Why Time Machine isn't enough for backup

By Joe Kissell, Macworld |  Storage, Apple, Backup & Recovery

Still, certain important limitations remain, and to overcome them you must either supplement or replace Time Machine. Fortunately, the range of choices is vast--I've compiled a list of more than 100 Mac backup programs. Space doesn't permit a discussion of all of them here (so I apologize if I don't mention your favorite), but I want to call your attention to a few representative programs that address specific shortcomings of Time Machine.

No bootable duplicates If your disk is damaged so severely that you must start over from scratch, Time Machine can restore every file from your backup (to the same disk or another one), but this process can take many hours, or even days in some cases, during which time you can't use your Mac. You can't boot directly from your Time Machine backup disk, but many other backup programs let you create bootable duplicates--exact copies of your entire disk--that can get you up and running again in a minute or two; you can then restore your files more or less at your leisure.

The two best-known tools for creating bootable duplicates are Shirt Pocket Software's SuperDuper! ( Macworld rated 5 out of 5 mice , $28) and Bombich Software's Carbon Copy Cloner ( Macworld rated 4.5 out of 5 mice , payment requested). Both are extremely easy to use and reliable. Many other backup programs offer bootable duplicates along with other types of backup. For example Econ Technologies' ChronoSync ( Macworld rated 4 out of 5 mice , $40) can synchronize files and create versioned backups as well as producing bootable duplicates. And, with the help of a $10 add-on called ChronoAgent, it can do all this over a network too.

No off-site storage Time Machine's design assumes that the disk on which your backups are stored will be somewhere in your home or office. But even if you normally rely on Time Machine, it's safest to have an extra copy of your data somewhere off-site.

Members of MobileMe ($99 per year) have up to 20 GB of online disk space called iDisk, but it's slow, incompatible with Time Machine, and almost certainly too small to back up your entire startup disk. And although it's sometimes possible to use MobileMe's Back to My Mac feature to access a Time Capsule on a remote network, Time Machine's high bandwidth requirements make such an arrangement problematic for most users.

Originally published on Macworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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