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I want to do a full backup of my Mac to an external disk AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. Does that mean I should use something other than Time Machine or set some settings?

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It depends on what your full usage scenario is. For a one-off full image Time Machine is not very well suited, you are better of with using

If you are looking for having a full image of your drive updated regularly, fast and hassle-free, Time Machine is a good way to do that. The initial backup will just take a while longer, the incremental ones will be rather fast.

  • and rsync? is there any compelling reason to use SuperDuper or CCC over rsync? – themirror Jan 31 '13 at 19:34
  • AIUI CCC's sync feature actually uses a specially updated & patched version of rsync -- see CCC author Mike Bombich's rsync notes. I'm not sure about speed, but I think it does a slightly better job of preserving file attributes than the Apple-supplied rsync version. – Gordon Davisson Jan 31 '13 at 20:31

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