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JAC II 11-04-2007 11:46 AM

Will Time Machine make SuperDuper obsolete?
THIS IS NOT AN ATTACK ON SUPERDUPER. I have been using SuperDuper for 3 + years and it has saved me MANY times. In fact my father used it to back up his iBook a couple of weeks ago and two days later his internal hard drive died. He would have lost everything. We bought a new Macbook that day and 2 hours later using SuperDuper he was back in action - the ONLY thing he lost were the previous days e-mails. I am a huge fan of this program.

But I am curious whether Time Machine will do the same thing that SuperDuper does - I understand it has the "go back in time feature" but does Time Machine allow you to "clone" like Super Duper does?

I also heard that Time Machine takes up a trendendous amount of disk space.

I am thinking that I might use both programs, which would mean I would buy a bigger hard drive for Time Machine to use. It can't hurt to have double back ups.

But the "clone" function of SuperDuper is too useful, and I like how all my settings are exactly as the were before. Any one using both? Comments?

Lyle 11-04-2007 12:31 PM

No, Time Machine won't make SuperDuper obsolete (at least not the way that Time Machine is currently implemented). This blog post by Dave Nanian discusses the differences between Time Machine and Super Duper and why you should think of them as complementary tools.

It is my understanding that you cannot boot directly from a Time Machine backup; see for example this section from John Siracusa's review of Leopard at the ars technica web site. It sounds like you'd have to boot up from your Leopard install DVD, and then do a restore from your Time Machine disk back to the primary drive. That's assuming of course that your primary drive hasn't failed, and that you have a bootable disk that you can restore back to.

I agree with you that it couldn't hurt to have two different kinds of backups. I personally am waiting on a "blessed" version of SuperDuper before I upgrade to Leopard, so I haven't decided for sure whether I'll use Time Machine or not; but I absolutely will continue to use SuperDuper.

neofactor 11-04-2007 01:49 PM

My Setup
Here is how I balance the two backup services...

I had an External firewire 800 Lacie drive. I swapped out the stock 200GB and put in a new 500GB drive.

I gave it 4 partitions:

1) 10GB - Leopard - "Mac OS X Install DVD" made from the actual DVD
Leopard Install DVD image so I do not have to go looking for it!

2) 100GB - "SuperDuper"
The SuperDuper will be used for making bootable copies of my internal Powerbook laptop drive (Once it is released for Leopard). I typically have it run a smart-copy every workday at 9am... when I am at meetings

3) 100GB - "AltBoot"
The AltBoot is just that... a place to play if needed.

4) 255 GB - "TimeMachine"
TimeMachine Drive to have the hourly backups for versioning.

I think things would be allot different if TimeMachine copies were bootable... but they are not.

I have used Superduper backups tons of times to allow me to keep working regardless of which machine I am on... especially when I have to ship my laptop off for repairs... I just bot up the backup and keep working on a spare Mac.

FYI - the now spare 200GB drive is mounted using a simple USB to IDE cable... to allow me to get content off that drive. Since I have a non-intel.. I cannot boot off USB... just read the drive data. That will change when I get my Intel. My backup setup will stay the same though.

NightOne 11-04-2007 04:40 PM

See Joe Kissell's article as well:

Time Machine: The Good, the Bad, and the Missing Features

JAC II 11-04-2007 09:16 PM

Thanks so much for all your replies - this is exactly what I was looking for. I am now more convinced than ever (especially after reading Joe Kissell's article) that SuperDuper makes more sense for me right now.

Thanks again.

stokessd 11-04-2007 10:15 PM

With time machine neutered (forced to have a tethered drive), superduper is more relevant than ever. Even if time machine is working well and allowing network backups, it's still not a replacement for superduper.

When timemachine finally matures and is usable, I'll still be using superduper for complete images as a secondary backup. I keep a drive in my fireproof box for complete images in case of a house fire. I also keep another drive at my parents house for the same reason. These images will be made with superduper

A disk image with a zillion hard links is not a quick way to fast recovery. It is a great way to find and fix goobered up files. A snapshot image is what superduper does well.


hiroProtagonist 11-05-2007 09:14 AM

I have a 1TB Firewire drive that is being used exclusively for Time Machine. I also have a 500GB FW drive that I was going to partition in two, and use for cloning my MacPro and my Macbook. I probably won't use Time Machine on the MacBook, just the MacPro. However after reading Neofactors post I'll most likely partition the 500GB drive in three, the two clones and a disk image of the install DVD.

I think its helpful to look your back up types as meeting two different needs. The. Oooops that file was here yesterday, or last week, should be nicely met by Time Machine. The second situation, the WTF is going on now situations, is more adequately meet by SuperDuper!. So no I do not believe that TM will make SD obsolete and intend to use them to compliment each other. You had it right when you said that it can't hurt to have two back ups. If possible I'd use 2 separate externals rather then putting both back ups on the same drive, just for extra security. Another reason that I'm using two drives is that my 1TB FW drive is actually two 500GB drives in a RAID 0 array. Having 1 TB for TM (the internal drive is 500GB and is currently half full) means I should be able to reach quite far back if need be. While I've never lost data due to an array failure, it is a possibility that it could happen, so having the SD clone on its own drive makes the use of the RAID drive for TM feasible.

Neofactor - What is the difference between the AltBoot and Super Dupper Partitions. Is AltBoot more of a Sandbox then an actual means of recovery?

Lyle 11-05-2007 05:29 PM


Originally Posted by neofactor (Post 15196)
1) 10GB - Leopard - "Mac OS X Install DVD" made from the actual DVD
Leopard Install DVD image so I do not have to go looking for it!

That's a really clever idea! I need to remember that when I get around to upgrading.

justG 11-06-2007 10:03 AM

@Lyle, another option to consider is a "clean slate" partition, which is what I do. It's about the same size, 8-12GB depending on what you install. I install my OS, install any available updates, install any 3rd-party drivers I need (Wacom tablet, for example, and 3rd-party keyboard), configure my System Preferences (y'know, display, time, network, all that stuff), and then clone it to a separate, 10ish-GB partition. The next time I want to start from scratch, all I have to do is make sure that my SuperDuper! (daily smart-updated) clone is up-to-date and clone back my clean slate partition. In 5-7 minutes, I'm good to go without having to re-install my OS and tweak its settings to my liking.

Hope that helps.

Francois 11-07-2007 03:54 PM

On Leopard and Super Duper!
But I am curious whether Time Machine will do the same thing that SuperDuper does - I understand it has the "go back in time feature" but does Time Machine allow you to "clone" like Super Duper does?

I also heard that Time Machine takes up a trendendous amount of disk space.

I am hearing the same, and worse, that Leopard has bugs , that SD ! as well as iDefrag and iPartition have problems with it. Well, this is certainly not scandalous as Innovative OS'es are complex animals and prone to have bugs.
My points , therefore, are :
1) Wait and see. I'm presently running Tiger and SD ! meets all my backup needs with only 30 GB external drive space and I don't see what more I could get from Time Machine.
2) In about 6 or 9 months the coast will be clear, Leopard fixed, and , most of all , I hope Apple will propose some new hardware ( The Power G5 , for ex. is the same since more than one year). Then I'll upgrade and buy a new machine with Leopard. I'm especially excited about XCode3


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