What is the point of using commercial apps like Carbon Copy Cloner when disk utility can also clone your drives? This article here http://www.macworld.com/article/2461362/drive-cloning-utilities-the-best-mac-apps-for-making-a-bootable-backup.html

says that Disk Utility is "less convenient". I don't understand what the author means, how could I create a clone with Disk Utility?

Thanks so much!

  • 1
    There is no point in using commercial apps if you do not need the extras they offer. The DIY method (do it your self) with Disk Utility will do it to.
    – Ruskes
    Jan 12, 2015 at 17:43

3 Answers 3


DiskUtility is pretty bare-bones when it comes to duplication. You can use it to create a clone, but you have to kick it off manually, and that's about the limit of its features.

Both CCC and SuperDuper have a pretty similar feature set, which includes a lot of features required for convenient backups, like:

  • Scheduling
  • Filtering files
  • Support for bootable volumes
  • Scripting before and after the run (do something more custom)
  • Mount/unmount the drives so they don't normally appear on your desktop
  • Smart copying - only copies changes, not the whole drive. This makes it much quicker.
  • Block-copy of the drive - available in certain cases. Identical copy, not file based.

Under the covers both are very much like (or perhaps implement) rsync. This is a free command-line tool included with OS X which you can use to duplicate drives. But, requires you to use the command line and learn the options. Not all that obvious or intuitive, but works very well.

Anyway, to answer the question:

Be aware - this will wipe the target drive

  1. Find the target drive you want in Disk Utility
  2. Click onto the Restore tab
  3. Drag the source drive over to where it says Source (drive you're backing up)
  4. Drag the Target drive to Destination (drive you're writing the backup TO).
  5. Click Restore

As you can see, for each back-up, you have to do it all manually. With CCC, and other tools, you can schedule it to happen when you're away, as often as you want. eg. every night at 2am. You can also have multiple backups of different data to different place. eg. Whole drive weekly, and your important docs nightly.

  • I think you mean "SuperDuper!," not SuperDrive. SuperDuper! is the competitor to the CarbonCopyCloner software. A SuperDrive is what Apple calls their optical drives.
    – Phil M
    Mar 4, 2016 at 2:31

Only you can answer that question.

Ask your self:

--are you creating (generating) new data files daily, that absolutely have to be saved on the external drive instantly/Daily?

--beyond using the iCloud or Apples Time Machine or other online storage.

YES- use the professional backup

No- use the Disk Utility on occasion (few times a year)- detach the drive and store it (no need to be attached all the time). Set a reminder in Calender to remind you.

Disk Utility does have the ability to clone your hard drives just as well as any other software out there. All you will need to do is...

1. Select your new volume (indented) and click on the "Restore" tab.
2. Drag your old volume to the Source field.
3. Drag your new hard drive to the Destination field.
4. Click the check box for "Erasing Destination".
5. Click restore at the bottom and it then will start copying over to your new hard drive.




I can provide a good example of why Disk Utility is a perfectly adequate tool for its purpose.

I have a Time Machine always attached to my Mac, but that won't save me if my entire setup is stolen, or if my home burns down, or otherwise disappears.

So I want to create periodic off-site backups. Stuff I need critically, day by day, is in the cloud (using cloud-based email and a few gigabytes of cloud-based storage), so I can get by with only rare off-site backups. Two or three times a year I visit a sister who lives a few hundred miles away, and I bring a backed-up bootable external hard drive, which goes into her safe. When I come home, I bring back the one that had previously been there.

Since I'm doing this only rarely, and not on a set schedule, the Disk Utility method works just fine.

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