Mea Culpa… again.

I’ve been using Super Duper! for, like, ever (and therein lies the root of my problem.)

I’ve been using SD! to backup my laptop to an external LaCie drive every night. I’ve been doing this since said laptop was an Aluminum G4. I’ve been doing this since the default partition scheme was “Apple Partition Map”. I’ve been doing this since before I got my MacBook Pro…

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

I took my MBP in for repair yesterday (finally got fed up with the thermal shutdown problem it’s always had). No problem I thought – the warm and fuzzy feeling that having a recent SD! backup gives you in full effect. I’ll just boot the new Mac Mini (Core 2 Duo) I bought for the living room off my backup and keep working until the MBP is back.

Uh, no.

Of course the Mac Mini wouldn’t boot from the backup drive (remember that old partition scheme?) OK, time to clone it to another drive… 3 hrs later and 96% of the way through the clone the destination drive dies. OK, try again, different drive, 2 1/2 hours later, the clone is complete (Yay!) but the clone is un-bootable (Boo!).

So, I re-installed Leopard on the destination drive and started to migrate from the backup… Estimated time to completion? ~5 hrs (at which point I gave up).

In case your are keeping track, that equates to an entire day wasted.

2 hrs later while shopping at the mall (and just around the corner from the Apple Store) my cell phone rings. It’s the Apple Store technician, my MBP is ready (Hooray for Pro Care!)

Lesson learned? Always. Test. Your. Backups. Warm and fuzzy feelings don’t actually mean your are safe. Trust, but verify.

10 thoughts on “Mea Culpa… again.

  1. I’d be interested to know what Apple had to do to fix your thermal shutdown problem (assuming it is fixed). I’ve been having the same problem with my MBP.

  2. Jim,

    They replaced the mobo, the heatsink thermal sensor, and the left I/O board… slash and burn repair 🙂

    And yes, it looks like the issue is fixed.

  3. Use Retrospect. Altought a bit old-shcool, it’s reliable as a rock, I trust 100% on it. When I installed in on an used G5 I bought, it started complaining with checksum errors. I thought it was a bug, but some days later I found out that Retrospect was right, and that I had bad RAM. No 3D interface, no flying windows, no coolness factor, not even remote administration (for now), but hell, it works!

  4. Oh, I have no complaint with SuperDuper! It’s rock solid and reliable.

    Which is more than I can say about myself. Not cluing into the fact that the change in the default partition scheme applied to me… sheesh!

  5. Super Duper is way too slow, doesn’t really allow you to backup specific files or files.

    My choice as the best backup app is Carbon Copy Cloner.. Donation ware. I timed using Carbon Copy vs Super duper make a bootable of a 320GB drive (260GB used) . CCC took a tad over 2 hrs , Super Duper very very slow — after 1 hr, I went to sleep at 11pm and it was still trying to finish at 6:30am the following morning

  6. I also use CCC to clone drives (usually for installing new OS or changing to a newer machine, using the Migration Assistant). It also works amaizngly perfect. But for backups, I still love Retrospect. Incremental backups, compressing, backups go to a single huge file (sounds bad, but it’s actually good because avoids stuff like Spotlight to waste time indexing the backup, and can be easily transported between machines), and specially, the fact that I plug my powerbook to the home network, and if 3 days have passed since the last backup, it will start updating the backup automatically, I really don’t have to worry at all. And if I unplug the cable, no problem, it keeps everything it done so far and does not corrupt the backup. And if for some reason the backups are not being made, it will warn me after 7 days of no-backups that something might be wrong. OK, I just love it! 🙂

  7. SD!’s backups being bootable is the “must have” feature for me – but I didn’t really want this to become a debate about the merits of the various backup solutions (like politics or religion, backup methodology is one of those topics you should avoid discussing at a party 🙂 )

  8. I always set SD to boot from the external drive at the completion of the the backup (Smart or otherwise). Better to find out then that all is not well than sometime later when Murphy has struck.
    My plan is to run TM, but still do fortnightly SD Smart Backups. Yes, I have been known to wear braces and a belt. ;^)
    Remember: the definition of “Back Up” is “How far are you prepared to back up and do all that work again?”

  9. Ian,

    Exactly, I think that TM complements an SD! (or other) backup nicely. SD! gives you a bootable snapshot to get working again quickly (I will continue to run it nightly) and TM gives you a history for those ‘human’ disasters that are not necessarily a disk failure.

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