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EASY way to Backup a MacBook Pro

Hi , i am new to Mac's, and my girlfriend owns one. I need to know which is a relatively easy way to doing a backup or a recovery option on a Mac before i try out a installation of Windows XP (like a dual boot or so...)

I want to have all the FILES safe before i do the installation. A Nice extra will be if the system with all the software installed can be restored to in case of a problem...

I have a SEAGATE External HD: Free Agent GoFlex Desk USB 3 and USB 2, 2 TB for PC and MAC... (i now there is one model just for MAC, but i use this one on my PC, just to store fiiles...

The computer specs are the following:

MAC BOOK PRO (around 2 or 3 years old...) (Model 8.1 ?)
Mac OS X version 10.6.8
Processor: 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5
Memory: 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
Boot Rom Version: MBP91.0047.B27

Thanks.
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unrinoceronte
Asked:
unrinoceronte
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5 Solutions
 
strungCommented:
You can use Disk Utility to clone the Mac drive to a Mac formatted external drive following the instructions here:


http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1553
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strungCommented:
Another (not free) alternative is Carbon Copy Cloner: http://www.bombich.com
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Thank you both....

Well, i should mention that it should be a FREE method, or even better a  method which already exists or comes in the MAC... One which is hazzle free, and realatively quick to do...  I need to install a 2nd OS (windows) ASAP, and i dont want to spend much time on the backup...
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strungCommented:
Disk Utility comes with the Mac.
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Please take note that i dont have a MAC FORMATTED External Drive, i only have the one wich i mentioned in the initial thread, and is already used on a PC, but has tons of space available... Will a backup or recovery option work on it?  please let me know...
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strungCommented:
You could partition the external and format one partition as Mac formatted.

Alternatively, I believe you can use Disk Utility to clone the Mac drive to a disk image on the PC formatted drive, but the disk image will not be bootable.
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Thank you Strung, so if it is not bootable, how will i use it? Please bare with me i am not vey savy in backups stuff nor MACs...I only use PC ...

I just check and the used space in the MAC is only 122 GB, and there is 196 GB available... My SEAGATE External HD is 2 TB... so i guess i can do the Mac formatted partition Thing ... how do i do this?

If i have some files on the External HD, will i loose them?
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strungCommented:
There is always a risk of losing data when you partition. The safest thing to do is to back up and erase the drive and then partition:

http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/partition-external-hard-drive-pc-usage-mac/
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XaelianCommented:
Just use TimeMachine build in Mac OS X. It's THE backup solution in Mac.
You don't need to configure much, just enable it and run it :) and it will backup everything of the Mac in a timly interval.

http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1427?viewlocale=nl_nl
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Thanks , ok i found both Programs on the MAC, but what will be the difference between using DISK UTILITY, or TIME MACHINE?  (sorry again, i only have used PC)
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XaelianCommented:
Well Disk Utility is there, to do some first aid on your hard disk. And to format and repartition your hard disk. It's used for cloning hard disks, mainly for servers so if the hard disk of the servers fails they can place the clone in it.

Time Machine is THE real backup utility of Mac. It will back-up all the system information and documents once an hour. So you can go back in time. Disk utility is good for static information, such as server configuration. But Time Machine is good for dynamic expanding information.
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strungCommented:
Time machine will make incremental hourly backups of your computer much like ShadowCopies on Windows servers. Time machine backup are not bootable.

If you want an exact bootable clone of your drive, disk utility or Carbon Copy Cloner are the way to go.
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Ok great inf, thank you.
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XaelianCommented:
But remember a clone of your drive is never a real backup. It's just in case of a major crash it can be handy. But never see a clone of your drive as a real backup.

And you can restore your whole system with Time Machine as well. So if your OS is corrupted you can restore it with Time Machine. If your hard disk crashes and you replace it with another one you can restore everything with Time Machine.

You want to have backups of your files, ... . Time Machine is then the best you can do. Cloning hard disk is nice, but like I said only when the data doesn't change a lot, otherwise use Time Machine.

Below an Apple Article about Time Machine, it also explains how you can restore you whole system from a Time Machine backup: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1427
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strungCommented:
My understanding from the original post was that the author wanted a one time copy of the hard drive in case something went wrong while installing boot camp, not an ongoing backup. For that purpose, a clone is best.
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
One more thing, for using TIME MACHINE on my Seagate
SEAGATE External HD: Free Agent GoFlex Desk USB 3 and USB 2, 2 TB for PC and MAC... (i now there is one model just for MAC, but i use this one on my PC, just to store fiiles...
  will i need to also FORMAT my drive (as in for Disk utility) and make a partition for the Time machine backup?


I need to keep using this Seagate drive for my PC... and i already have some info on it....
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XaelianCommented:
If you select it as the backupdrive, it will ask if it can remove everything if you click "Yes" it will format it.

You can also use Synkron to synchronize your files to an external drive. But you always need to reformat it. Unless you have a NAS-system that you can mount, or a fileshare on another computer. Then you can use Synkron to synchronise that folder with the content you specify on a particular date/time.
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Hello, thanks for all your advice.  I  apologize that it took me so long to close this question, but i was overwhelmed with work and i forgot to visit EE....  Your advice here at EE is always helpful, and i appreciate it a lot.

I think i will try both Disk Utility for cloning and Time Machine for backup

thanks.
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