One Year, One Mac, and Seven Hard Drives

Image of macbook with superduper logo and the AMS Venus T4 I’ve been on a mac for about thirteen months. Prior to that I had been following mac news and podcasts for two years, but at the time I couldn’t afford a new computer. Unfortunately by the time I was ready to purchase Steve announced the Intel switch. I decided to delay my purchase until both laptop lines went Intel so I could make the best decision. Now I know that during this time everyone said if you need a Mac, buy one, its not like a ibook or powerbook is going to be useless in a year. I agree with that statement, but if you already ready have a moderately fast computer, I already had a great self-built PC, I think there is less of a hurry.

I went for the macbook. Mainly because I new I was going to be buying a powermac now a mac pro in the future so I didn’t see the need to have a super fast video card. Plus I just like the white plastic better. :) So now I’m gearing up for school in the fall and I’m hoping on getting a Mac Pro sometime this fall. I’m kind of waiting for upgrades of the CPUs, video card options, and hopefully a new redesigned case. Maybe this is more like hoping.

This past weekend was basically used for backup, backup and more backing up. I found myself with one group of HFS+ drives, another group of NTFS drives, and one 500GB FAT32 drive with a mixture of Mac and PC stuff on it so I could transfer one thing to another. The only thing I use my PC for now is to download podcasts, since I had all my subscriptions and music library on my PC. So I bought Superduper (blog-review, podcast interview w/ the developer) and got to work. It was very simple I backed up each NTFS drive to a disk image on one of my HFS+ drives then reformatted each NTFS drive to HFS+. Then the disk image was blasted back onto the newly formatted drive. SuperDuper made this really easy to do.

Here are the steps I used to back up one of my drives.

  1. General Interface SuperDuper's Interface Notice in the interface it tells you in plain English what is going to happen.
  2. Pick the drive you want to copy. Dropdown list for selecting which drive to copy
  3. Pick the drive you want to backup to. Dropdown list for selecting backup drive
  4. Select the type of backup you want to do. Standards scripts dialog
  5. Click Options to choose settings: Options Button
    1. General Options Smart update is feature you don’t get in the free version. Its definitely worth the price as its function is to read the source drive for any changes then update them on the destination drive. Of course the first time you do a back up will have to copy everything over. General Options Interface
    2. Advanced Options Advanced Options Interface

The next question people usually have is “How did you hook the internal drives to you Macbook?” Part of the reason which made this easy was my AMS Venus T4 RAID box (the T4 has been updated to the T4U). Its able to connect up to four IDE drives. These drives can set it up to be seen as 4 seperate drives, one combined drive, or 2 separate drives. The device doesn’t require four drives to be connected. The T4 can work with one, two, three, or four drives connected. Also the drives don’t need to be equal in size. It doesn’t do automatic RAID 5 like the Drobo, but it is $375.00 cheaper. OS X can create a RAID 5 from the drives, but software RAIDs are not considered as reliable or robust as hardware RAIDs. I have had the Venus T4 for about 12 months and I’ve never had a problem with it, I just hope they come out with a SATA drive compatible one that has Firewire 800 out. The last part of my setup was a 500GB Western Digital My Book. This is a pretty barebones external drive, but the price is great, and this drive is only used as a third backup for offsite storage. Remember if you house gets robbed or burnt down, all you data will be gone too. This now brings me to my favorite feature of SuperDuper. It has the ability to backup a hard drive to an encrypted disk image. This way you don’t have to worry about partitioning the backup drive or buy one backup drive for every drive you have. I have three drives backup to my WD My Book

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