Classic Mac OS Software (Discussions on Applications) > Business Software & Application Suites

A Strategy for Backups


If your data is important, you need a backup strategy.

You'll need to backup your software too. Probably you've tweaked it to
your own liking; in the event off a crash, you would not want to
reinstall every program then update it to its present condition.

You can backup to DVD via Toast5; it considers a DVD just a big CD.
However you will need to also backup to external hard drives (Firewire
400, or 800 with an adapter), not least because their capacity is much

Another reason is that the DVD produced by Toast may not boot your
computer, even though you told Toast to bless it; whereas backups to
hard drives are always blessed.

Your backup drive should have at least 2 partitions dedicated to
backups of your software and data. You may choose to have separate
partitions for your software and data, in which case you need two of
each. If you have a lot of special data, eg Movies, create two special
partitions for it. Name each partition so it's easy to identity what
each is for.

Your external backup drive should be the BIGGEST and MOST RELIABLE
drive you have. It will hold TWICE the data of your internal drive.
However, very high capacity drives may be less reliable than the old,
smaller, ones, because more & more stuff is being fitted into the same

Prepare your OS 9 backup drive with Disk Utility in 10.4; Erase and
Partition it there, specifying that OS9 drivers be installed on every
partition. The Apple Partition Scheme should be used, not GUID (choose
it under the Partition button). Specify Macintosh EXTENDED formatting,
not Macintosh Standard and NOT JOURNALLED.

When you backup, alternate between two partitions on the backup drive;
eg backup to Backup1 today and Backup2 next time. NEVER overwrite the
last backup. Suppose you backed to Backup1 last time; then you'll
backup to Backup2 today.

There are two ways to do it: as a FULL backup or as an INCREMENTAL
backup; the Incremental one only backs up what's changed since last

For a FULL backup, select Backup2 in the Finder, then go to Special
and choose Erase Disk. Erase it; then go to your internal disk and
Select All the files you want to backup, and drag them to Backup2.

For an INCREMENTAL backup, use Retrospect Express and choose
"Duplicate". This works in a similar way to Carbon Copy Cloner in X.
Both produce a blessed backup disk, provided that the internal disk
was blessed. You can then operate your computer from that blessed
external disk. Windows users do not have this great facility.

The files and folders on Backup2 can be individually accessed.

Buy several backup drives, and keep some of your backups offsite;
Offsite Backups give you additional protection.

It's good to be reminded of this as it's all too easy to get a little lazy about backing up! ;D  I like the 'alternate' technique... I need to make better use of that!! ;D

Yep, you can't back-up too much - I value my data much more than the hardware!

If you've got a lot of Macs, I recommend a network based system.
I use Retrospect 4 on a PM9500 with an internal DAT (DDS) drive, but you can use whatever media you like.
You can use it to back-up anything on your network that has the Retrospect Client control panel - for me that's a plethora of Macs and a couple of XP machnes.
It's scriptable, can run automated or on-demand, and you can do whole drives or specific folders.
Tapes are not very quick, and they don't appear on the desktop like disk drives, but Retrospect takes care of all the file management. It will only back-up files which have changed since the last back-up, keeps track of what machine they belong to and what tape they are on. You just keep adding tapes to the library as they fill up.

Just this week, my Mac crashed as I hit save in Excel. The file was trashed and had to restore. Only lost a weeks worth of changes rather than years.
Whatever your method, check your restore process actually works!


> Only lost a weeks worth of
> changes rather than years

There's a way to lose less.

If your Mac has a second or third internal drive, use one for backups; if not, use a USB stick permanently plugged in.

Copy EVERY data file to it, at the same time as you save it on your main drive.

I do not use automatic saving; instead I have trained myself to save every 10 minutes or so - it becomes a habit.

This internal backup drive looks messy after a while, but that's better than losing your data.

This is a different kind of backup from the kind I was talking about earlier. That latter kind might be called an "Archive". It preserves the structure of your hierarchic file system.

You do an Archive periodically. After you do the Archive, Erase the internal backup disk (that's why it MUST be a separate partition), and Archive to it too. At that point it's a mirror copy of your main internal drive.

After that, use it to backup every file you save, as described above. Until the next Archive.

We all get our fingers burned, losing data. This sort of Contingency Planning minimises the loss.

The method is the same on OS9 as on later OS; only the software is different.


--- Quote from: petermyersaus on February 04, 2016, 08:40:38 PM ---Your backup drive should have at least 2 partitions dedicated to
backups of your software and data.

--- End quote ---

Don't do this. It might make some sense from a data perspective in that you have two versions of the same data, but it's still a single point of failure. If the backup drive fails, you lose both backups.

Instead, do this:

--- Quote from: petermyersaus on February 04, 2016, 08:40:38 PM ---Buy several backup drives, and keep some of your backups offsite;
Offsite Backups give you additional protection.

--- End quote ---

Sound advice. If any one drive fails it doesn't immediately put your data at risk.

By the way, I use SuperDuper! from 10.4 to create images of my partitions. It has a smart update function that will update an image file to the current state, which is much faster than doing a complete backup. It is an incremental backup in principle but you end up with a single, up-to-date disk image. In case of disaster, simply restore onto a new disk or partition and you're done.


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