Backup-clone a mac (other method than time macine) help needed

(Joe M) #1

We have a macbook air that has data and apps that may be needed for the next staff person. I am looking for ideas on how to fully backup or clone it to another hard drive to be used to copy it to another computer.
I don’t have a computer to copy to yet, that is why I want to backup to a hard drive (using a usb dock).

(Phill tran) #2


My goto app for cloning macs is Carbon Copy Cloner -

A few other good options are:

(Shane Stanton) #3

I’ve used Carbon Copy Cloner a lot in the past. You can also use Disk Utility’s ‘Restore’ function to clone a hard drive, you just have to boot from another drive to do so (like a OS restore USB drive), since the source drive has to be unmounted.

(Mark Simmons) #4

I’d use the built-in Migration Assistant. Works slick.

(Russ Taylor) #5

Migration assistant only works with user data and will not copy the applications already installed on the host Mac to the new system. It is also designed to be used to pull data from an old machine to a new one, not to archive.

You want to create a full backup of the whole Mac, so Carbon Copy Cloner would be the best. However, if you don’t want to purchase any third party software, you will need to use Apple’s own Disk Utility or the System Image Utility. However in order to do that you will need to install OS X on your external drive first, boot from it, then use either tool to create a compressed drive image of your host Mac. That means your external drive needs to be at least 50GB larger than the MacBook Air.

When you get the replacement machine, you can just boot using the external drive and use the same utility to restore the new machine’s hard drive from the stored disk image.

(Mike Hazelwood) #6

You can use hardware based for MAC or PC. I use this to clone drives, but new drive has to be same size or larger. Useful when going from SATA and upgrading to SSD, don’t have to do time machine and then restore, so saves a lot of time.

(Joe M) #7

Thank you for all your replies.
I have used Carbon Copy Cloner before.
We do have a drive duplicator and have used it also.
I will try Disk Utility.

(Steve Dale) #8


I have used both Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper in the past with success. CCC costs £31.55 plus local taxes, SD costs £22.98 plus local taxes. I personally now use TechTool Pro, which costs $99.99 plus local taxes. It’s available from I have used it for several years so benefit from the discount price for upgrades and prefer it as it offers several other features as well as cloning volumes.