Backups are one of the most important chores for all Mac users. This is especially true when you have a brand new Mac. Sure, we want to relish its newness, explore its capabilities. After all, it's brand new, what could go wrong? Well, it's a fundamental law of the universe, usually wrongly referenced to some guy named Murphy, But Murphy was just reminiscing about what earlier sages and wits already knew: if anything can go wrong, it will.
Before Murphy and his pessimistic buddies descend on your Mac, be sure you have a backup strategy in place.
Back Up Your Mac
There are many different ways to back up your Mac, as well as many different backup applications to make the task easier. In this article, we're going to look at backing up a Mac used for personal use. We won't be delving into the methodologies used by businesses of various sizes. We're only concerned here with a basic backup strategy for home users that is robust, inexpensive, and easy to implement.
What You Need to Back Up Your Mac
A Mac. Seems obvious, but it's a good place to start.
A storage device. I recommend an external hard drive, but you can also use other solutions, such as an NAS (Network Attached Storage) box, or if you're a Mac Pro user, an internal hard drive. An external hard drive is still the preferred method, though.
Backup software. Since I'm using my own personal backup method, I'm going to use Apple's Time Machine and Shirt Pocket's SuperDuper. I like using two different backup applications because they fulfill several purposes. They cover the need to restore individual files or previous versions of files (Apple's Time Machine), restore a complete copy of my hard drive if something catastrophic occurs (Time Machine and SuperDuper), or have a working backup that can be put in place as fast as rebooting my Mac (SuperDuper). There's another bonus of having two different backups: You've got something to fall back on if Murphy pops up when you go to restore your data.
I want to point out that other backup applications beyond the ones I mention here are also good choices. For instance, Carbon Copy Cloner, winner of the Reader's Choice Awards 2010 and 2011 in the backup software category, has nearly the same features and capabilities as SuperDuper. Likewise, you can use Apple's own Disk Utility to create clones of the startup drive.
This won't be a step-by-step tutorial, so you should be able to adapt the process to your favorite backup application. Let's get started.