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SuperDuper 2.6.4 Review - Backup Software for the Mac

Clone, Copy, and Schedule in One SuperDuper Application

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SuperDuper 2.6.4 Review

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SuperDuper 2.6.4 from ShirtPocket Software is a handy application that can back up your Mac's data, create a bootable clone of your startup drive, and create full and incremental backups. You can use its Smart Update capabilities to update existing clones, instead of having to create new ones from scratch. Believe me, that saves a lot of time.

SuperDuper 2.6.4 is also very versatile. You can use it on Mac systems running Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, or Lion.

SuperDuper 2.6.4 - Pros

  • Easily create bootable clones of your startup drive.

  • Copy drive content from one disk to another.

  • Update bootable clones using Smart Update, eliminating the need to create new clones every time.

  • Create a sandbox clone, for testing new OSes or applications.

  • Create schedules to automate the backup process.

  • Use scripts to automate backups.

SuperDuper 2.6.4 - Cons

  • Custom backup scripts can be difficult for new users to create.

  • No time estimate given for backups to complete.

Review - SuperDuper 2.6.4

Having current backups of your data is one of the most important aspects of using your Mac. In fact, backup software should be one of the first applications you install when you get a new Mac.

Apple includes Time Machine, a pretty good backup system, with the Mac OS, but SuperDuper can do something that Time Machine can only dream of: create a nearly exact copy of your startup drive. This process, commonly called creating a clone, can be difficult, but SuperDuper lets you accomplish it with just a menu selection or two, and the press of a button. What could be easier?

How about updating a clone you have already created, rather than creating a new clone from scratch? This can save anywhere from minutes to hours of your time. SuperDuper's Smart Update feature lets you keep your clones current and still be assured that when disaster strikes, you can be up and running with your cloned data in just minutes.

Sandbox

Another nifty feature of SuperDuper is sandboxing. Sandboxes are clones that share your user data, or your user data and applications. This effectively lets you isolate your normal system software, but still have access to your user data and applications. You can test new applications or system updates without worrying about interfering with your day-to-day operating system.

Because I download and test systems, applications, and utilities just about every day, I find the sandbox feature very handy. If you download and install tons of apps, you may want to consider the safety net that a sandbox clone offers.

Scheduling

SuperDuper includes the ability to schedule backups. You can select the time, as well as the dates, to perform a scheduled backup. You can also define what should happen when the scheduled backup is complete, from nothing to shutting down your Mac. This can be handy for unattended backups, although I wish SuperDuper offered some additional choices. I also wish it offered an easy way to specify when a scheduled backup should start, beyond the built-in time and date method. I would like to add the option of starting a backup when a certain event occurs, such as shutting down my Mac at the end of the day. Most of us don't shut down our Macs at the same time each day, so the ability to specify an event as the trigger to begin a backup would be a more useful option.

Interface

For the most part, SuperDuper uses a single window to perform most common actions. You select a source and a destination from a drop-down list of drives attached to your Mac. You also select the type of backup you wish to perform from a drop-down list. Finally, you select functions from check boxes and more drop-down lists. Overall, the interface is easy to understand and quite functional, although not particularly creative. Still, it's nice to have an application that makes the backup and cloning processes easy to understand and perform.

Where things get a bit more complex is when you need to access the scripts that SuperDuper uses. SuperDuper accomplishes all of its tasks using scripts; luckily for most users, the scripts remain hidden behind the user interface. But if you need SuperDuper to do something special, you'll either have to edit one or more existing scripts or create new ones.

Final Thoughts

SuperDuper has long been one of the favorite cloning and backup utilities for the Mac, and version 2.6.4 cements its position as a must-have utility application. While the Mac includes its own backup system, I find that SuperDuper and Time Machine work very well together, covering the backup needs of most users.

SuperDuper is easy to use for most common cloning and backup operations. Should you need to modify or create backup scripts, ShirtPocket Software has a discussion board and support system that can lend a hand.

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