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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Hands On: Carbon Copy Cloner 4.0.6 (OS X)

Hands On: Carbon Copy Cloner 4.0.6 (OS X)
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NewsPoster
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Mar 28, 2015, 09:13 AM
 
Nothing digital really exists unless it exists twice. For all that we have these great interconnected cloud services, there is still a hard drive holding on to our data somewhere and all hard drives fail eventually. They're like politicians in that respect: they go on until they fail. Carbon Copy Cloner is a way to make failures annoying rather than fatal to your work. It backs up any or all of your files and it also optionally creates a separate and bootable hard drive.


Consequently, if your Mac's hard drive dies on you, you can plug in an external drive which has one of Carbon Copy Cloner's backups on and start from that. Your Mac might take a little bit longer to startup but once it's on, it will work exactly as it did. Exactly. Every app, every folder, every file, all where you put them, all where they should be. You can then run disk utilities to attempt to repair your internal drive or you can carry on working from the external bootable Carbon Copy Cloner backup until your urgent deadline is over.

You do rather need an external drive to back things up onto but assuming you have that, Carbon Copy Cloner is so easy to use that – especially in 4.0.6 which as been redesigned for OS X Yosemite – it's practically disappointing. Click here to say what disk you want backed up, click here to say which drive you're using to save that to. That's it. You can make selections of files rather than whole disks but we just kept adding whole disks. We're already backed up constantly to the cloud so our concern is less about data recovery, it's more about our facility to keep on working when there's been a problem.

Carbon Copy Cloner lets us do that and we're now fans. We're fans to the extent that we urge you to buy this software and use it immediately so that you're not going to be thrown by hard drive failures either. That's not to say that the software is perfect, though.

There's an email feature that seems oddly overwrought. Since anything to do with backing up large hard drives inevitably takes a long time, it's a nice touch that you can have Carbon Copy Cloner send you an email when it's finished or when there are any problems. However, to make it work you have to schlep through all the same detail about SMTP servers, port numbers and saying whether your email server uses password authentication of MD5 Challenge-Response that you used to when setting up email in the olden days. We looked at this and at how we'd have to dig up all this detail and we didn't bother. Instead we just remembered anew how good it is that iCloud does all this for you. We'd far rather you could just give it your email address and let it send a message to that.

There is also a menubar app that you can use to see whether the backup has finished but we always just left the main app running right in front of us or toddled off for a coffee. We're not sure why you'd particularly want to check the menubar icon if you're sat at your Mac working away and Carbon Copy Cloner is already open. You can schedule tasks for the software to do; perhaps if you use that a lot then the ability to see it all with a quick glance would be handy.



We also had an issue when there was an odd problem with a particular file. After the backup process was complete, Carbon Copy Cloner listed one file as having too long a name. It really did too: we don't know why or how but there was some corruption on a file name and you have never seen the like of how long this was. Carbon Copy Cloner warned us of this and gave us the path to the file – but it gave us the path to the file on the backup even as it was directly telling us we needed to go fix this on the source hard drive.

Since this particular file was in an Application Support folder within the Library, getting to it was more fiddly than just opening the Finder. So it would've been handy to have the link be clickable and pointing to the source. Minor quibbles like this aside, though, Carbon Copy Cloner gets on with its work and leaves us feeling rather good about how our Macs are that little bit more protected.

Carbon Copy Cloner requires OS X 10.10 and costs $40 from the official website where you can also get a 30-day trial.

Who is Carbon Copy Cloner for:
It's for you and it's for right now if you don't already have some way to carry on working when your hard drive fails.

Who is Carbon Copy Cloner not for:
If you're in a big fancy corporation and running everything across a network, they've probably got you covered. You hope.

-William Gallagher (@WGallagher)
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Mar 28, 2015 at 11:11 AM. )
     
cashxx
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Mar 28, 2015, 09:28 AM
 
Used to be free and open source! Sad to see projects go to pay for!
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Mar 28, 2015, 09:37 AM
 
How long ago was it truly free - I guess I don't remember it always being free. For more than a decade, at least, the software just had liberal use policies.
     
Carrier Wave
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Mar 28, 2015, 10:20 AM
 
CCC was donationware around three years ago, but I don't begrudge them income that lets them give the app the continuing development it needs to adapt to new MacOS versions.

I'd like to see this app compared with SuperDuper, though.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Mar 28, 2015, 10:49 AM
 
Sure, we can get that done.
     
sbombich
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Mar 28, 2015, 12:18 PM
 
bombich75
natenomb75
nateb75
nbombich75

403766001330XXXX


Hi, Sarah from Bombich Software here (with some input from Mike, the creator of CCC).

Thanks for reviewing our software! We're very proud of what we've accomplished with CCC 4 and appreciate that you're sharing it with your readers. A couple comments on your points of contention. The email settings have proven to be a challenge for many users. We've improved this a great deal for CCC 4.1; CCC will gather a list of SMTP server settings from Mail if you have configured them there. We can't simply take an email address and send you an email, though. In theory, we *could* have these emails routed through our own SMTP server (meaning you wouldn't have to configure the SMTP settings), but a lot of people would be uncomfortable with that because the emails may contain personal information. In 4.1, though, you'll simply choose a pre-configured account from a popup menu, so hopefully that heads off the difficulty in setting up this feature.


In regards to the "filename too long" issue, CCC correctly reported that the path length was too long on the destination. The item is corrupted on the source, but it isn't until CCC gets caught in an infinite loop trying to recreate the item on the destination that it encounters an error. These are tricky situations to deal with programmatically. CCC is a backup utility, not a filesystem repair utility, so it does the best it can when reporting the error.

FWIW, our support team helps users with these sorts of issues all the time, we're happy to help people sort out those kinds of issues and offer step-by-step instructions to remove the affected item. It's also worth noting that when CCC was donationware, we couldn't realistically even offer that level of support. We've grown the company since transitioning to a commercial sales model -- we now have several developers and technical support folks. So as much as folks decry having to pay $40 for a great product, a) the product is still alive and thriving and b) we can offer a great level of support.

Once 4.1 is out, we'd love to have MacNN give it a spin.
     
infowarrior
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Mar 28, 2015, 07:35 PM
 
CCC is a wonderful tool and one of the first things I put on my new installs at home. Rock-solid reliable, flexible and well worth a few bucks. Kudos to the entire CCC team!

Not sure what the concern is over the email settings - it's not much different than what you do to set up your mail clients such as Apple Mail.....unless folks no longer use such things? :/ Seems pretty straightforward to me.
     
iBricking.com
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Mar 28, 2015, 08:23 PM
 
Bombich Software support is EXCELLENT.
     
PJL500
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Mar 28, 2015, 10:45 PM
 
Who is Carbon Copy Cloner not for:
2. People who already use SuperDuper.
     
jah2
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Mar 29, 2015, 12:24 PM
 
I actually switched from SuperDuper because of an on-going problem in backing up a very large Aperture drive (about 10TB). SuperDuper would often start and then stop with some message after running for quite a while. Eventually it appeared it might have something to do with some size or number of files limit.

I switched to Carbon Copy Cloner and have not had any problems since. CCC has also proven to be considerably faster than SuperDuper was when SuperDuper did actually backup the drive without a problem.

The only time I needed customer support was with the initial download. Something kept me from being able to download the software from the site where I purchased it. I interacted with a couple of techs and shortly was put in touch with Mike Bombich. The problem with a server was identified... I downloaded the software and have been very pleased with CCC.
     
jjmcdonald
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Mar 29, 2015, 09:23 PM
 
I had realized that I had no real need for a DVD in my 2012 MBP, but I did have a need to be able to recover if something went wrong. So I removed the DVD, dropped in a equal SSD to the primary one on my machine, and used CCC religiously. This gave me a "On board" clone of my primary disk if something went wrong. IT also gave me a "Back to Last night" recovery in case I had a brain fade and deleted something by accident.
It Worked. I had a drive fail (Dont' ask) and was able to switch to the "on board" recovery drive and keep working with my client.
This was kind of important since it was a presentation in Singapore. (A little far from a Genius booth.)

For that alone, I am probably never going to "Step up to Retina". As long as apple continues down the road of "Appliance" Model, I will stick with my 2012 MBP 15.
     
bjojade
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Mar 30, 2015, 12:42 PM
 
I recommend CCC for almost any backup scenario. It's extremely effective and reliable. There have been many cases where drive failure is now just an annoyance, as you can simply boot from the backup and be on your merry way.

A feature that isn't touched in this article is the NETWORK backup feature. We use this all the time to create offsite backups over VPN for customers. It does an amazing job.

The only feature I wish existed was an easy to implement 'archive' function to multiple drives. i.e., on the source drive, let the user have a folder that will archive, then select one or more destination drives for the archive. Once the data is copied to all the destination drives, the files to be archived are then removed from the source. The ability to launch preflight and post flight scripts has let me sort of build this functionality, but having it built in would be amazing.
     
pigmode
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Apr 6, 2015, 03:00 PM
 
Is there still the boot issue with WD hdd's where CCC doesn't recognize it on restart? I had this yesterday with 4.0.6 and a WD Caviar Black.
     
   
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