Mac OS forum

General discussion


by dkknj / October 18, 2006 1:50 AM PDT

Any suggestions for backing up a macintosh system? I have a Imac G5 running OS X 10.4.8. I'm not sure the size the size of the drive; it's one of the Apple standard ones, I'm guessing 400 MB. Thanks.

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Backups
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Backups
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
(NT) (NT) At 400 MB why not put it all on a CDR?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 18, 2006 1:58 AM PDT
In reply to: Backups
Collapse -
Re: CDRs
by dkknj / October 18, 2006 2:20 AM PDT

Thanks for the reply. It spawns more (6) questions:

1. How much data is stored on a CDR?

2. How long would it take to backup 400MB to a CDR?

3. What macintosh program is used to copy from the hard drive to the CDRs?

4. Is a compression program available on macintoshs?

5. Would it make sense to use compression while creating the backup?

6. How do you figure out exactly how much data is on the system disk? The free space is displayed, not the used space.


Collapse -
by qwerty655 / October 18, 2006 2:51 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: CDRs

1: 650-100 MB

2: Size of data(MB) x 1024

Collapse -
also, you don't need to back up the system or
by boya84 / October 18, 2006 4:34 AM PDT
In reply to: CDRs

applications. You need to back up only your documents. Preferences files if you are into that. And your hard drive won't be full. When your internal drive crashes, you will have to reload the OS and apps, anyway onto a new drive. Keep the original disks in a fireproof and waterproof safe on site, or at an offsite service provider (they are expensive - and drive around in unmarked trucks that look like refrigeration trucks - typically used by businesses for data-contingency)...

Dantz (now EMC) makes a good back-up with compression. Retrospect is the product name.

Consider using an external hard drive - Chances that internal and external will fail at the same time are very slim. This could come in the form of being directly connected via FireWire or USB or even as an ethernet connected network drive... If you are feeling that paranoid, get a couple of them. The one on-site is active, the off site would get cycled in... probably swap them weekly.

Collapse -
by soggypants7 / January 22, 2010 10:21 PM PST
In reply to: CDRs

qwerty655:- I tried to take your advice, but to do a full backup would take a 14.56 GB storage device (according to Time Machine). How could I bring this down to a more manageable size, or should one start with a full backup and then work from there?

Collapse -
Purchase a large external drive
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / January 22, 2010 10:39 PM PST
In reply to: Re:-Backups

and use Time Machine.

This is a 4 year old post, don't expect any of the original posters to be still looking for answers.


Collapse -
Reply to question #4
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 18, 2006 5:07 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: CDRs

The OS has a built-in burning program. Insert the blank CD-R, answer "Finder" to the question, wait until the disk mounts on the desktop, drag what you need onto the CD icon, eject the CD.
System will ask if you want to burn this disk, choose your answer. When disk is done, it will eject.

You can only burn once to that CD. Once used, no matter how little data you have burned onto it, the disk is closed. There are ways around it but at 10c apiece, why bother?

To find the size of your documents folder, or any other folder for that matter, highlight the folder, single click, hold down the Apple Key and press "I"
(Get Info) That will show you all sorts of information about the folder, including its size


Collapse -
If you have a .Mac (dotMac) account
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 18, 2006 5:08 AM PDT
In reply to: Backups

you can use the free Backup program that is available to members.

Sign up for a 90 day trial and you get all the goodies for keeps too!


Collapse -
and when Leopard is delivered...
by boya84 / October 18, 2006 11:50 AM PDT
Collapse -
by Steve Davis / October 19, 2006 8:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Backups

One word answer: Retrospect

Collapse -
Unlikely to be 400MB
by ffarg.cram / October 19, 2006 9:13 PM PDT
In reply to: Backups

I'm guessing that you're probably mistaken about the size of the harddrive - most modern machines have drives measured in gigabytes, not megabytes. Even if you only have OSX and a few applications installed on your machine, the installed stuff is probably a lot more than two-thirds of a CD.

Collapse -
400MB not likely
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / October 19, 2006 10:54 PM PDT
In reply to: Unlikely to be 400MB

As you say, he is probably mistaken about the size of the drive. The iMac G5 was shipped with HD's ranging from 80GB to 250GB depending on what model and what series of iMac G5 he purchased. There were three series of iMac G5.

Given that it is not necessary to backup the application folder and the system itself, the size of the backup now depends on what he has been using their machine for.
A full backup of the Home folder will cover the iLife suite and the Mail program. If the user is an avid music collector who takes lots of photographs which they turn into movies and burns them to DVD, then just the Home folder is likely to be in the high double digits, if not triple.
The Firewire external option is good and I note that Intego has come a long way with their Backup software. If it is as good as it looks, it should be fine. I found Retrospect to have slightly confusing terminology but once set, it works well. Apple Backup, free with a dot Mac account, also works well.
All of them will backup to an external drive or CD/DVD's.
However, I have not yet found one backup program that will wake the machine up, do the backup and then quit. They all used to do it in OS 9 but that was back in the day.


Collapse -
Personal backup x4
by sunsale / October 19, 2006 9:51 PM PDT
In reply to: Backups

This is the best i found and use reguarly, i back up to a external firewire drive, It makes a perfect bootable backup. I have had better luck with this than retrospect.

Collapse -
External Drive Backup Is the Best Way
by jmish / October 20, 2006 12:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Backups

Back up to an external hard drive which is at least large enough to duplicate your internal drive completely. If your internal drive fails at any time, you can then boot up from the external drive. You can also take the external drive to another computer and access your data. Recommendation: Get an external drive which is larger than the internal drive so that you can partition it, having one partition for the complete duplicate and other partitions for subvolume backups--say, just photos or just music or just blank space for special storage needs, etc. I have used RETROSPECT with success, but I like LaCie's SILVERKEEPER better. It's very easy to use, is straightforward, and is full featured. It does incremental backups, compares data between source and backup, and the like. You do not have to have a LaCie drive for the program, though it comes on the LaCie CD. To my knowledge, it's a free program. I like it better than any other backup program I've used.

Collapse -
Backup or archive
by chinajon6 / October 20, 2006 12:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Backups

We have been told for years that you need to back up. But stay in focus...
There is the working backup set, and there is the archival set. These systems were the result of experience with drives sensitive to everything from to power fluctuations to virus infections of the computer, including human error.

So, here are my points
1. Really important stuff that you want to keep forever should be burned to CD or DVD and kept in a different place than your computer, in case of accident, fire or theft. If you are making really important stuff frequently, then burn to a re-writable until you want to burn to an archive disk.

2. Working backups are for recovering from human error, drive failure, or other problem which leaves you in the lurch. You can go back and get your stuff from the working backup. In order for this to work, you have to make regular backups, or when something bad happens, oops, you hadn't backed that up yet, right? The frequency of working backups is totally up to what you can afford to loose since your last backup. I was told by a disk recovery article - which is obviously biased - the it is not if a drive will fail, but when. Put some salt on it, but who knows.

So, decide why you are backing up. Do what you need to do. The new OSX 10.5 has a built in backup system - for the rest of us - and will make backing up an automatic part of the system. Good for them. Good for us. BUT, you still need to back up for archival purposes. The Apple auto backup that is built into the system should be considered a working back up, not an archival backup. If the drive fails, is stolen, or ruined by fire or accident, then the only recourse will be to recover from the archive. The archive must be in a safe place, not in a desk drawer someplace. How about a fire safe, hmmm?

Collapse -
Apple Backup
by onemoremile / October 20, 2006 1:10 AM PDT
In reply to: Backups

I use Apple's Backup software and backup to an external hard drive. The Backup software comes free with a .Mac membership. I think that you can sign up for a .Mac trial membership for free and get a copy of Backup. This software is easy to use, configurable and can be set up to run incremental backups automatically.

I believe that an external hard drive is the best hardware to use when backing up a modern hard drive: there is very little liklihood that both your internal drive and your external drive will fail at the same time.

Collapse -
In Summary...
by Millin* / October 20, 2006 1:20 PM PDT
In reply to: Backups

My friend, this thread has some nuggets in it, but our friends may have been misled by your question. You see, 400 MB is not very large at all. As one of them pointed out, the standard hard drives for iMacs like yours are at least 80 GB, which is 20 times larger than the size you mentioned.

So, let's start with the most basic question: Do you want to back up EVERYTHING on your Mac? I'm assuming you do. OK, so how big is your hard drive? Here's an easy way to find out: Locate the hard drive icon on your computer desktop (it's probably labeled ''Macintosh Hard Drive'' or something like that if you haven't changed the name). Select the drive by clicking in once. Now hold down the Command (Apple) key and press ''I'' at the same time. This will get you a nice information window about your drive. Look for three things: Capacity (the size of the drive), Available (how much room is left on the drive), and Used (how much data you are storing). Odd thing--your drive capacity is probably some peculiar number like 149.04 GB. this is because drive manufacturers count a kilobyte as 1000 bytes, where your Mac counts a kilobyte as 1024 bytes (annoying, no?). To find out what the drive manufacture says the size is, rather than what your Mac says, add 10% to the Capacity figure, then round down to the nearest 10 GB.

Now that you know the size of the drive, it's time to remember chinajon6's comment about the difference between ''archive'' and ''backup.'' You should definitely archive your most important files on a CD-R or a DVD-R and keep them in a physically separate location (I keep mine locked up at the office). These are files you don't modify often or are extremely important to you (photos, tax returns and irreplaceable mp3s/videos are on my list). You can find some really good instructions on how to burn archive CDs in this thread, so I'll spare you the repetition.

I'm a big believer that all hard drives fail. It's happened to me and it's happened to friends. Since you have an iMac, you can't add a second hard drive physically in the computer that functions as a back up to the first drive, so buying a USB 2.0 or Firewire drive is probably the way for you to go. Just buy one that is at least the same size as the Capacity of your Macintosh drive. Many of these drives come with back up software, so consider this easy solution (make sure the software is mac-compatible!). The instructions are pretty straightforward when you install the drive and the software.

How often should you back up? I back up my precious music files three times a week--at 1 AM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (I actually have a hard drive that has only music on it and a second drive to back it up). I back up my Mac HD on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, also 1 AM. How many hard drive failures have I had? three. In two cases, I got a directory corruption and all files on the drives were lost--the backup worked fine and I lost only trivial amounts of data. The third case? That was my first failure and I lost most of the data--why do you think I back up like a fanatic?

Collapse -
by Mark Klocksin / January 22, 2010 11:14 AM PST
In reply to: Backups

There is an excellent utility available that I don't think has been mentioned yet. It's SuperDuper, available from Shirt Pocket software It's a lifesaver--especially for those who don't have Time Machine. Get this and an external drive (or two!) and you'll be glad you did! Remember, there are two kinds of hard drives...those that have failed and those that haven't failed yet!!

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions


Free trip to the Grand Prix

Don't miss your chance to win a trip to the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco for you and a plus-one.