Mac Backup sucks, but does it work?
May 12, 2006 12:37 AM   Subscribe

Let it be known, first, that I devoured past posts on Macs and backup tools, and see a lot of things I want to try. However, I used Apple's own Mac Backup 3 application (a .Mac tool) prior to learning here that it sucks. So, for those who have also similarly (if inexplicably) used Mac Backup, I have a question. How do I know if it worked?

I started Mac Backup. I created a custom plan so I could do a one-time full backup of a folder on my Mac filled with 10,000+ photos to DVDs. I said "Make backup now." It did its little dance, and said it would take 37 or something CDs, or 4 DVDs. Then, I followed the instructions as it burned the first one, told me to label it, burned the second one, told me to label it, and so on.

But after the third DVD, it reported it was done with that disc (as before), but didn't ask for that fourth disc. And the history simply showed "backup completed successfully." So, did it? Did it just overestimate that it needed four DVDs? Or did I somehow skip it or break something? Immediately after using Backup, my Mac didn't recognize a blank DVD I inserted until after a few tries.

I would've thought that putting one of the burned DVDs into my Mac would helpfully say, "Disc 1 of 3" or something. But there's simply "Disc 1." So I can't tell how many DVDs Backup thinks the plan includes.

Any ideas? Besides, "Don't use Mac Backup"? I'll probably use another utility or go with external Firewire drives, ultimately, but I want to know if these DVDs I made are any good! Thanks in advance.
posted by pzarquon to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Try to do a restore (you can restore an individual file to a different loaction if you want). I use Backup to an external drive and have restored files successfully.
posted by tellurian at 12:48 AM on May 12, 2006

Best answer: Yep, as far as I know attempting a restore is the only way to tell.

For what it's worth, I've always found Backup completely reliable - it's saved my bacon twice, once after a fried logic board, and again after spectacularly careless use of the rm command. That said, I now use SuperDuper, with Backup as my backup backup, so to speak.
posted by jack_mo at 2:58 AM on May 12, 2006

My understanding (via John Gruber) is that the only backup software worth using on a Mac is SuperDuper.

There was a pretty comprehensive review of all the major Mac backup software recently. Surprisingly, it didn't cover .Mac backup. However, there are currently bugs in the 'asr' command, so that may have a negative effect on .Mac backup (but I'm only speculating).
posted by lowlife at 5:51 AM on May 12, 2006

spectacularly careless use of the rm command
*breaks out in a sweat after pressing return*
posted by tellurian at 6:01 AM on May 12, 2006

in your shell defaults file, (~/.cshrc, ~/.profile, etc.) you should alias rm to 'rm -i', so at least it asks you if you really want to delete the file. if you are convinced you want to delete something, you can always type /bin/rm foo instead of just 'rm' and it will bypass the alias.
posted by joeblough at 8:20 AM on May 12, 2006

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