SuperDuper is shareware backup software for the Mac, and it does much more than backups.
It makes a clone which is bootable, if desired; makes a "Safety Clone";
can backup everything or just the folders or files you designate; and can do an incremental
backup of just the changed files. Yet at the same time, it's easy to understand and
easy to use! It works with Tiger. The cost of this software is only $27.95 from Shirt-Pocket
can download for free a version that clones your drive, but it doesn't have the extra
You need Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later (Panther or Tiger). OS 9 users need to go elsewhere.
SuperDuper will not back up to CDs, DVDs or Tape. If you want a bootable backup,
you'll need an internal or external FireWire drive.
Setup and Installation
To install SuperDuper, just go to http://www.shirt-pocket.com/, locate the Download button, click
and download the disk image, and when it automatically opens, drag the application
and User's guide's files to your Applications folder or wherever you like. Very simple.
I made a bootable clone by opening SuperDuper, designated the source drive as my
PowerBook HD, designated the destination drive as my external drive's partition (which
I named "BACKUP MONTHLY DUPLICATION"), choose the "Backup - all files"
option, and hit the "Copy Now" button. That's it.
SuperDuper main window
NOTE: The drive specification for source and destination can be any partition of
the internal or external drive, and for destination, I could have also specified
to make a disk image.
In fact, SuperDuper tells you what's going to happen before you backup so you can
change your selection before the program goes to work. Thus, you can see if you've
made the wrong selection of the source, the destination, which files you're backing
up, and which backup method you will be using. The other backup option is "Backup-user
files" which only backs up the user's Home folder. When this option is selected,
other directories and files, including applications, will not be backed up.
Once a backup has been performed, SuperDuper provides the following options for subsequent
- Erase the files from
the destination drive and copy everything again from the source.
- Do a Smart Update, which
copies only files that are new or changed since the last clone, and deletes any files
that were removed from the source since the last clone (this is much faster than
the first option).
- Copy only files that
are newer (have a more recent modification date), but not deleting any files that
were removed from the source since the last clone.
- Copy only files that
are different (not necessarily newer) in date, size, attributes, etc., but not deleting
any files that were removed from the source since the last clone.
SuperDuper - General Options
The Safety Clone option
(also called a Sandbox) is something I've never seen before. A Safety Clone is a
bootable copy of your system files and Apple apps which shares all other files and
non-Apple apps with your source drive. Thus, the great advantage of the Safety clone
is that you can safely install system updates on the Safety Clone without concern.
If there is a problem with the update, simply boot from the source drive. Changes
to non-system files which you made while using the Safety Clone are preserved on
the source drive. Your work is not lost. If no problem, simply update your source
drive, but now you know it's safe.
SuperDuper - Sandbox
The first option is entitled
"Sandbox-shared users and applications". As the name indicates, the Safety
Clone option shares all Home folder and 3rd party apps with the source drive (your
A second option for the Safety Clone is the "Sandbox-shared users" which
only excludes your Home folders. Thus, the Safety Clone includes OS X and all your
apps. This is my choice because I don't want the aggravation of installing apps,
Apple or otherwise, and their updates if there is a problem, but it does take up
much more disk space. However, disk space is relatively cheap. Where this feature
really proves powerful is when you are going to install a new OS or app or an update.
First boot from the Safety Clone so that if a problem arises, you can go back to
the original drive, which will contain all the files you worked on since the clone
was made. If no problem, just copy simple apps from the clone to the original drive
and for more complex apps (ones with installers), just install on the original drive
using the installer.
A nice little feature of SuperDuper is that it asks you if you want to repair permissions
in Apple's Disk Utility before you backup. It's accessed from the Option button on
the screen that tells you what's about to happen. I like it because, if set, it will
will run each time a scheduled backup is run - and I otherwise don't repair permissions
SuperDuper also permits you to schedule your backups so that they are performed automatically.
When you setup a backup on the main screen, there is a Schedule button which takes
you to a screen where you can set the time (weeks of the month, days of the week,
and time of day) for the backup to occur. Since discipline to performs backups is
something we sometimes lack, this feature is a real benefit. If you have several
different backup copy tasks which you perform on a regular basis, you can save the
settings for each backup.
SuperDuper, like many
other backup utilities, only provides you with the latest version of your files.
It does not permit you to preserve a picture of your hard drive at different times,
i.e., an incremental archive. To remedy this, I made 3 partitions on my external
drive--- one for backup in even months, one for backup in odd months, and one for
the Safety Clone.
SuperDuper vs Retrospect
Both SuperDuper and Retrospect provide versatile backup tools, including features
for scheduling backups. Retrospect's toolset may be more advanced, with some extra
options that SuperDuper does not support, but for my needs, I find that SuperDuper
is simpler, more understandable, less expensive, has better support, and has the
Safety Clone feature. The latter is a real benefit that Retrospect does not include.
SuperDuper is my favorite backup software for the Mac. It let's you choose whether
to back up just your data files, just Apple applications, all your applications,
or all your files. It can make an incremental backup of just the changed files, and
it can make a bootable clone ("Safety Clone") which permits you to install
new applications on the clone without affecting your main system. The latter feature
is super for installing upgrades and testing them to see if they are safe. SuperDuper
is easy to understand and easy to use, and works with OS 10.3.9 and higher. You can
download SuperDuper for free to try it out (the free version does not have all options
enabled). I highly recommend SuperDuper for every Mac user.
- Efficient, easy to understand
- Makes a bootable clone
- Incremental updates
- Safety Clone makes installs
and updates safer
- No support for incremental
5 out of 5 Mice