Ah, Mac. I’m still only just getting to know you.At first glance everything is so wonderfully intuitive. Then the problems happen.Got an issue with mac “backup.” At first glance, this program was my dream come true. It promised that I could schedule the backup of a specified folder on a specified drive to a destination of my choice. The best part — each time I wanted to run the backup, it would be intelligent enough to deduce what new files had been added to the source folder since the previous backup — and copy ONLY those new files to the archive.When you have a 500gig source drive as I do, this is a godsend. No longer would I have to back up each little file myself. At long last the program would be able to do it for me. (Easy example being itunes. I keep my itunes library on an external drive. Every so often I consolidate itunes from my main system, adding new files to the drive every few weeks. Every few months, I want to backup my itunes library – instead of backing up the ENTIRE damn drive every single time, I was hoping backup would be smart enough to know what files are new to the source drive since the previous backup was made, and copy only those new files to the archive.)And yet, it seems that backup insists on making a FULL archive of my source drive every single time I attempt a backup. It refers to these secondary files as “incremental backups” but they are identical to the “full backups” in every way. Once more, the compressed files seem to take up more space than the uncompressed files.And then I installed Leopard. Perhaps the installation confused backup. Perhaps I’m supposed to now use “Time Machine.” Sadly this requires me to reformat my backup drive. Kinda defeats the purpose when you already have one, but I suppose I can understand this. Sigh. I just want to backup my new files. Anyone have a solid method they use or any recommendations?



8 Comments to “Need Someone To Watch My Back(up)”


  1. junktape — April 27, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

    sorry for no paragraphs, I have no idea how to format my posts. flippin wordpress. Anyway, Time machine had me reformat my backup destination drive, which is an external. Sadly, it seems to only backup my mac proper (like a PC system restore) rather than act as a customizable backup program. So I think I’m back to square one (only now I’ve deleted 500 gigs worth of backed up material).

  2. Sikarus — April 28, 2008 @ 11:17 am

    I’ve been using Retrospect to backup my Macs (and a Linux box) for years (at least 5), and it has always done a superb job. Setting up the backup schedules can be somewhat of a pain if you haven’t used the program before (and probably reading the manual would have helped, but where’s the fun in that). Once it’s setup it just does it’s thing, I have mine set to run when I’m asleep and only have issues when I run out of space on my backup drive.

    I’ve never had it had any issues with doing fulls when it should be doing incrementals unless I’ve done something where it makes since a full needs to be done.

  3. Sikarus — April 28, 2008 @ 11:18 am

    arg.. that last “since” should be a “sense”

  4. nmancer — April 28, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

    First off, forget Time Machine. It is an amazingly clever idea, particularly the fact that its part of your router and will automatically deal with laptops that are on and off the network. But its mainly designed for stupid people who do things like regularly delete files by “accident”. Besides, to use it effectively, you really need another drive that is double the size of your current one and that’s just a waste. And Time Machine is built to “help” even the biggest numbskull. So if you so much as breathe on a file, its gonna make a new backup of it.

    So, I think you want to stick with Backup. From your post, it sounds like things were peachy until you installed Leopard. If that is indeed the case, then I suspect your configuration may have been reset, particularly since (I believe) a Leopard came with a new version of Backup. And its possible, although I’d have to check to be sure, that after installing Leopard, it might have needed to do a full backup at the outset.

    Without delving into it in more detail here are my initial suggestions:

    a) Make sure you have the most current version of Backup (I believe that it is 3.1.2)

    b) Make sure Time Machine is turned off on your system. Open System Preferences, select Time Machine and turn it off.

    c) Check your settings in Backup and make sure that its is actually still “incremental” and that they didn’t change when you installed Leopard.

    d) You might want to do a “Forced Full Backup” of your system to refresh all the data. It could reset things in a way that makes the incremental backups work properly. This is something you do have to do once in a while.

    If none of that helps and/or you need more help, you know where to find me.

    Good luck!

  5. junky — April 28, 2008 @ 8:26 pm

    Thanks very much, i really appreciate the feedback. You’re a godsend. I do have the current version of backup, and I DO think installing leopard must have cleared its memory – that would explain a lot. Though this DID happen to me in the past, I suppose it’s inevitable that a TOTAL BACKUP is required every few months. I wonder what backup considers to be the alteration of a file worth re-backing. I assumed it checked dates. I wonder if simply activating a file (in the case of itunes, playing a song) would affect it enough that it would need to be re-backed.

    I guess what I like least is the compression. I’d prefer if this program had an option where you could just CLONE the damn drive – just back it up on a 1:1 file scale. At the end of the day, I still think it’s easier for me to drag these files back and forth, and maintain them by hand.

    But I’m gonna give backup another chance – too bad my system will take over 24 hours to backup. Guess I’ll have to wait for the weekend. :)

    Thanks, I will report my progress.

    …And leave the time machines to Doc Brown.

  6. nmancer — April 29, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

    First off, don’t use Safari to try to post with Wordpress. They behave VERY badly together. I use Firefox for my posting.

    Secondly, it would be interesting to know what way Time Machine reformatted your hard drive before you proceed any further. It could possibly make things harder down the road. Best way is to run “Disk Utility” (under Applications -> Utilities), then select the disk and look at the information at the bottom of the window to see how its formatted.

    And dude, just pick up the phone and call me and I can help walk you through it.

  7. Christa — April 29, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

    hehe – you called him ‘dude’ :)

  8. junky — April 29, 2008 @ 4:41 pm

    Thanks again – ok on safari – will use firefox next time…

    I did consider what affect time machine might have had on my external, so I did indeed run file utility and I “erased” the volume. As a precaution, I also attempted to rewrite it — As you probably know, the utility gives you three options on doing this — each takes more time than the last, creating a more thorough clean slate. I chose the first option since i did not have much time before I would need my laptop to take to work. It STILL took about 9 hours, and when it finished it asked for ANOTHER SEVEN. So I “skipped” that stage of the process and took my computer to work.

    This weekend I will reformat the drive as best I can, for however long mac wants to. And then, I will attempt a totally fresh backup of my Itunes drive (about 80gigs) and my Backup Files (about 350 gigs). My guess is that this will take 2 days.

    Thanks for the offer – I will call if I need to. I hate being a bother and only calling when I need tech support, sigh. Wish you’d come back to Dreamworks so at least we’d see you on weekends. :) You are missed, my leather-entrench-coated friend.


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