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I want to dual-boot Ubuntu (14.04) of my Mac running OS X 10.10.3. I want to make sure that I can use my backup to fix any issues I might have dual-booting. I have a bootable USB with Ubuntu on it, and a partition on my internal hard drive to install it on, but I want to back up that Mac partition, including the OS, so that I can use that to get everything back to how it is now, no matter what error happens during dual-booting.

What is the best way to do that?

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Simply connect external hdd with enough storage and use Time Machine application (which is included in OS X)

Here's tutorial from Apple

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    Also, note your TM volume will be bootable, you won't need an OS X installation CD/thumb drive to access and restore the TM volume to your hard disk / SSD should things go wrong. – Patrick McMahon May 1 '15 at 17:54
  • → Patrick: on which version of MacOS did you notice that a Time Machine partition was also including a bootable OS? [@ Patcick McMahon]. – dan May 2 '15 at 12:55
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I would highly recommend a small program called SuperDuper, which I use all the time. The problem with TimeMachine, is that it does incremental backups and eats alot of disk space. And you can't boot into your TimeMachine backups. So if something goes wrong with your dual boot system, TimeMachine is useless, because you need a system to boot into. They are for restoring a system to a previous state. SuperDuper will back up a partition perfectly and make it bootable, so you can use it as an alternate system if something goes wrong. Also you can do update backups and sandbox and use it to restore a partition.

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  • Time Machine is built into the OS and does exactly what OP wants. – Patrick McMahon May 1 '15 at 17:55
  • I've had Time Machine fail on me. Never had SuperDuper! fail on me. Carbon Copy Cloner is another option. – Wayfaring Stranger May 1 '15 at 19:05
  • I think that absolute reliability is the main issue for this kind of thing. I agree with Wayfaring Stranger, Super Duper is super duper reliable at making a perfect clone of your partition. I do not trust Time Machine. – clarkland May 4 '15 at 16:22
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Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper, Disk Utility, and Phoenix. Disk Utility can do binary clones of one disk to another provided the target is as big or bigger than the source. Carbon Copy Cloner and Super Duper are fully featured cloning tools. Phoenix is really an auxiliary tool for the Scannerz package but it can be bought by itself and it can do basic cloning (it's really for creating emergency boot drives). There are also command line applications like asr and ditto that can also do this sort of thing, but as you might guess there a little more difficult to use.

Hope this helps

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