Monday Freebie: Carbon Copy Cloner

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone”

Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

In this day and age, it never ceases to amaze me how many people STILL don’t backup their data on a regular basis. Granted, hard drives are pretty darn reliable these days… but all it takes is one failure (or theft) to completely wipe out your precious collection of digital photos or your meticulously organized iTunes collection. And of course, many of us organize our finances digitally as well, so it’s key to have some kind of backup strategy to protect your data. Apple’s Time Machine works quite well for some, but I’ve always preferred a full block-by-block clone of my critical hard disks. For full and partial drive cloning, nothing beats Bombich Software’s Carbon Copy Cloner.

Carbon Copy Cloner is a simple, configurable hard disk cloning utility that can make exact copies of your important drives. For example, if you’re taking  your laptop travelling, you might want to clone your boot drive in case of damage or theft. I always do a complete clone before major OS updates, just in case I need to back-pedal. CCC can do incremental cloning as well. I backup my iTunes collection weekly, and because I’m always using the same source and destination drives CCC only copies over the files which are new or changed.

Although Carbon Copy Cloner is a free download, it’s actually donation-ware. The developer is confident that you’ll grow to rely on CCC and that you’ll eventually pony up a small donation to help him keep the lights on. CCC also displays pertinent ads during the cloning process, giving the developer another potential revenue stream. I’ve been using CCC for nearly 6 years now and it’s become an indispensable part of my Mac utility toolkit!

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