time machine backup

I am going to change out my mac mini to a new mac mini and wanted to use a time machine backup.  I have not created one yet.  I have an external hard drive I want to use.  Is there a way you can save only some items for the backup to restore or does it do the entire computer?  What does it all save?  Also, will it copy all of my programs as well, like office and other software I have installed on the computer?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
In Time Machine you can save only entire drive. No file level backup.
For file level backup you need to use one of these: http://mac-backup-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
Or a program called Carbon Copy Cloner: http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/7032/carbon-copy-cloner
mkramer777Author Commented:
Will either of these 2 options copy my programs as well so I don't have to reinstall?
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Yes, when I say - entire drive then I mean the drive with OS, programs files etc.
Carbon Copy Clone even makes a bootable clone of your drive.
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You don't need to do any of the above if you are moving up to a new mini. Mac's built-in Migration Assistant will copy all your apps, data and setting from your old computer.

Connect both the old and new Minis to your router by an ethernet cable and follow the instructions for Ethernet migration here:


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Alternatively, if your old Mac Mini is using at least OS 10.7, you can use the built-in Disk Utility and the Recovery Partition to clone the old drive to an external USB drive (no need to buy third party software) - see:  


This will make using Migration Assistant even easier.  After you have cloned the old Mini to the external, just attache the external to the new Mini using a USB cable. When you first boot the new Mini, it will ask you if you have anything you want transferred. Select "external drive" and everything on the external will be migrated to the new Mini.
mkramer777Author Commented:
If I use migration assistant will this also copy all of my internet history files, cookies, deleted files in the trash, and old emails I have deleted?  Is it that kind of a backup?
Yes. Migration assistant will copy everything. You will then have to delete what you don't want from the new Mini.

However, if you empty the trash (and the mail trash) first, it won't copy the items you have emptied from the trash.

Alternatively, you could use something like Onyx (http://www.titanium.free.fr/onyx.html) on the old Mac to clear caches etc. before you migrate.
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