://www.jamfsoftware.com/products/casper/

  • 97. John Williams  |  May 10th, 2006 at 03:27

    Great article, and as seen in the comments, a few apps not tested initially. I’d like to see NTI Shadow 3 tested, as this is what I use, but there is also CopyCatX from Sunrosasoft that looks like it would do a great job of cloning a drive – from any system, and all on your Mac! I’m running a small business aimed directly at getting businesses to back-up their systems and files, and these two products look like they fit the bill for me. However, my first and foremost aim is to get people (at home or work) backing their files up, so this sort of comparison is extremely useful for everyone. THANKYOU! Any feedback always welcome, keep up the good work Maurits. P.S. Now that we have the ability to run any OS on our Intel-equipped Macs, doesn’t this allow us to take advantage of each OS’ potential, all on one machine, & native!

  • 98. Organized Mess » On&hellip  |  May 12th, 2006 at 22:50

    [...] Here is a good assessment of the tools available for the Mac. My problem is that I do not want a solution that is Mac-based. It has to run on multiple platform. [...]

  • 99. pcb  |  May 13th, 2006 at 16:01

    Your article seems good (I’m not computer savvy enough to know for sure). I see all sorts of theory in this and other web postings as to why people shouldn’t use Retrospect. Thing is, life is not all theory, so let me offer some practical advice to your readers:

    I’ve been responsible for backing up and archiving the data for our 2 person business since 1989. We lose our data, we’re out of business. I started using Retrospect in the early 1990s and have been using it since. In all that time, we have not lost one single file (assuming it was backed up, of course). I can still pull old jobs off the archives from tape with ease. Some of these jobs are almost 15 years old (if memory serves) and the applications won’t even run on any modern computer but the files are still there and easy to locate–just in case something can be done with them. Retrospect’s interface is confusing. That’s true. OTOH, if you learn how to use it, you can set up all sorts of scripts to automate everything and you can control what you want done very well. You can back up to virtually any media, and you do incremental back ups (not replacing a changed file but rather saving ALL subsequent versions). You can control all manner of options. You can make a duplicate of your drive that boots like a champ and whenever you update the duplicate, it will just copy the changed files over.

    So, let’s look at this logically. You go out get yourself SD and you clone your drive. Fine. Now what? No incremental backups? Man, you’re living dangerously. What about cataloging the files so they are easy to locate? Do you get something else to the incremental BUs? If so, what? Are you going to buy, learn and support 2 pieces of BU software to get your BUs done? What about archiving? What about offsite BUs? Are you just going to get yourself another HD or two and take a clone offsite or are you going to do incremental BUs to DVD or tape? How will SD handle all that? See, the answers are not so simple. I understand that this is not the scope of your article but if you are writing about BUs, the key is the data, not the theory or methodology.

    Anyway, just adding to the mix.

  • 100. charlieartist  |  May 17th, 2006 at 18:11

    I have been using Retrospect in different locations for years now. Aside from some minor glitches at times (execution errors due to foreign content), things have been working well and largelly trouble free. On the metadata issues, I have not (luckily) had to deal with any hardware failures on this regimen, but I have had to restore corrupt files (I’m in publishing, and that happens on deadline!). The corrupted file was restored to the previous day’s work, and there were no date/other metadata issues with the resulting files.

    Like others have posted, Retrospect may have a bit of a learning curve, but it does give peace of mind…

  • 101. Andi  |  May 22nd, 2006 at 07:56

    TRI-Backup and files on desktop Dear all, after a crash and a problem with the logical structure of the hard disk (double-click on some folder caused kernel panic) I reinstalled 10.3, then 10.3.9) and copied my backup created with TRI-Backup back to the harddisk. Then I saw that all files on my desktop weren’t copied. With 10.3 I found out that the find doesn’t find files on the desktop. Did anybody run into the same behavior? Is the desktop something special besides being hidden? Thanks Andi

  • 102. kai  |  May 25th, 2006 at 01:01

    We use Bakbone’s NetVault SE (http://www.bakbone.com) on Mac OS X as a solid backup solution (for backing up to tape). It would be interesting to get the perl script and set of sample files you used so we can test other solutions and post our results…

    Cheers, Kai

  • 103. Dadan  |  May 26th, 2006 at 03:55

    What about FoldersSynchronizer X by Softobe? I’ve used it for a few years now. http://WWW.softobe.com

  • 104. Dima  |  May 27th, 2006 at 15:53

    Cool article! Nevertheless, you’ve missed Dobry Backuper.

    Dobry is cheap and awesome backup tool. It can back up to any mounted drive, including external and network drives, supports multi-volume, compressed archives and employs the standard tar-compatible format, which means that data can be restored even without Dobry Backuper. Built-in schedule allows to back up in an automatic mode.

  • 105. Marc Gray  |  May 27th, 2006 at 19:42

    I use the “QuickBack 2.1.8″ module from within Mac Speed Tool Utilities 2.3 (Intech Software) I have found this to do a fine and directly understandable backyp / synch /cloning job for me.

  • 106. concrete  |  May 28th, 2006 at 06:12

    Hi have you had a chance to test LifeBoat? from Mojaveshade http://www.mojaveshade.com/

    Love to know what you think, have purchased a copy and testing now.

  • 107. n8gray  |  May 28th, 2006 at 06:13

    Earlier today I read the command-line tool reviews and now I found these ones. It’s truly awesome that you do the work to review these products, but as the comments have shown, you can’t cover everything. Also, it won’t be long before new versions of many of the tools you reviewed are released. You would do a great service by making your testing tools public so we can each try out our favorite backup tool and report the results. (Earlier you said you were planning to release your code — maybe you forgot or got too busy?) It’s like the slashdot sig says: “Give a man a fire and you warm him for a night. Set a man on fire and you warm him for the rest of his life.” Or something like that…

  • 108. Paul M  |  May 29th, 2006 at 22:20

    I agree with Steve (post 95) re backup 3. I had to restore my HD ans Backup could not access the files even though I could point to them. Useless. Luckily I also had a bootable clone on an external firewire drive, thanks to SuperDuper which solved the problem.

    It’s a shame as the idea of Backup 3 is excellent, not so the execution.

  • 109. Adrian  |  May 31st, 2006 at 19:17

    Excellent article. And perfect timing for me to discover it since I’m about to buy. One question though, given how long it’s been around, why wasn’t Stuffit (Allume.com) featured?

  • 110. Marie  |  June 3rd, 2006 at 03:20

    http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/backup-macosx.html?@867.DDgEbD6djjo@

    Hi,

    Thanks for this article ! I have some comments about Retrospect: If you want to really have a software which allow a strong Backup strategy. Retrospect is the BEST even if it is so hard to understand !! I bought this wonderful ebook: Take Control of Mac OS X Backups http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/backup-macosx.html?@867.DDgEbD6djjo@

    And it help me to understand what is Retrospect and how to use it well.

    Before to upgrade to tiger for Panther, I did a “Duplicate” (not Backup, means something different for Retrospect) of Panther on a external hard disk. And often, I boot from this “Panther on external HD”, to work with some codes that is not “Tiger ready”. The “duplicate”, “Backup” and “Archive” options of retrospect give a complete backup strategy. Once you set it up it amazing !!!

    If you want just to make a bootable copy of your Mac, I guess SD is quick and fine, but if you really what a strong backup strategy GO FOR RETROSPECT !

  • 111. maurits  |  June 3rd, 2006 at 04:19

    Adrian: at this time, I didn’t cover archiving solutions, just ones for copying files.

  • 112. Martin  |  June 8th, 2006 at 11:42

    Currently I play around with Unison to sync my laptop with my desktop system and vice versa. any other tools around that come close to Unison’s CVS-like bidirectional “diff and merge” capabilities?

    PS: I remember a Retrospect sales guy a long time ago, saying something like “we don’t store/restore ownership, permissions and other metadata for files backed up via NFS mounts, because our customers don’t want/need this feature” :o)

  • 113. concrete  |  June 9th, 2006 at 05:18

    are you updating ChronoSync’s recommendation? It has been updated. ChronoSync is now 3.3

  • 114. pchem  |  June 10th, 2006 at 22:52

    About two years ago I purchased a 200 GB Seagate External HD for use with my dual 2 GHz Mac G5, running Panther. I connected the HD to my Mac using the firewire connection, and backed up daily using BounceBack Express (BBE), which was included with the HD. Within about a month, my Mac began to crash regularly (2-3 times per week). I initially had no idea what was causing the crashing, but after lots of testing I found that if disconnected the drive my machine crashed far less frequently (the reason it didn’t go away completely may have been that the frequent crashing corrupted my internal HD). I contacted Seagate tech support, and they said there had been similar issues with other Mac users using their external HDs with firewire and BBE. They sent me a link to an updated version of BBE, but that didn’t fix the problem. So I deleted BBE, did an archive reinstall of my OS and stopped using the Seagate drive. Result: no more crashes. Then, at Seagate’s suggestion, I tried it once more, this time instead using the USB connection and a still newer version of BBE. Result: my machine immediately began to crash again, and my internal HD again became corrupted (I had keys out of order, which disk utility could fix, and superblock errors, which it could not). [A bad crash came when the automatic backup was called to run while I was running another program that was continuously creating and overwriting tens of thousands of files; perhaps, knowing my other program would be running, I should have disabled the automatic backup that night. However, let me emphasize that, except for this one instance, I had not been backing up while large programs were running.] This time I wiped the disk clean and reinstalled everything. Needless to say I will no longer be using BBE.

  • 115. HTLmac  |  June 14th, 2006 at 22:53

    SD did not keep my DRM for acrobat 7 digital edition (ebooks), when I tried it earlier this week. diskUtil in 10.3.9 did not work, either.

    I reverted back to “dd” so to have a true copy of my OSX install volume. I know it’s time consuming to back up the whole volume but it’s the only one I found to work reliably.

  • 116. abey  |  June 15th, 2006 at 08:02

    Thanks maurits for this most useful review.

    However, there is an aspect that you did not cover and that could be of importance. What happens whis backup to simple file system, for example to a FAT32 (who would do that?!) or a SMB share (more common maybe)? Even if the soft takes care of copying all the meta data, the FS does not support it anyway. Is any of the software you mention capable of special handling of these FS or is it a complete no-go? (I am personally interested in backuping my stuff to a SMB share.)

  • 117. Steve Riggins  |  June 15th, 2006 at 17:03

    could you please re-test with ChronoSync 3.3.0 and let us users of that software know if we’re hosed? :)

    I use it to do machine to machine syncs. I use SuperDuper! for cloning.

  • 118. Dogbowl » Blog Arch&hellip  |  June 19th, 2006 at 15:50

    [...] Coincidentally, there have been several blogposts recently on Mac OSX backup tools. Perhaps too much information, as I find making a decision on what to use a mind-bending exercise. The most informative is Mac Backup Software Harmful. The others can be found here. [...]

  • 119. haskellf  |  June 20th, 2006 at 02:42

    Fantastic information. Great research Maurits !!!

    Does anyone know of any backup software for the mac that will stream to multiple DVD’s WITHOUT spliting files AND will allow you to copy individual files (this is not a full restore – which would require the software) from that backup DVD without the need of the software? I’m not talking abouit archiving, just copying/backup. So far the backup software I have seen always splits files when a DVD gets full. i.e. Tri-Backup, Retrospect, iBackup.

    Anyone?

  • 120. maurits  |  June 20th, 2006 at 02:53

    While I appreciate everyone’s comments, I’d like to ask my readers to constrain their comments to questions immediately concerning either the content of my post or metadata preservation in general. The intention of my post was never to provide a discussion of backup tools’ features or usability aspects. The usefulness of the numerous valuable on-topic remarks (now already at a mind-boggling 119 pieces) would get watered down if this developed into a general discussion of backup tools. There are far better forums for such a discussion.

    Thanks for your understanding.

  • 121. Rob  |  June 20th, 2006 at 08:25

    Can I just contribute Dobry Backuper for any future tests. I don’t think it’s been mentioned. Cheers.

    http://dobrysoft.com/products/backuper/

  • 122. Kevin Horn  |  June 20th, 2006 at 17:50

    I’ve been using SD for over a year and have found it to be excellent in every respect, but I must admit I don’t have your technical know-how so I was very pleased to see you recommend it highly.

    And what I often tell people is the author of SD provides the best support I’ve ever seen from any company, not just software or computer companies, and that’s worth a lot to me. And I do not have any financial stake in the company in any way, I’m just an average user of the product.

    Apple’s Backup does not create a clone as far as I know, unless they changed that with version 3 which I haven’t used. But I have a .mac membership so Backup is free and I did try it, but felt paying for SD was the better solution.

    More than once I’ve booted off of SD’s clone in order to meet deadlines, going back to fix problems days later, and I found working from the clone identical in every way. In fact, after a few days I’d start to forget I’m on a clone.

  • 123. haskellf  |  June 20th, 2006 at 19:23

    Hi Maurits, Sorry about the last posting, I thought it was an open forum for backup software. After reading Gueorgui’s posting I sent an email to intego regarding Personal Backupx4 and they pass along the following info and a link to a 30 day trial version. If you have the chance, please include Personal Backup x4 for you next set of test. -Thanks, Haskell

    The answer to your question will depend on the media set as the destination. If you are copying to another drive formatted as HFS + then all file metadata is preserved, including permissions. However, if you have a drive set as your destination that is not formatted as HFS+ (say it’s Fat 32), the permissions will no be copied nor the BSD flags or HFS+ attributes, but the created and modified dates will be.

    You can download a 30 day trial version from here if you wish to try it out for free: http://www.integodownload.com/en/pbx4.html

  • 124. maurits  |  June 20th, 2006 at 19:39

    Rob – Dobry has indeed been brought up here by the developers themselves.

    haskellf – no probs. Thanks for that good information!

  • 125. Adrian  |  June 21st, 2006 at 18:19

    You (and Dave Nanian’s website) convinced me that the obvious choice for a bootable clone is SuperDuper! Thanks for satisfying my curiosity (Stuffit=archive, not copying. Also found it’s getting bad press). So I’m still looking for a file level program. Which, from your two excellent articles, means I’m off to check out Synk and Deja Vu…

  • 126. Adrian  |  June 22nd, 2006 at 19:03

    And the winner is… Superduper! for bootable clones. Synk for documents and archiving. (New version 6 out.) Once again, thanks maurits, for pointing us all in the right direction.

  • 127. Xander  |  June 24th, 2006 at 11:52

    I tested BRU last year (early 2005). Looked very good at first sight but showed a nasty effect with differential backups: Since bru is made for servers, diffs will only work, if the machine (the account, to be prcise) never has been turned off between the original full backup and the diff. This is not precisely a metadata problem, but nevertheless some kind of problem in some cases :)

  • 128. dblookup.info&hellip  |  June 29th, 2006 at 19:42

    SVN Homedir strategy ?…

    “Your data are as safe as your latest backup”
    I don’t remenber where I read that, but it made me buy SuperDuper two months ago, I’m still figuring out how to make the most of it by excluding Multimedia files from daily backup....
    
  • 129. paul  |  July 2nd, 2006 at 09:20

    Have a look at http://www.click2backup.com for a windows and Mac OSX online backup client. The software is from Attix5 which have a large Corporate market and are now moving into the SOHO and home backup marketplace.

  • 130. Haskellf  |  July 3rd, 2006 at 19:04

    Mauritis research has allowed me to ask the right questions about backup software that I was never aware of before. Using this knowledge, I was able to send out emails to various backup software companies and here is one that returned my email in regards to copying metadata, permissions, etc… as explained by Maurits. Note that I have not tested this myself.

    Tri-BACKUP can copy files without owner/group/permissions information, if the Copy UID/GID option is not checked (this is helpfull if you want to copy files owned by another user to your own Home folder, and want the copy owned by you).

    But if you want an exact copy, Tri-BACKUP will create a copy preserving the same owner/group/permissions, HFS+ extended attributes, resources fork, BSD flags, etc. Folders infomation are also copied.

    We use our own copy routines, and files are not splitted when spaning to multiple DVD’s. When there is not enough space to copy the next file, the entire file will be copied on the next partition.

    Note that the demo version can help you checking this.

  • 131. heavyboots  |  July 5th, 2006 at 23:14

    Hmmm, I use the psync command line tool regularly and it does a decent job. And Retrospect 6.1 does a fine job as an archiving/backup utility. We do nightly backups and archiving in it of our G5 file server with no issue whatsoever. (Retrospect 5, however, is bad! Avoid that version.)

    Things that cause major issues in Retrospect are generally incomplete understanding of it (not the most user-friendly beast!) or failing equipment/SCSI chain. Retrospect assumes perfect hardware and if there is a hiccup, it can be pretty disastrous to it…

  • 132. Anabolism  |  July 19th, 2006 at 02:17

    The review says Retrospect “completely clobbers permissions, doesn’t preserve modification date of folders [see footnote a], doesn’t preserve ACLs”.

    I’ve used Retrospect for years, and have restored many volumes with it. All I can think of is that you tested doing a file restore, as opposed to a volume restore. That is, you restored selected files. Retrospect has very different modes of operation for restoring specific files (such as if a file was accidently deleted or you want to get an older version of it) and for restoring volumes. I can believe that the metadata would be restored only in the volume restore mode.

  • 133. Keven Fedirko  |  July 20th, 2006 at 02:55

    I’m excited to find a cloning program today, so I’ll be trying out SD – but w/regards to Retrospect, I initially (for about 5 years) thought it was great – was able to backup to tape incrementally (from a mac os9) to a DLT drive and to CD-R media. Restores were painless, and perfect (vs. often in Irix, asking for a file, and waiting 2hrs – only to see a blank command line prompt). Years later, my internal HD went bad. Tried to restore from my weekly RS backups various files, and backups I made by hand with Toast. For some reason many files somehow fell between the cracks. v.disheartening.

    For years metadata backup was not an issue, until I started working for another company – and it was paramount. Talking to RS revealed [then - circa 2001/02] that it did not backup that data. The only solution seemed to be to archive it with Stuffit, and then back that up. Works, but such a pain in the butt, and v.time consuming. I tried backing up to DVD-R a year or two ago, but it would never properly continue onto the second disc, rendering the backup worthless.

  • 134. Backup? - Apfeltalk&hellip  |  July 20th, 2006 at 20:36

    [...] permalink Für mich sind komplette Backups am sinnvollsten, da ich im Notfall schnell wieder das komplette System rückspielen möchte. Zu SuperDuper! gibt es für mich kaum eine Alternative. Zum einen ist es mit dem Smart Backup (nur geänderte Daten sichern) wirklich sauschnell, zum anderen sicher es wirklich alles korrekt und macht den Backup zuverlässig bootfähig. Kann ich uneingeschränkt empfehlen. __________________ » Äh, Mr. Tod, könnten Sie uns erklären, warum wir alle gleichzeitig gestorben sind?! « » Die Lachsschaumspeise. « [...]

  • 135. SuperDuper! Wo Lizenz kau&hellip  |  July 29th, 2006 at 23:59

    [...] Zitat von Cohen76 Und CCC funktioniert auch genauso gut, ja? Ich habe ein MBP mit 10.4.7. Hallo, naja, nicht ganz so gut …. Gruss Andreas __________________ Powermac G5 Dual-Core 2.0GHz, Cinema Display 23", iBook G4 1GHz, iPod 4G 20GB "Wir sehen die Dinge nicht wie sie sind, sondern wie WIR sind …." [...]

  • 136. Paddy Hamilton  |  July 31st, 2006 at 07:39

    There’s an old adage in the medical profession: “IF THERE ARE A LOT OF REMEDIES ON THE MARKET, FOR A COMPLAINT, CHANCES ARE NONE OF THEM ARE ANY GOOD” – paraphrased from Hippocrates.

    All but SuperDuper! appear to be ’snake oil’.

  • 137. bilbo--baggins  |  August 18th, 2006 at 20:34

    Chris Howard – you can retrieve files from Backup packages, after problems in the past I made sure I could do this manually before I decided to use it regularly.

    However, I do also use Deja Vu to backup to a different volume so that I’m not putting all of my eggs in one basket.

    Retrospect Express – came free with my WD My Book Pro. When I tried using it’s ‘configure DVD writer’ option it froze, and a forced quit completely crashed OS X (kernel panic I presume). I cannot trust software that crashes, particularly for such an important function as backup.

    I will be very interested to see how much Time Machine (announced feature of Leopard) solves these backup issues. In principle it sounds fantastic.

  • 138. Agent  |  August 29th, 2006 at 11:20

    I’d really love it if you released your test script…

    That and a post on how well rdiff works would be excellent.

    Particiularly since rdiff can be used over ssh and could be used instead of rsync. Which is a mess.

  • 139. Blogaholic: Getting thing&hellip  |  August 30th, 2006 at 08:55

    [...] Diese Einschränkungen führten dazu, dass ich mich um eine zusätzliche Backup-Lösung bemüht habe. Nachdem ich in einem früheren Beitrag festgestellt habe, dass es nicht ganz einfach ist, Resource Forks und Metadaten unter OS X zu sichern, hat es mich umso mehr gefreut als ich rdiff-backup entdeckt habe. Damit ist es möglich, eine Datensicherung über SSH auf einen entfernten Server durchzuführen und auch wiederherzustellen. Auf dem entfernten Server muss dazu ebenfalls rdiff-backup installiert sein. Die Kommentare zu dieser Software klingen sehr viel versprechend: Scott Lamb | April 28th, 2006 at 04:12: [...]

  • 140. seki  |  September 5th, 2006 at 12:01

    How about rdiff-backup? http://www.nongnu.org/rdiff-backup/

    They also claim that it preserves all information.

  • 141. Sandy Parker  |  September 8th, 2006 at 02:28

    Re: Mac’s own Backup. You do not need a .mac.com account to use this. It can be downloaded at: http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/backup.html and will back up to any external HD, to CD or DVD. I have used it regularly – but never having had the need to restore (! crossed fingers) – cannot comment on its reliability. Currently using 10.4.7 on a G4

  • 142. PeterW  |  September 8th, 2006 at 12:19

    Can you tell me whether the recommendations you make apply to cloning/disk imaging as much as to backup please. I have been a regular user of Carbon Copy Cloner/ASR to create bootable clones up to 10.3.9, and haven’t hit any metadata-related snags(aliases weren’t included in the config). I now have to recommend a solution for others to use (in Tiger).

  • 143. Tom  |  September 9th, 2006 at 06:30

    Has anyone here tried “LaCie Backup”, it came with my LaCie hardrive it seems quite good… Although I don’t know the technical specs much… It’s simple which is what I like. One disturbing fact is that a LaCie techy said not to use it over “SilverKeeper” I found that wierd…

  • 144. Apfhex  |  September 17th, 2006 at 09:04

    Excellent resource. Has anyone tried arRsync? It’s a basic GUI front end to rsync, Tiger compatible, Universal Binary. Plus is has an irresistibly fun name.

    It’s easy to find a goood clone backup utility (SuperDuper!) but it’s much harder to find a good specific file/folder backup synching utility.

  • 145. SuperDuper oder CCC? - Ap&hellip  |  September 17th, 2006 at 15:39

    [...] permalink SuperDuper! sichert im Gegensatz zu den meisten anderen Programmen die Metadaten korrekt. ich bin ziemlich begeistert von dem Programm. Es sichert sehr schnell und kreiert eine bootfähige Partition auf dem Sicherungslaufwerk. Wenn das gesicherte Laufwerk ausfällt, kann man sofort von der Externen booten, ohne aufwändig neu zu installieren. In Zukunft könnte Time Machine in Leopard noch eine bessere Alternative sein. __________________ » Äh, Mr. Tod, könnten Sie uns erklären, warum wir alle gleichzeitig gestorben sind?! « » Die Lachsschaumspeise. « [...]

  • 146. humorlessbitch&hellip  |  September 18th, 2006 at 05:31

    Quelle Horror!…

    Mac Backup Software that is Harmful?

    How can zis be?

    Becozz eet eats opp all ze metadata?

    Let me give you my own personal take on that: …

  • 147. SeeN  |  September 19th, 2006 at 11:47

    very good indeed! thx for bring us such a good article!

  • 148. JimJ  |  October 7th, 2006 at 18:37

    Maurits:

    I have been reeding and rereading your articles and the subsequent discussion on Mac OS X metedata, cloning, and backup for two days now. Thanks for all the good work!

    I thought I saw you mention somewhere that you might provide your test setup (the “particularly mean set of files and folders” with various metedata, and the script to test the results), but now I can’t find the note where it was mentioned…

    Anyway, I think it would be great for you to publish that somehow. It could become a standard test for Mac copy/clone/archive/backup/restore software. Further, it might relieve you of some of the requests to test yet another package the rest of us never heard of before. You can just give them the test suite and say “test it yourself”.

    I for one would love to have the test suite to do some testing of my own, which I would be happy to report back to the discussion…

  • 149. Robert Tynes  |  October 22nd, 2006 at 21:38

    Maurits,

    I don’t know if you are continuing to monitor these posts, but thanks for the informative article –espaecially regarding metadata preservation, which is obviously an important consideration. Have you had a chance to review Synk 6, since it was released. It seems that perhaps for those of us that need an easy user interface, that this program may be a good option, as it does preserve metadata files as well.

    You mention that there are better forums for comparing backup tools’ features or usability aspects. Where might those forums be found?

  • 150. maurits  |  October 22nd, 2006 at 21:50

    yes, i do continue monitoring the comments.

    And I wish I’d already had the time to test Synk 6, as well as Chronosynch 3.3. These are on my list.

    Regarding more info on backup tools, Google is your friend :)

  • 151. Robert Tynes  |  October 22nd, 2006 at 21:57

    Also, have you reviewed Retrospect’s latest release for intel iMacs RetrospectExpress 6.1 w/ update 6.1.8 xx? Or would you just say stay away from that for iMac intel users, too?

  • 152. maurits  |  October 22nd, 2006 at 22:05

    Everything I’ve reviewed I’ve written about.

  • 153. Ashley Aitken  |  October 24th, 2006 at 02:18

    Great work Maurits!

    If I understand it correctly you were testing whether each backup software preserves all the possible metadata associated with a file (as well as the data, of course). This is a very important starting point, which I would have hoped all the commercial backup software vendors would have had covered (within their testing). Unfortunately it seems that they didn’t, or at least weren’t open about the results. I think, perhaps, that some also thought by using Apple’s engine (ditto or the engine used by Disk Utility) that everything would be ok – shame on Apple for not making this the case.

    Of course, preserving metadata is only one (very important part) of backup. I am not suggesting that you test the others but users should be aware that features like cloning versus incremental backups are important too. Most users should know that they very probably need an incremental backup solution rather than just a clone (because, as others have said, cloning a corrupted file generally deletes the previous good version). Of course, there are uses for cloning as well, but one should feel a little less comfortable with cloning as a backup substitute.

    Finally, I would be very interested in seeing the results for Apple’s Backup, which others have mentioned does work in a limited form without .Mac membership. As this is Apple’s provided and supported backup tool one would hope that it preserves all the metadata (especially if it is to be used as the engine for Time Machine). I worry that Backup maybe using the same engine as Disk Utility though.

    Thanks again for taking the evaluation of backup software seriously. A lot of people (including me) do a backup and one or two restores and everything “looks” ok. However, this is a very dangerous false sense of security (as you have shown). Unless one actually tests that every bit of metadata and data is preserved (starting with single files and then with directory structures etc.) one can be let down when it really counts.

    Cheers, Ashley.

  • 154. Moofo  |  November 8th, 2006 at 16:32

    In the list above, if it can”t backup to tape and can’t take network clients, it’s not a backup program.

    Backups to HD are not serious backups. Tapes are much more efficient way to store data. In the end they cost less as well, since, just in AIT 2 Turbo, you can store about 100 GB of data in a cartridge (this is real world, the tapes are actually 80/208) at about 600 – 700 Mb minutes, which is wicked fast, with little overhead to the CPU; the drive is doing the whole compression.

    Also, keep in mind the cost. AIT-2 turbo tapes cost between 35 -50 $ and they are much more convenient to carry and use. You can keep a big “delta” of documents in case you find a corrupted documents months later.

    Drives are expensive, but they have a long MTBF.

    There are a slew of FireWire or USB-2 Tape drives, and those should be considered.

    Bru should definitely be tested.

  • 155. cec  |  November 13th, 2006 at 01:51

    Western digital now ships its 300G maxtor hard drive with a backup program called maxtor onetouch. Not retrospect, which I agree works well for regular tape backups. Onetouch took all day, only backed up a small part of my hard drive. Gave up, went back to silverkeeper 1.1.4.

  • 156. triforge  |  November 14th, 2006 at 03:42

    Have you looked into the duplicate feature in Retrospect 6.1 It would be interesting to see how it compares against Super Duper

  • 157. triforge  |  November 14th, 2006 at 03:47

    Sorry, i see it now, What about the regular backup and restore function of Retrospect not the duplication function how does this compare

  • 158. Erfahrungen mit dem Backu&hellip  |  November 16th, 2006 at 13:25

    [...] Zitat von Nettuser Natürlich geht das, nur eben nicht mit der kostenlosen Version. Bezahl die Superdupergute Software und du bekommst das was du wünschst. Gruß Nettuser Ein sog. inkrementelles Backup geht also tatsächlich mit der registrierten SuperDuper!-Version? Da wurde ich falsch informiert. D.h.: die auf dem Mac zwischenzeitlich gelöschten bzw. erneuerten Dateien bleiben im schon getätigten Backup erhalten – neben den neuen. Sie werden aber wohl nicht separat abgelegt wie bei Synk, nämlich dort in einem Archiv-Ordner. Hier schneidet SuperDuper! mit Abstand am besten ab, Synk 6 ist hier noch nicht getestet: -> plasticsfuture » Mac Backup Software Harmful http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/…tware-harmful/ -> plasticsfuture » The State of Backup and Cloning Tools under Mac OS X http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/…nder-mac-os-x/ [...]

  • 159. Richard  |  November 21st, 2006 at 06:22

    I would be interested to know how SubRosaSoft’s CopyCatX 4 performs in your tests. They claim that it is appreciably faster than SD or CCC. That would be nice, but of little use unless the result is comparable to SD. SD works fine for me otherwise.

    They have a trial download.

  • 160. Merlin Hartley  |  November 29th, 2006 at 16:24

    I am intrigued that no-one seems to have mentioned rsync under Tiger (using the -aE switch for dates/resource forks)…

    Come on, the Terminal isn’t that scary! :)

    I am also surprised that rsync does not have a plethora of front-ends written for it (perhaps RsyncX could permit use of other commands in the background)

  • 161. David McCabe  |  December 16th, 2006 at 08:46

    I’m afraid I don’t have time to read all of these comments, so if somebody else has suggested this, you have my apologies.

    I want both cloning and incremental backups (in my view, the later is absolutely necessary, and it’s saved my bacon many times over the years). rdiff-backup is very good at making incrementals, but it doesn’t support metadata, breaks over SMB, etc. So my solution is:

    I make an image using SuperDuper. Then, I make incrementals on that image using rdiff-backup. Presto, best of both worlds.

    I have a serious concern with SuperDuper, though, which is that it never says exactly what it’s doing, and when it runs into an error, it’s not always possible to figure out what happen. This makes me very unconfident in it; coming from Unix, I’m used to being able to find out exactly what’s going on.

  • 162. Grant Jacobs  |  December 18th, 2006 at 01:36

    I’d really appreciate a test of Tolis’ BRU LE.

    I did my own survey some time ago on a different issue (file/directory/alias/link conflicts) and found to my horror that almost all applications failed in various ways.

    I now feel extremely reluctant to use any backup software that doesn’t explicitly post comprehensive tables of what is preserved, what happens in given “conflict” situations, when a backup is interrupted, etc.

    Without this I have not evidence that they’ve covered everything and would have to do extensive testing of my own. My experience of testing the “conflict” situations has left me very wary of existing backup solutions.

  • 163. PF  |  December 20th, 2006 at 08:34

    Hi did syncupx authors contact you re the shortcomings? I know they’ve recently renamed it to SmartBackup 2.0, I was wondering if the issues were addressed?

  • 164. CCC Backup Größe & &hellip  |  December 30th, 2006 at 14:39

    [...] permalink …nachdem ich in einem anderen Thread über eine wirklich guten Vergleich vieler Backuplösungen gestoßen bin, werde ich es erstmal mit SuperDuper probieren… VG, ntrc __________________ ntrc.de – Mein Photoblog | weidel.cc – Mein Weblog diplomlogistik.de – Meine Ausbildung | arvato-logistics-services.de – Mein Job [...]

  • 165. Tom Moore  |  January 1st, 2007 at 19:17

    I’ve been using Synk for several years on a “home folder only” backup philosophy, so clearly I’m not trying to get instantaneous recovery on a duplicate disk. I backup my laptop home folder to an external drive daily, then back that up to my desktop computer at least annually, when I create a new folders for current year Documents. The desktop computer has everything on it that I need to function while recovering the laptop, and accumulates all my old Documents and Mail folders from over 20 years at present so this is also an archival system, with annual copies to CD and now DVD. Of course some very old files are going to be difficult to open, which is particularly annoying for Mail.app 1.0 mboxes.

    I’m not smart enough to reformat my external drives to HFS, so it’s important to me that my backup solution not be picky about that. SuperDuper insists on an HFS formatted drive, so it’s out for me until I get time for a full erase of my backup drive.

  • 166. Cloning my hard drive - M&hellip  |  January 4th, 2007 at 01:22

    [...] One difference between SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner when it comes to basic cloning appears to concern metadata. __________________ -HI- [...]

  • 167. hociman  |  January 4th, 2007 at 02:55

    Retrospect Workgroup v6.1.126 does NOT copy ACLs during a duplicate operation. That much is certain. There is a thread about this at http://forums.dantz.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Board=Desktopworkgrupx&Number=91808&Searchpage=1&Main=91808&Words=ACL&topic=&Search=true#Post91808

  • 168. Tom Hawkins  |  January 5th, 2007 at 12:13

    Impression is now at version 3.3. Can anyone comment on whether this version fixes the problems identified, and whether it can be considered ’supported’ by its new vendors ineedyoursoftware?

  • 169. Backing up your Mac relia&hellip  |  January 6th, 2007 at 18:40

    [...] Today I can across an extensive review of backup software, from the perspective of preserving metadata (which if you have as much music and take as many pictures with EXIF data as I do – is essential). The outcome of the review is that basically SuperDuper is the only backup software that preserves everything correctly. And you can’t really ask for much more than that!! [...]

  • 170. Ray B  |  January 7th, 2007 at 20:01

    Let me preface this by saying that I NEVER post internet blogs and such.

    With that said, I felt there was a bit too much “do this, do that, blah, blah”, and not enough “thanks very much for shining a llight on this issue to the guy who did the research.”

    This post, and the original which I read before, are the parents of the next generation of updates and sadly (but rightly), decisions not to update.

    Bottom line, you have gotten people thinking about real metadata level backup quality and affected countless software pieces with consious authors.

    I read everything in both posts and am not quite clear on what my incremental best choice is. I already own Deja Vu. Is that satisfactory or terrible based on your research for incremental backup? I should say, is there an obvious best choice? I know this was not your original intention, i’m asking your opinion because you have my respect.

    Also, before I make any purchases, is there a projected time that you will release your next tests that I should wait for (ie tests of new Chronosync, and others of the most promising titles.) I would not blame you if you never did another test though. I see a group mailing of test suite and instructions to so-called developers that must be using rocks and flint to make their programs if these things aren’t tested already.

    AGAIN, YOU SHOULD BE COMMENDED FOR THESE POSTS AND EVERY1 HERE WHO DIDN’T THANK YOU IN POST KIND OF SUCKS.

    Maybe Mac users aren’t used to choices…heh, and don’t know how to react properly to someone’s hard work in this area.

    Thanks,

    Ray

  • 171. www.macrobug.com» B&hellip  |  January 12th, 2007 at 11:23

    [...] Most Mac backup software is considered harmful. Before that post came out (in April 06) I was using Impression, but that post revealed shortcomings in the way Impression works. [...]

  • 172. Tony  |  January 14th, 2007 at 15:43

    I too would like to see your comments on SubRosaSoft’s CopyCatX 4. This appears to be the only software that can clone both OS X and the Boot Camp partition when duplicating a device. As CopyCatX does sector copying, I would suspect that there would be perfect preservation of all metadata.

  • 173. Nik  |  January 16th, 2007 at 14:30

    Thanks so much for this invaluable series of articles!

    I would love to see you do an updated version for some of the graphical tools. In particular, take another look at Chronosync and SuperDuper!.

    In my own tests (copies a metadata-packed file from a disk image to another image and to the local filesystem), I found that the latest version of Chronosync maintains ALL metadata, dates, etc.; whereas the much-praised SuperDuper! got everything except for custom extended attributes (I wrote in a couple attributes from the command line and the file also had a “cursor position” property from TextMate — both were lost). Resource forks transferred fine.

    I didn’t test ACLs since I dont’ have an ACL-enabled filesystem and thus don’t care too much.

  • 174. freezinginmi  |  January 16th, 2007 at 20:19

    I find it interesting reading through these comments that when anyone trashes software other than SuperDuper, no one defends it. Then, when SD is trashed, “sjk” comes to the rescue (check #33, 56, & 82, 83). Makes me a tad skeptical, why not just let the comment stand for what it is – someone’s experience with the software? (Who’s betting that if I had something bad to say about SD…). Having said that, I’m sure SD, Deja Vu, CCC, Synk, CloneX, etc. are all better than the waste of space that comes with WD external drives. My computer started acting funny the minute I installed it. And I deleted it before it crashed and forced me to waste more hours cleaning up the mess (now why did I pay xtra for the premium ed? oh yeah, firewire). Which is what eventually led me to this site, which has given much needed information, so thanks! Good to know there are more choices than what the apple store offers. None of them were reviewed very highly, including Intego’s Personal Backup X4, which some have been clamoring about here. I think I’m gonna stick with Silverkeeper while awaiting round 2. I understand if that doesn’t happen, Maurits, I’m sure your test was pretty time-consuming. Again, thanks for the public service!!

  • 175. Undecided  |  January 24th, 2007 at 10:13

    Based on good reports elsewhere, I decided to try SuperDuper to make what I thought would be an exact copy of my hard drive to an external LaCie firewire HD.

    Firstly, you can’t fault the interface: very clear and simple. What intrigues me, is that it states, somewhere along the line, that a number of files aren’t copied – and in compliance with Apple’s own advice.

    Secondly, when I booted up from the external HD to test it, I found that one of my programs needed to be re-authorised, because the ’system id was no longer valid’ – thereby jettisoning what I thought was the stored and transferred password info. Is this an issue with Tiger or SuperDuper? Or am I just neglecting to do something really obvious?

  • 176. tyler  |  January 26th, 2007 at 19:26

    I am another person who had superduper fail badly. I purchased it and wish it worked more reliably. I did contact tech support and they were unable to help.

    Note that it doesn’t seem to do the thing I really need which is incremental backups with all the various versions available. You never know when the data will get corrupted and how long it’ll be before you notice. I had a HD go bad over the course of several months and had to pull date out in pieces from a set of retrospect DAT taps (os 9 days).

    I appreciate the info on retrospects limitations. I’ve been using it so long that I haven’t re-evaluated it’s functionality in OS X well enough.

    thanks. tyler

  • 177. Bruce  |  January 26th, 2007 at 20:47

    There’s a new remote backup software system as ov Jan 2006 called CrashPlan that it would be interesting to have tested. Thanks for a great article! -Bruce

  • 178. Mario S. De Pillis, Sr.  |  January 27th, 2007 at 00:08

    Many thanks, Maurits for your wonderful set of tests.

    I’ve used many of the programs mentioned, all the way back to DiskFit. Having lost ten years of work in a faulty backup in 1990, I am a fanatic about backup, and back up to four external drives of four different brands (La Cie, WiebeTech, OWC G-drive, and Glyph GT050Quad) I was glad to see that the two programs I have used pass muster: SuperDuper and Synch ProX. I have given up on Super Duper because I dislike its interface, its crude feedback, and its language (“sandbox”). I have read almost all the comments and did not find one that faulted SynchProX. I am not surprised. I find it one of the best Mac programs I have ever used. Moreover, it is kept up to date and the support is flawless. But since it has been something of a sleeper in this discussion I wanted to state the above for the record.

  • 179. geezer  |  January 27th, 2007 at 07:30

    Interesting and informative! I’m retired from being a tech, certified with both Mac & PC’s. (PC certs required by employers.) As a forever Mac geek, I have never found backup software I trusted. Personally, I save data copies and ignore apps and other crap I can reinstall. That said, MY personal Mac GURU’s always swore by Retrospect, and still use it administrating hundreds of Macs.

    Like FileMaker, I have no desire to learn volumes of documentation and jump through hoops, just to create a database. Likewise with Retrospect. I’ve tried using it in basic modes, and backups verified every time. However, I have NEVER had a successful restore with Retrospect, and even attempts of partial recovery ended up hosed, since it uses a proprietary format, and none of the data was recoverable.

    If I want headaches, I can run a PC. It’s bad enough OSX is now PC-like garbage bloatware. Worse will be Leopard 10.5. It will be almost identical in function, DRM, phone-home, and similar failures (features?) to Vista… Backups? Drag your contacts and resumes to an external drive, if you want to preserve your data!

  • 180. Jose Moran  |  February 4th, 2007 at 23:46

    Intego has Trial Period Software

    http://www.intego.com/demo/

    They don’t have in each products page, but I found it.

    I would be nice if you review it.

  • 181. Digital Fury  |  February 8th, 2007 at 08:38

    Nice article but I just wanted to mention that while SD! is a fine tool, it cannot make restored RAID system disks bootable again.

    My system disk on my Mac Pro is made up of 4x Raptor 150 in a RAID-0 configuration and while I use SD! to clone/sync it to two external copies (drives), which are bootable themselves, I cannot restore from them – the Mac won’t boot. I guess some initial and critical files that should reside on a single drive actually get stripped too, thus making the RAID set unbootable.

    I use “asr -source Y -target X” to restore and it works (and boots) fine.

  • 182. stevejolly  |  February 9th, 2007 at 19:34

    Thanks for the very helpful review, Maurits!

    Seems like it’s been a while since you’ve responded to the overspilling comments cornucopia, here. Any specific responses, or does your silence mean that we’re getting close to a general update?

    There are some new and important comments, here, and I’m eager to see your thoughts on some of the backup software updates and new entries.

    For example, howzabout the distinction between file / volume (“device”) basis for cloning a drive? I’m thinking of CopycatX, which positions itself as THE “device-copying” solution — and I’m tempted to give it a try. I remember from the “older” pre-X days that a full bit-copy, device-copy of a volume seemed to preserve more of the data that was needed. One real-world consequence of the advantage of using full “device-copying” was the elimination of licensing re-authorization, etc. (in other words, I didn’t need to re-authenticate ANY of my software, vs. the usual backup experience).

    So, I’m really looking forward to seeing what your thoughts on the CopycatX approach to total backup. Anything off-the-top that you’d like to say? I’m considering adding it to my industrial-strength (currently SuperDuper-based) backup routine.

    What I mean by “adding it” is this: I’ve always assumed that two GREAT backups using different bullet-proof methods beats a one-tool backup, no matter how good the “one” might be. Dual backups almost always produces total success and protection against those unforeseeable things that do, somehow, go awry. So, I usually use two backup strong tools and let ‘em supplement each other. Apparently I have too much time on my hands…. Comments?

  • 183. bugsy  |  February 14th, 2007 at 05:59

    I have been trailling Mac backup software for my wife’s design business. It’s been a bit frustrating, to say the least.

    I have just been testing iBackup and the LaCie one-click backup software that came with our external drive. iBackup seems to have preserved the file creation and modification dates of all files, while LaCie did not.

  • 184. Jonathan Rivers-Kirby  |  February 21st, 2007 at 10:03

    Thank you very much for this extensive review!

    Because of it, I switched to SuperDuper many months ago. I clone my whole system on an external drive every night with SuperDuper. It saved me already twice. I lost two hard drives (internal Intel MacBook and one external HD) and recovered my system perfectly each time with SD(except the files of the my lost day of work data). I have often switched from my original system to the cloned hard disk and each time I’ve booted and worked flawlessly.Concerning my experience, SuperDuper works far better than any solution tried before. I saw the difference right from the start.

    You review is unique to my knowledge and of very high value !!! It has already saved me dozens of hours of system recovery. Maurits, many many thanks again!! :-)

  • 185. Kip Kramer  |  March 9th, 2007 at 02:28

    Even though Retrospect has sadly progressed downward over the past few years into the sorry state that is currently version 6.1.x, I’ve gotta say that the strong features that it does have far outweigh the importance of whether or not a backup app can handle permissions, .DS_Store files, other metadata, etc.

    I’ve been a consultant coming up on 10 years, and I’d guess that well over 95% of the customers whose data I help protect don’t care if restores come back with broken permissions or other metadata – they want files back – even if it’s on a DVD-ROM.

    Permisssions can be easily fixed after a restore, and files can all be re-associated with their applications easily.

  • 186. James  |  March 14th, 2007 at 11:45

    Hello,

    Nice and extremely interesting article there but a little bit out of date now with OS X 10.4.9 being out.

    Will there be an update to it anytime soon?

    I know that it is a lot of work but so far I see that a lot of people are interested in your findings and looking forward for an update.

    Maybe if you could post a disk image with your set of test files and comparison scripts for people to download we could provide you with updated data and even data on backup software you didn’t test in order to update your review.

  • 187. Sylvain  |  March 19th, 2007 at 13:55

    Thank you very much for this comparison chart. I was just about to buy the Prosoft backup software (one click away!) when I decided to do a bit more searching, came accross super duper (less expensive) and then looked for some review site. Thank you very much for this very useful information!

  • 188. Tony the Tech  |  March 29th, 2007 at 07:00

    This post is still very useful (unfortunately). But it appears that rsync for Mac OS 10.4.9 is finally working acceptably. So now rsync is finally suitable for doing a roll-your-own backup solution.

  • 189. Brian Yamabe  |  March 30th, 2007 at 17:35

    Any chance of updating this article when the new version of Carbon Copy Cloner is released?

  • 190. Techzi » Blog Archi&hellip  |  April 4th, 2007 at 21:27

    [...] Mac Backup Software Harmful [plasticsfuture] [...]

  • 191. Complete, free Mac backup&hellip  |  April 4th, 2007 at 22:09

    [...] Mac Backup Software Harmful (and a great comparison of existing software) [...]

  • 192. Geek to Live: Complete, f&hellip  |  April 5th, 2007 at 15:33

    [...] Mac Backup Software Harmful [plasticsfuture] [...]

  • 193. David McCabe  |  April 12th, 2007 at 01:38

    My apologies if this is too far off-topic. rdiff-backup has been mentioned here a few times. I must warn you: rdiff-backup frequently bombs and destroys the destination archive. I find it to be very buggy, and the error messages that I get are not known to Google, which makes me think that they are Mac-specific errors. In theory, the way that rdiff-backup works is brilliant, because it stores only deltas, so you can make increments of multiple-gigabyte files without wasting so much space. However, it’s too buggy in my personal experience.

  • 194. Doug Bale  |  April 13th, 2007 at 14:45

    LaCie Backup Software, included on its Mobile Hard Drive and recommended by it for use with OSX 10.4.8 or later (in place of SilverKeeper) has an information-stingy interface, few options and, although it would back up individual application and document folders, failed repeatedly to make bootable backups of my entire iBook drive. It would typically spend an entire night “preparing to back up” and then never delivering. SuperDuper did the job on the first try and has remained reliable ever since. I have one question, though: An invisible folder on the iBook’s hard drive, (at the same level as Applications, Users, etc.) has been rendered visible on the backups. It’s called “dev” and contains more than 200 other files. Other invisiible files on the iBook drive, such as “etc” are still invisible when duped to the backup drives. Despite “dev” having been rendered visible, the backups still appear to boot and run work normally. Can anyone tell me why they went visible, whether it’s a problem and, if it is, what should be done about it?

  • 195. Weitblick » Blog Ar&hellip  |  April 17th, 2007 at 21:18

    [...] Mac Backup Software Harmful [...]

  • 196. Peter da Silva  |  April 24th, 2007 at 12:35

    This article completely fails to explain the recommendations.

    CCC can use either psync or ditto under the hood. Why it (or anything else) uses psync, given that my attempts to clone my Macbook Pro with PsyncX or with CCC using psync destroyed my ability to run Rosetta, but using ditto worked fine, I think you ought to go into a bit more detail as to why you “partially recommend” psync-based solutions at all.

    (yes, I realise I didn’t clone all the HFS crack with ditto. I consider that a point in its favor – Apple needs to get the metadata monkey off their back bigtime)

  • 197. fwegan  |  April 25th, 2007 at 19:04

    From the SilverKeeper manual: “Unlike other backup and archiving programs, SilverKeeper uses the Macintosh Finder to perform copy operations…”

    Doesn’t that mean that it won’t preserve ownership information? Isn’t that kind of a big problem?

    (Please excuse my ignorance if I’m missing something here.)

  • 198. Rgone  |  May 3rd, 2007 at 18:41

    This review is a refreshing (and rare) display of logical rigor for which the author is to be commended.

    I only wish I had read it a year ago and saved myself the dire consequences of using .Mac Backup.

    Attempting a Restore from this application… and its inevitable failure… will reveal that the app cannot restore iTunes, iPhoto or any other application. Do Not Use.

  • 199. TS  |  May 10th, 2007 at 11:24

    How about : BRU from the tolisgroup http://www.tolisgroup.com/

  • 200. Randy B . Singer  |  May 28th, 2007 at 08:56

    The folks at Prosoft assure me that the latest version of Data Backup, version 3.0, retains all metadata. I can’t tell you from my own experience if this is really the case, but they insist that it is true.

  • 201. Weitblick » Blog  |  May 30th, 2007 at 18:43

    Mac Backup Software Harmful (and a great comparison of existing software)

  • 202. Weitblick » Blog ago and saved myself the dire consequences of using  |  May 30th, 2007 at 18:45

    I only wish I had read it a year ago and saved myself the dire consequences of using .Mac Backup.

  • 203. Weitblick » Blog Archive » Safer Macintoshing - for free!  |  May 30th, 2007 at 18:47

    This review is a refreshing (and rare) display of logical rigor for which the author is to be commended.

  • 204. Christoph Gartmann  |  June 6th, 2007 at 08:43

    Me too, I would like to know the exact description of the badly performing Retrospect backup. Like others have pointed out: Retrospect is complicated. We run the workgroup and the server version and the results of a backup/restore with Retrospect greatly vary with the exact method and parameters used.

    Regards, Christoph Gartmann

  • 205. XX  |  June 13th, 2007 at 19:10

    Reading all this, I suppose one shouldnt rely on a single system, but rather try with several. And hope that at least one will have saved the important things…

  • 206. Confused  |  June 24th, 2007 at 23:14

    Regarding Apple Disk Utility, you say: Partially recommended (OS X 10.4.6), avoid at all cost (OS X 10.4.6)

    Which is it?

  • 207. maurits  |  June 24th, 2007 at 23:19

    Confused: that’s not what I’m saying. You missed the “<” (smaller than).

  • 208. Philip Cassel  |  July 2nd, 2007 at 00:13

    A huge thankyou for this review! I was loooking for a solution to BackityMac’s refusal to write anything to an new external Iomega HD, came to your site via Ask.com; solves much, can be seen as a gamechanger.

  • 209. Javier  |  July 3rd, 2007 at 21:52

    Have you taken a look at AOcell? it’s more of a sync software but we’re looking into it as we need a backup software that will work for both Windows and Mac Preferably. We also want syncing possabilities as we want hourly back-ups of user data. If we can’t find a Windows/Mac then we’ll probably just get Super Duper for the Macs.

    Thanks

  • 210. maurits  |  July 3rd, 2007 at 23:25

    Javier: No, I haven’t. All the questions like “Have you looked into XY?” are superfluous because if I had, I would have included it in the article.

    Please see my most recent post about how you can test for metadata preservation yourself.

    Backup Bouncer: A Metadata Test Suite

  • 211. Janet  |  July 4th, 2007 at 00:25

    Pardon my ingborance– I’ve read the entire list now, and am still wondering what is the significance and meaning of these various metadata: varying BSD flags, file ownership, resource forks, HFS+ extended attributes, and ACLs. Permissions is obvious.

    I’m wanting to know are there users for whom some of this info is not important to be preserved??

    Thanks for the info and thanks for all the good research.

  • 212. maurits  |  July 4th, 2007 at 00:33

    Janet: Please check my earlier article which explains metadata in the longest detail possible.

    It’s probably safe to assume that if you don’t know what the metadata is for, then you wouldn’t care about its loss either (absolutely no personal pun intended here). There are certainly users who couldn’t care less about metadata preservation.

    However, you may care about it later, so it doesn’t hurt to choose a good backup tool now.

    Short story: if you want to make your life a little bit more miserable, read up on the importance of certain metadata pieces. If not, just ignore ;-)

  • 213. Peter da Silva  |  July 28th, 2007 at 00:05

    OK, here’s the deal. You never did explain what the basis of your comparisons are. You “partially recommend” a program that I know preserves less of what I would have thought was genuinely critical metadata than one you “don’t recommend”, but you do make one point… you really recommend SuperDuper. Since it is free for basic use, it can’t hurt to try it.

    Of course… it’s not really a backup program, it’s a mirroring program, but given the price of backup media these days that seems to be what you’re stuck with.

    So I go to make a backup using SuperDuper.

    You know what?

    It’s missing what I would have thought was totally basic functionality for a mirroring program. You can’t select the folder the mirror is going to be rooted in. You either have to blow away the whole destination disk, or create a disk image (which uses more disk space and memory). You can’t select the folder you’re going to back up, it’s the whole disk or nothing.

    Is this what they consider advanced functionality? It doesn’t seem like it.

    PLEASE, could you go into more detail why you recommend some programs over others? What metadata are you considering essential, and what metadata are you letting slide, and why? And what basic functionality are you assuming any program should have… because SuperDuper is about the most basic non-functional backup program I’ve ever fired up.

  • 214. maurits  |  July 30th, 2007 at 20:47

    Peter: I thought it was clear, but I repeat from my post:

    The tools vary widely with respect to their feature set; the features are irrelevant here. I will concentrate purely on the underlying functionality of copying files.

    Please don’t discuss other functionality except for metadata preservation. I don’t care about that in the context of this post.

    Also, I gave a detailed description of my recommendation scale. Anybody may have different preferences or needs, so my recommendation may not apply. For those cases, you can find the raw results in the comparison and form your own opinion.

  • 215. maurits  |  August 21st, 2007 at 00:18

    I am happy to report that the state of metadata continues to improve gradually. Impression has been resurrected by I Need Your Software. They write in to say:

    I would like to inform you that Impression is not discontinued at all. As far as the issues that you describe, Impression 4.0 fixes these issues and should be available around the time that Leopard ships from Apple.
  • 216. Ian Cheong  |  August 21st, 2007 at 05:59

    Fantastic work. I’m still looking for a properly functional reliable synchronization/backup solution. Hopefully Leopard’s Time Machine will solve the issue of corrupt files overwriting good ones in a sync.

    I was wondering about Duover, which seems to fix many functionality problems of other programs.

    If you are busy, perhaps you would consider making the test files available so users can help you test updates of programs? Especially if there is a simple tool for analysing the results.

  • 217. maurits  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 12:51

    Ian: please see my recent post about Backup Bouncer. Given that this tool exists I won’t publish my test files.

  • 218. Ian Cheong  |  August 22nd, 2007 at 23:44

    The work here clearly fuelled development of Backup Bouncer.

    I have run Backup Bouncer on Duover. Results no better than other not-recommended programs at present.

    For what it’s worth, it appears the problems could be in Apples Carbon file I/O libraries….which means: a. Apple should take responsibility b. a keen developer could modify the Carbon code and submit to Apple.

  • 219. Ian Cheong  |  August 30th, 2007 at 12:30

    rsync 2.6.6 patched by lart and darwinports team is getting closer to working properly.

    http://rsync-lart.darwinports.com/

    At least being open source, a keen programmer could fix the remaining bugs.

  • 220. Ian Cheong  |  September 1st, 2007 at 23:53

    This post suggests a problem lies in Darwin’s copyfile() – see last entry: http://www.afp548.com/article.php?story=2007042408593573

    At least that could explain why all the software that depends on copyfile() has problems. Code for copyfile() is public but need an Apple developer login to see it.

  • 221. maurits  |  September 2nd, 2007 at 01:01

    yes, of course copyfile() is to blame for many problems – as I wrote in my earlier article.

    Anyway, nice and interesting article that you’re linking to.

  • 222. Yuhong Bao  |  September 6th, 2007 at 06:43

    It has said twice in the comments that Retrospect preserves more metadata in a full volume backup than an individual file backup. Please retest Retrospect with a full volume backup.

  • 223. maurits  |  September 9th, 2007 at 18:03

    Yuhong: please test yourself, the tools are there (see my most recent post).

  • 224. rik  |  September 19th, 2007 at 19:55

    I would like to use DAR “Disk Archive”, a program similar to tar+rsync+bzip2+gpg+ftp, which I use in my Linux box. I would like to know how to check those metadata when restoring. I’m new to Mac (I come from Linux) so I’m a bit puzzled with all this metadata stuff. ¿Anyone has tried it?

    http://dar.linux.free.fr/

  • 225. Jack Hawkins  |  September 19th, 2007 at 20:41

    Maurits:

    First let me thank you for the time and effort you’ve put into this extremely important topic.

    I’m not very familiar with the Mac OS X file system but recently I did need to back up the OS partitions on a couple of Macs (my PowerBook G4 and my Intel Mac Mini).

    My goal was to create bootable partitions on an external FW HDD so that I could recover from drive failure quickly. The idea was to run from the external drive while awaiting a replacement internal drive. After replacing the internal drive clone from the external drive to the internal drive.

    I chose CCC 2.3 as my tool (since 3.0 was in Beta) and it was free, and I’d heard/read many good things about it. I ran CCC to clone each machine to its own partition on the external HDD.

    As far as I could tell everything worked as expected. That is, I could boot each machine from the fresh clones, browse directories, access data, connect to networks etc.

    So, my question is:

    What are the symptoms of incorrectly copied metadata? How can I confirm/deny whether or not I’m really cloning the volume?

  • 226. rik  |  September 26th, 2007 at 19:33

    Using Backup Bouncer I’ve made tests to DAR “Disk Archive” and I’ve found this interesting results:

    Verifying: basic-permissions ... ok Verifying: timestamps ... Sub-test: modification time ... ok ok Verifying: symlinks ... ok Verifying: symlink-ownership ... ok Verifying: hardlinks ... ok Verifying: resource-forks ... ok Verifying: finder-flags ... ok Verifying: finder-locks ... ok Verifying: creation-date ... ok Verifying: bsd-flags ... ok Verifying: extended-attrs ... Sub-test: on files ... ok Sub-test: on directories ... ok Sub-test: on symlinks ... ok ok Verifying: access-control-lists ... Sub-test: on files ... ok Sub-test: on dirs ... ok ok Verifying: fifo ... ok Verifying: devices ... ok Verifying: combo-tests ... Sub-test: xattrs + rsrc forks ... ok Sub-test: lots of metadata ... FAIL FAIL

    I this is correct, this little gem could the best one around.

  • 227. rik  |  September 26th, 2007 at 19:57

    I’m sorry, the results above are wrong.

    These are the good ones:

    Verifying: basic-permissions ... ok Verifying: timestamps ... Sub-test: modification time ... ok ok Verifying: symlinks ... ok Verifying: symlink-ownership ... ok Verifying: hardlinks ... ok Verifying: resource-forks ... ok Verifying: finder-flags ... ok Verifying: finder-locks ... FAIL Verifying: creation-date ... FAIL Verifying: bsd-flags ... FAIL Verifying: extended-attrs ... Sub-test: on files ... ok Sub-test: on directories ... ok Sub-test: on symlinks ... ok ok Verifying: access-control-lists ... Sub-test: on files ... FAIL Sub-test: on dirs ... FAIL FAIL Verifying: fifo ... FAIL Verifying: devices ... FAIL Verifying: combo-tests ... Sub-test: xattrs + rsrc forks ... ok Sub-test: lots of metadata ... FAIL FAIL

    I think DAR isn’t good enough.

  • 228. Michael Vilain  |  September 29th, 2007 at 16:58

    You may as well cross Impression off your list. The web site for it on I Need Your Software’s site has been taken down and they’re now selling wallpapers. Either the company is gone or they’ve finally admitted they’re in over their heads.

  • 229. Caden  |  October 7th, 2007 at 19:26

    So, what software is my Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus using for its backups? Just bought it so I’m assuming it’s up-to-date software. It just calls itself “Maxtor Manager”. I installed it because it came with the drive, with a universal binary, and appears to work but I cannot tell whether it messes stuff up. Oh, and I didn’t want to just work around it because the Manager allows me to set a drivepass drive-locking password.

    I suppose I can just start using Time Machine when I get Leopard..

  • 230. Alex ljubimov  |  November 17th, 2007 at 10:43

    Dear Maurits, Your article made quite a splash in the Mac community and on MacFixit forums. Currently, SuperDuper is not available for Leopard/10.5 Mac OS. However, Carbon Copy Cloner version 3 has been released and apparently works with 10.5.1. Their site says that CCC performs “…copying every single block or file to create an exact replica of your source hard drive. CCC’s block-level copy offers the absolute best fidelity in the industry!” Does this mean that they have improved since version 2 and it can now be recommended? Does CCC need to be retested by your method? Thanks in advance for your reply.

  • 231. Fons Rademakers  |  November 25th, 2007 at 22:46

    Just tested CCC 3.0.1 with bbouncer 0.1.2 and all tests did pass sucessfully on Leopard 10.5.1.

    • -Fons
  • 232. Blog 2&hellip  |  December 19th, 2007 at 16:37

    [...] Mac Backup Software Harmful [...]

  • 233. KrushR  |  February 5th, 2008 at 03:20

    Has anyone tested TotalMedia Backup by ArcSoft? It’s a program that comes with the Pininfarina model of the SimpleTech’s Simpledrive. I bought the drive a few months ago with my new MacBook Pro. It took a while to get working, as the “advanced backup” would consistently freeze up the software.

    Anyway, a few updates later and it backs up my files to my drive. It’s fairly fast, but I haven’t tested it beyond restoring random files. How can I test the validity of the files with regards to the criteria you test for, metadata and whatnot?

    oh, and thanks for this massive page. it’s got a TON of great info, and some interesting characters. :D

  • 234. robin  |  February 7th, 2008 at 22:38

    Great resource here.

    I have a suggestion: this information is most valuable if kept up-to-date.

    Yes, Maurits could do this, but I’m sure he’s busy – and quite rightly so – with other stuff. It’s enough that he took the initiative to put this material here in the first place.

    So my thought is that we have a bunch of volunteers who use bbounce to test successive updates of one application each. This info could be collated and put up for all to benefit from. Commercial product developers could supply their own apps, although it is always good to have independent data.

    I took a look at bbounce but I’m rubbish at that stuff and my efforts are best spent doing things I’m good at.

    So I could collate the results and publish them on my website (no advertising).

    Anybody interested? email rob åt tohunga døt co døt uk

    thanks!

    Robin

  • 235. robin  |  February 7th, 2008 at 22:46

    I hasten to add that if Maurits would prefer to be the maintainer of such data, I am of course fine with that – he took the initiative in the first place.

    Disclosure: my interest in this initiative is probably similar to most other visitors here: to find good solid info about the state of Mac backup apps.

    Cheers.

  • 236. maurits  |  February 7th, 2008 at 23:08

    robin – thanks for the initiative! Any effort to collect up-to-date information is highly appreciated on my side. My experience has shown that publicizing results does raise awareness and does change apps. I’m always happy to see the state of metadata improve further. Only don’t expect any significant contribution from myself in the near future.

  • 237. johannes  |  February 8th, 2008 at 07:11

    I haven’t gone through the whole lot so my questionmight semem unnecessary: How did you test those programmes?

    I’d really like to perform those test on some of the recent versions and due to some holiday I even have the time for doing it… :-)

  • 238. johannes  |  February 8th, 2008 at 07:15

    ok, i just saw robin’s post. I’d like to volunteer, but I’ve never dealt with the programme. So, if you could give a little how-to algorithm I’d certainly join the force.

  • 239. robin  |  February 12th, 2008 at 07:58

    suggestion: somebody in-the-know about bbouncer post a how-to for people to get going with it, so we can take advantage of people’s clearly socially-minded willingness to do some testing (thanks johannes).

    robin

  • 240. zoltan  |  February 13th, 2008 at 04:25

    Bravo!

    This is one of the most significant articles on MAC maintenace on the internet. Hats off to the author Maurits. And many thanks for keeping this website alive for all to learn from.

  • 241. lst  |  February 14th, 2008 at 07:24

    Yeah! I think the idea of having a central repository for all the Backup Bouncer results is a great idea. inik.net also has a set of interesting articles about metadata backup. So what’s the best way to go about it? Perhaps a wiki?

    Also, I’ve been reading a related article, http://inik.net/node/151 (there is a interesting set of test results here too), which points out that Finder Copy does a pretty good job of preserving metadata. Finder Copy in 10.4.11 does seem to do a decent job of copy metadata. It seems possible to create a read/write disk image with Disk Utility and copy the files into it. What is strange is that the metadata attributes are not visible in Get Info when the file is examined in the mounted disk image. However, once you copy the file out of the disk image, the metadata shows up again in Get Info.

    I’m going to try to figure out how to use Backup Bouncer later. It seems Super Duper! is a good choice, I am also experimenting with Chronosync and CCC. After doing some googling, it seems that the updated version of Chronosync handles metadata fairly well, but I still need to test this for myself.

    Also of interest, according to forums.bombich.com “ASR is the primary engine, with rsync for the incrementals.” http://forums.bombich.com/viewtopic.php?t=9741&highlight=metadata

    So I guess this means any weaknesses in ASR or rsync will be reflected in CCC’s backups. Unfortunately CCC’s developer doesn’t seem to be too interested in preserving metadata. :4a7d3d609129a9296bf7ac0608c2097

    So here’s my list for more extensive testing: 1. Finder copy in 10.4.11. (I’m also curious about Finder copy in 10.5.2 if anyone wants to try it out ;)) 2. Chronosync 3. Super Duper!

    So does anyone else have opinions or more info about the latest versions of these programs or other programs worth examining?

  • 242. lst  |  February 14th, 2008 at 07:36

    So, what is the status of database on metadata backup programs now?

    Also, does anyone have data on how well Time Machine preserves metadata? I’m curious as what kind of problems hard links may cause. It seems Chronosync may be a better option for data where you want to preserve old versions of a file as well old versions of it’s metadata. In my experience, Super Duper seems to create only one copy of your files, and it doesn’t seem that multiple versions of the same file are supported within one backup.

  • 243. Tipps zu rsync unter Mac &hellip  |  March 2nd, 2008 at 00:54

    [...] Früher war ja bekanntlich alles besser, zumindest war es zu Mac OS 8/9 Zeiten einfach, ein Backup zu Erstellen – entweder mit dem prof. Backupprogramm Retrospect oder einfach per Hand auf eine andere Festplatte – sogar der Systemordner überstand das und man konnte ohne Probleme mit der anderen Festplatte dann hochfahren.Mit Mac OS X wurde die Thematik deutlich komplizierter, auch wenn auf Websites wie Macupdate.com weit über 30 Backupprogramme aufgelistet werden, so wirklich perfekt funktionieren nur ganz wenige, wie Maurits in aufwändigen Tests feststellen musste. Schuld daran haben bei manchen Backup-Programmen die seit dem Mac OS X-Zeitalter erstmals auftauchenden Zugriffsberechtigungen und auch bei den Metadaten und Resscourceforks gibt es für Backup-Programme einiges zu beachten – von durch “drag and drop”-bootbaren Festplatten ganz zu schweigen.Kurz gesagt, wenn man einfach von lokaler Festplatte zu lokaler Festplatte backupen möchte (und keine “fancy” Dinge wie inkrementell benötigt), verwendet man am besten das Programm SuperDuper. Dieses kann mit sämtlichen Metadaten umgehen, zudem hatte ich in der Praxis bis jetzt noch nie Stabilitätsprobleme mit diesem Programm, was ich zB. von Silverkeeper, DataBackup oder DejaVue nicht behaupten kann.Ãœber Netzwerk würde ich rsync empfehlen. Dieses ist mit dem 10.4.9 Update von Apple deutlich verbessert worden (genaueres kann man bei afp548.com nachlesen) und funktioniert bei meinen Kunden wirklich trouble-free.Ich möchte mit diesem Eintrag nun nicht extrem detailliert alles durchgehen, sondern Webseiten präsentieren, durch die ich relativ rasch rsync erlernt habe.Vorher noch kurz zum Ãœberblick, was wir durchgehen werden [...]

  • 244. Paul Nevai  |  March 19th, 2008 at 14:22

    Could someone please e-mail me info on the footnote above; see also below? The link doesn’t work and I couldn’t find the info at the dantz forum.

    [a] Update 2006-04-26: I’ve found this post, which basically says that the clobbering of the folder modification dates is deliberate, and that there’s an obscure “secret option” by which it can be switched off. I consider such a solution not acceptable.

  • 245. maurits  |  March 19th, 2008 at 23:59

    Paul: you can find that information in Google’s cache:

    http://209.85.129.104/...

    the relevant information is:

    “It can, but that causes problems for the finder. This is all by design.

    To change the folder restore behavior hold down the option key and click the preferences button. You will have an option to restore folder dates. Just be aware that you may have to reboot the machine for restored files to become visible in the finder.”

  • 246. Paul Nevai  |  March 20th, 2008 at 10:58

    Despite its gazillion shortcomings, I recommend Retrospect. E.g., it can backup clients and it can duplicate start up disks. It saved me many many times in the past 20 years or so [and I paid for a gazillion updates too].

    N.B. I use OS X 10.4.x on G4 machines.

    P.S. Thanks Maurits for this great webpage.

  • 247. daisy  |  April 15th, 2008 at 14:42

    It’s wonderful to see someone so devoted to saving metadata. Thanks!

    Do your results hold true for the Windows environment?

    Specifically I just did a ‘Duplication’ of all my photos (146GB!) using EMC Retrospect NFR Vers 7.5.508 on Vista Business (NTFS) to duplicate files to a Western Digital My Passport 320GB external drive (FAT32). While it was successful/error free I still received the message “Warning: The destination volume My passport (F:) does not support extended file attributes.” So I don’t know if this means all my photo metadata is intact or not.

    I’m assuming N.Gray’s tool won’t work on Windows. Am I correct?

    Thanks for any indications.

  • 248. cfr  |  April 19th, 2008 at 04:28

    CCC 3.1 is said by its developer to pass the backup-bouncer test suite and, in forums, has undertaken to extend that set of tests to cover a case which 3.1 fails but which is fixed in the current beta (which seems to have other issues – presumably why it is still beta). I hardly think it is fair, therefore, to say that “CCC’s developer doesn’t seem to be too interested in preserving metadata.” Indeed, it seems quite the opposite.

    For what it is worth, I tested CCC 3.1 using the current version of backup-bouncer (0.1.2) and 3.1 passed all the tests. Also for what is is worth, my only connexion with CCC is that I have used previous versions for backup for some time. I have booted from CCC clones and restored from them successfully. Having learnt about backup-bouncer, however, I discovered that 2.3 fails many of the tests that 3.1 passes.

    This means that if you are using Tiger+, CCC may well offer a good solution. If you are using an earlier version of OS X, it may not – though differences in asr and ditto may mean 2.3 would perform better for you than it does for me on 10.4.11.

  • 249. Ross Wallis  |  May 3rd, 2008 at 19:38

    how does timemachine compare to superduper?

  • 250. corie  |  May 9th, 2008 at 22:52

    I wonder how Memeo LifeAgent fare in this test. Has anyone tried it? http://www.memeo.com/lifeagent

  • 251. My Mozy review: know its &hellip  |  August 27th, 2008 at 07:00

    [...] Now, let me say up front that part of my problem here was an unrealistic expectation about how Mac restores work. I know that all the user preferences live in ~/Library/, but I couldn’t help backing up all kinds of system folders as well. I thought that I had the same machine as before, so simply copying the old files over the new system-wide would bring me back up and running like my old drive had never died. It didn’t, of course, and an hour later I’d reinstalled Leopard and was ready to try again. This time, I checked the files as I was moving them onto my hard drive. Oddly, the permissions on every file had been reset to read-only. This might have been Mozy’s fault (apparently Mac backup software struggles with metadata) or it might have been mine (maybe reinstalling my OS changed my user account), but it was very annoying to have to piece everything back into place and then modify permissions by hand. [...]

  • 252. Bengt77  |  August 29th, 2008 at 21:24

    Another vote for SuperDuper! Indeed a most excellent backup/cloning solution. Use it weekly (set to clone incrementally), which gives me peace of mind. I’m about to switch to a dual backup strategy, though.

    Since my current backup drive is getting too small for all the stuff I have on my system drive, I’ve ordered a new dual drive enclosure from OWC. I intend to use that as a RAID1 setup for my weekly SuperDuper! clones. My current backup drive will then be used for continuous Time Machine backups. Some might call it over the top, but over the time I’ve learned that you can’t be sure/secure enough, concerning backups.

  • 253. liam  |  September 10th, 2008 at 12:30

    Have you used presstore before, it has been given good reviews, but you seem to have an encyclopedic knowlage of mac back software and i could do with your opinion.

    Thanks

    Liam

  • 254. Kevin Killion  |  December 19th, 2008 at 17:26

    Extremely valuable page — thank you!

    Mention should be made of a crucial failing of Retrospect: As a default, backing up with Retrospect does NOT save any sparseimage files! The intention was to prevent massive consumption of backup space every time a sparseimage file changed, which would happen every time one of the files it contains changed. But that means that if you have secured some data by putting it into a disk image saved as a sparseimage (perhaps with a password), Retrospect doesn’t save it at all! I only discovered this after a hard disk crash when I found that my “secured” files weren’t saved at all by Retrospect. There is an option to change this default setting (which in true Retrospect fashion is buried in the horrible interface), but the default is you’re unprotected and Retrospect doesn’t tell you.

  • 255. Bernhard Pieber  |  January 4th, 2009 at 22:08

    Maurits,

    Thank you very much for all the effort you put into your research! I think it is still very valuable. I wish I had stumbled upon it earlier, though.

    Bernhard

  • 256. cornelius  |  January 16th, 2009 at 18:20

    I had been using a registered copy of SD before this article was linked by a user in Apple Discussions. I was glad to have my preconceived notions (and experience) confirmed. Has this article been updated since Leopard’s Time Machine? I do not, myself, use Time Machine, or Leopard for that matter. However, I have seen the question asked in AD and wonder if one supplants the other, or whether they work in sync.

  • 257. "Migration" auf&hellip  |  January 20th, 2009 at 16:56

    [...] Re: "Migration" auf neue Festplatte Florian Zschocke schrieb: > Malte Rosenau <mrosena> wrote: > >>> Alte Platte auf 10.4 updaten, neue Platte Löschen, mit Carbon Copy >>> Cloner alte Platte auf neue Clonen. Das ging bei mir immer fehlerfrei. >> Bei mir bislang auch. Es gibt aber Gründe, die gegen CCC >> (und viele andere Tools) und für SuperDuper sprechen. Ist hier schon mal gepostet worden: http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/…tware-harmful/ [...]

  • 258. Automating Disk Utility c&hellip  |  January 21st, 2009 at 21:16

    [...] Originally Posted by Simon  I can assure you it works just fine on several Leopard systems I have. "It works" may not be descriptive enough. What ancient version of rsync does it use? What level of metadata and extended attributes does it preserve? Once again, the article i linked to (in the other thread) gave RSyncX version 2.1 a "Not recommended" score: issues with some BSD flags, issues when uappnd set on directory, doesn’t preserve HFS+ extended attributes, ACLs [uses rsync_hfs] [...]

  • 259. Compressing .dmg files - &hellip  |  January 22nd, 2009 at 02:35

    [...] Re: Compressing .dmg files In article <050420070934368706%philip>, Phil Stripling <philip> wrote: > I compressed a subset the original materials using ditto to archive and > zip a smaller directory. It went from 2.4GB to 1.9GB. For those who > don’t mind working from the command line, ditto is in the man pages. > > I understand the desire for (and very much appreciate) the GUI > interface on the Mac, but there are occasions when it’s unnecessary, > and compressing files is one of those occasions for me. Mileage > variations welcomed. Just one more piece of info, Phil, in case you are at all concerned with the metadata that some others are. According to this site: http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/…ftware-harmful ditto (used by Carbon Copy Cloner in the comparison table) evidently doesn’t maintain some of the metadata properly. –Fred [...]

  • 260. Mac Backup Software Harmf&hellip  |  January 22nd, 2009 at 09:46

    [...] Mac Backup Software Harmful (Blog) Mac Backup Software Harmful (Blog) http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/…tware-harmful/ [...]

  • 261. Backup roundup | hilpers&hellip  |  January 22nd, 2009 at 18:11

    [...] Backup roundup Someone’s done some in-depth testing of backup solutions, particularly in regard to metadata preservation. You might be surprised at the outcome – I was (I thought Retrospect was half-decent, and Carbon Copy Cloner was bulletproof) http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/…tware-harmful/ -z- [...]

  • 262. Michael  |  March 30th, 2009 at 10:13

    I also vote for SuperDuper! Software is reasonably priced and support is very good. I recommend it to my clients and use it myself. I like the fact that SuperDuper! keeps up with updates to Apple OS X and has a track record of doing so.

  • 263. Ronald Grifka  |  May 27th, 2009 at 03:44

    Any thoughts about BounceBack *CMS Products). I have been using it for 6 years with no problems. I appreciate your thoughts.

  • 264. [Mac] file copy | keyongt&hellip  |  June 23rd, 2009 at 18:08

    [...] Re: [Mac] file copy In article <mailman.2013.1245770022.8015.python-list>, Philip Semanchuk <philip> wrote: > I think resource forks are now stored as extended attributes, and No > Apple’s version of cp is aware of extended attributes. Yes, but the manual doesn’t say to what extent, nor anything about ACLs > Try this — create a text file via terminal using touch foo.txt. In Don’t have time to do something like the outdated http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/…tware-harmful/ Was hoping someone already knows… > To the OP — I remember reading somewhere that xattr is written in > Python. You might find it useful or even be able to import it directly. It uses a C extension, but I could import it if I wanted to re-invent the wheel ;) — Tobias Weber [...]

  • 265. Backup Software&hellip  |  August 3rd, 2009 at 08:01

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  • 266. Ronald Lanham  |  August 30th, 2009 at 01:22

    I’ve been using SuperDuper! now for years after having used Retrospect Express for many years and I am very satisfied. It maintains creation and modification dates which Retrospect was not doing (I found this out when actually having to use one of my backups after a major problem). Thanks for the great article!

  • 267. Silverkeeper and Windows &hellip  |  February 24th, 2010 at 07:17

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  • 268. iMark  |  April 18th, 2010 at 06:13

    I know that it’s a lot of work, but Id love to see an update to this article.

    While I use SD! and Time Machine for my backups, I also have other software that could potentially be used, e.g. Xupport and Drive Genius. I’d be interested in seeing how they fare.

  • 269. Datensicherung benötigt &hellip  |  April 24th, 2010 at 20:24

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  • 270. CMS Products BounceBack E&hellip  |  June 20th, 2010 at 20:08

    [...] You might want to include Bounceback Pro, I used to recommend it but abandoned it for SuperDuper. http://www.cmsproducts.com/productbouncebacksoftware.htm. 64. Adrian B | April 26th, 2006 at 08:11 ….. [A bad crash came when the automatic backup was called to run while I was running another program that was continuously creating and overwriting tens of thousands of files; perhaps, knowing my other program would be running, I should have disabled the automatic backup that …Read more… [...]

  • 271. CMS Products BounceBack E&hellip  |  June 20th, 2010 at 20:14

    [...] You might want to include Bounceback Pro, I used to recommend it but abandoned it for SuperDuper. http://www.cmsproducts.com/productbouncebacksoftware.htm. 64. Adrian B | April 26th, 2006 at 08:11. This is the response from the Synk ….. I ‘d like to ask the author if there are any backup programs I can use to back up my Mac to a part of my colocated Web server which runs Linux. I need the ddata to be encrypted in transit and once there. Thanks… 93. slimeyapple | May 6th, …Read more… [...]

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  • 276. The result is a backup pr&hellip  |  August 21st, 2010 at 15:13

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  • 283. This can help you to orga&hellip  |  August 24th, 2010 at 19:57

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  • 285. It going to do more than &hellip  |  August 24th, 2010 at 20:01

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  • 313. This article helps you pr&hellip  |  September 4th, 2010 at 02:47

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  • 349. Michael Tsai - Blog - Wha&hellip  |  May 22nd, 2014 at 20:28

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