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Carbon Copy Cloner 3.1 Backup Utility

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Carbon Copy Cloner 3.1 Backup Utility - Review of Carbon Copy Cloner 3.1

Carbon Copy Cloner: Reader's Choice Winner 2010, 2011


The Bottom Line

Carbon Copy Cloner from Bombich Software has come a long way from its original incarnation. What was once just a tool for Mac geeks to clone startup drives is now a top-notch cloning and backup utility for Mac users of all experience levels.

Thanks to its improved user interface and new block-level cloning capabilities, Carbon Copy Cloner deserves a place in every Mac user’s toolkit.


  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • Block-level startup clone creation.
  • Incremental backups.
  • Can back up to disk images and network locations as well as local disks.
  • Creates bootable backups.


  • Cryptic error and status messages.
  • No time estimate given for backups.
  • Slow backup times.


  • Requires OS X 10.4.x or later.
  • You can try it until you trust it; Carbon Copy Cloner is uncrippled shareware.
  • Universal Binary; works on PPC- and Intel-based Macs.
  • Can back up to disk images and networks.
  • Supports block-level copying, for the most accurate clones possible.

Guide Review - Carbon Copy Cloner 3.1 Backup Utility

Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) has been one of the must-have utilities for Mac enthusiasts since the early days of OS X. Its original, single purpose - to create a bootable copy of a startup drive - has been expanded upon. CCC now offers multiple backup choices and an improved interface that makes it much easier to use.

The major improvements aren’t limited to the user interface. CCC 3.1 now supports block-level copying. A block-level copy is the most accurate way to create an exact replica of your startup drive. Instead of copying your startup drive file by file, CCC 3.1 can instead copy data-block by data-block, from your source hard drive to the destination hard drive. The result is an exact copy, down to where the files are physically stored on the hard drive.

Block-level copying has advantages, mainly speed and the ability to create an exact copy, but it does have one disadvantage. Because it creates an exact copy of your hard drive, it duplicates any file fragmentation that exists on that drive.

CCC 3.1 also offers file-by-file copying, which can still create a bootable clone. This option can also perform incremental backups, allowing you to keep the clones up to date, an often-overlooked aspect of using clones as a backup method. In the past, it was necessary to download and install a separate application to use with CCC, in order for incremental backups to work. CCC 3.1 has a built-in synchronization tool, which is a big step forward for ease of use.

Also new in CCC 3.1 are advanced scheduling capabilities. You can now create schedules that determine which backup tasks should run, and when. You can also create schedules that respond to events, such as plugging in an external hard drive or even an iPod. These events can trigger a backup task, a handy feature for automated backups.

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