I don't just want to back up my data. In case the hard drive comes back completely wiped I want to avoid the hassle of reinsalling everying OS X as well as a Bootcamped Windows install.

What tools can I use to backup/image my hard drive such that when I got my laptop back and if I needed to, I could just dump the image back onto the hard drive and be right back where I was last?

  • Related since Linux and Unix have a lot of similarities. A dead simple way is dd which comes with OS X. – styfle Nov 4 '11 at 6:32
  • There has to be a way to not create a bit for bit copy 50% of the hard drive is empty. – mindless.panda Nov 4 '11 at 13:45

I would choose either SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. Make a clone of your hard drive that is a bit-perfect bootable copy. You can either use an external drive or one of those docks that you pop bare drive into.

SuperDuper costs just under $30. Carbon Copy Cloner is donationware. Either one is great. But I like CCC because it can schedule cloning sessions on a regular basis.

  • Keep in mind that a wiped internal drive would then require booting from the external drive in order to use said software to restore the contents, whereas the in-built options of Time Machine are user friendly. – David Metcalfe Nov 4 '11 at 3:49
  • You can run SuperDuper for free as long as you don't want incremental backups. SuperDuper is the most reliable backup tool I've ever used (and I've been running and backing up Macs for twenty years). – Foliovision Jul 8 '17 at 15:43
  • David, you can use the SuperDuper backup as the external boot drive and then restore to the internal partition. – Foliovision Jul 8 '17 at 15:45

If you're running OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or higher, you could just run a Time Machine backup on the system. Restoring from that will return your system to the state at that time.

  • Would that cover the entire drive? Including the windows partition? – mindless.panda Nov 4 '11 at 13:45
  • Time Machine restoration is very slow and quite finicky (requires match of OS versions and Time Machine). The SuperDuper suggestion above is less hassle, faster and far more reliable. – Foliovision Jul 8 '17 at 15:44

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