Backblaze isn’t a backup of system files. It only backs up your user files. It also restores on a file by file basis, so you can do what you’re wanting to do. You could even cherry pick backup files from a Windows machine and restore them to a Mac.
I’ve been using Backblaze for years and it has saved my bacon a few times. Luckily I haven’t needed to do a full restore for all my files, but it has allowed me to restored some lost files from a botched file sync issue, and times when I accidentally deleted a file but didn’t notice for a week.
For the cost & features, I’m not sure there’s a better solution.
Not sure where you are, but it’s Amazon Prime Days, so some external SSDs and HDs are on sale. I’d get one as soon as possible.
Also seconding (thirding) Backblaze. It will take a while to back up (week, two weeks). In the event of a catastrophe (i.e. losing everything, or too much to download), they will ship you a drive that you can recover from.
I heartily endorse Backblaze. However, it can take a long time to do the initial backup if you have a lot of data. I don’t think it’s the best solution for “I have no backups and need to get things backed up right now.” I’d recommend buying an external HD and either setting up Time Machine on it or doing a clone backup using something like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. Actually, I’d recommend buying two hard drives and doing both, and getting Backblaze and backing up to the cloud (I’m a “suspenders and belt” guy when it comes to backups).
I’ve been a Backblaze user since the day Crashplan pulled the plug. It’s the cheapest insurance policy you’ll ever buy.
I agree adding Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper is a good idea. Not a fan of Time Machine. I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make two backups, one to an external drive directly connected and a second to a drive on the network.
I follow the 3-2-1 rule of backups: at least 3 backups, to at least 2 different media, and keep 1 backup offsite.
Although I’ve used Backblaze and B2 for years for all my computers, I wouldn’t use them to restore from a machine failure. It would take way to long to get a disk shipped from Backblaze to get me up and running. I clone my MBP to an external SSD every day with CCC and also to a second SSD for TimeMachine. I just plug these two SSDs into the MBP at start of the day; then remove them an hour or so later when all has settled down.
(TimeMachine fails and trashes the backup disk at least twice a year. This has happened to me for years with multiple Macs, multiple OS X/macOS versions, and multiple TM devices. TM is completely unreliable for long-term storage.)
I was having all kind of weirdness with time machine so gave up.
I now have Backblaze running and an hourly, nightly and weekly chronsoynch backups to different attached drives (weekly to a NAS)
Also have a weekly replica of my system drive made to a bootable external SSD.
Also back the families machines to external drives that are attached so they get uploaded to Backblaze too.
Everyones documents are in OneDrive so there is some history there too.
Lots of great suggestions here. Two things to do, fix the short term problem and then develop a long term solution that utilizes what you chose for the short term.
I think the best option is to get an external SSD and make a clone of your drive. This gives you the most flexible protection and fastest recovery in the event of a failure. BTDT and back up and running in less than an hour.
Once you have a good backup for now, decide on your long term strategy. Your Time Capsule May be repairable, lots of guides online for installing a new drive. That gives you one leg of your plan. Your already purchased clone is another leg. Finally decide on an offsite backup for the worst case scenario. Protect against things like the wildfires, hurricanes, or other disasters. Never had to use my offsite because my local backups have been sufficient for any problems.
Offsite with a slow internet connection is a pain and may take a long time for the initial backup. I’ve dealt with such limits and it’s not impossible but you just have to accept the limits. For major recovery BackBlaze does offer the option of a mailed hard drive for recovery.
Yes, this is quite common. Does Backblaze allow me to select which directories I want backed up? I don’t need the applications directory, nor the downloads directory. There are others I can exclude too.
Yep. You define drives that should be backed up, and then define exclusions from those drives. By default it excludes Applications, and you can also add other folders like Downloads and more in their app settings.
Thanks for all the great suggestions, I’ve got 2 SSDs on order now.
Given that my Mid-2012 only has USB2, a USB-sata adapter for doing external backups is still a bit slow. I’ve never tried a Thunderbolt-SATA adapter. Maybe now is the time though.
I also would agree with the BackBlaze consensus. I’ve been a user (x3 for all the Mac’s in my house) for about 18 months, thanks to hearing about it on MPU. A few notes however, based on my experience:
As some have mentioned, the initial backup can take a long time, depending on your settings and internet speed. As I am a professional video producer and I have both my Mac and many external drives full of giant files, it took almost 6 months for the system to do its initial backup. That got a bit frustrating to me, but when I really analyzed how big of files I was moving from hard drive to desk top and back with each project, on the frequency that I edit projects… I was moving around a giant amount of data, and the system can only backup so much. For my wife who is a photographer with only a couple of external drives that initial backup was much faster. And the kids Mac… very fast. But my system took a LOOONG time. So just be prepared.
Second, if you are backing up large amounts of data to BackBlaze as we are, you’ll need a huge internet pipe. We started out with a more basic Comcast plan and in 2 days, we maxed out out file upload max and started getting massive overage fees. We then had to upgrade to an unlimited data plan, and now, even with an unlimited plan we still get the occasion call from Comcast asking what they heck we are doing by constantly uploading so much data to the internet. So with all 3 computers constantly backing up to BackBlaze to keep up with our files workflow… we move a lot of data!!
Both of those things we didn’t realize when we started our BackBlaze journey and we have since learned. But now that its up and running and just doing the small updates on what we use each day, its been smooth sailing.
I’m not averse to doing that- eventually, I need to get a few good backups first, then probably look at replacing the TimeCapsule with something more modern.
The odd thing is- I’ve hardly used my Mac this year, since working from home. I use my work laptop most of the time and my iphone/ipad. I do need to backup our family pictures from the Mac though and some other documents.
I’ve found an old SSD that I’m using CCC on to grab some files, while the full-capacity SSDs are arriving. I’ll do full-image backups with those.
I’m sure you are going to get loads of feed-back on this topic with many different solutions. My backup requirements are as follows:
1 - I only backup my data. If I suffer a non recoverable issue with my MacBook or Windows machines, I would never do a full system restore, I’d rather re-install the host OS fresh and then re-add my applications (spring clean) and data.
2 - I don’t trust any single form of backup, so the 3-2-1 rule is a great idea at minimum.
3 - I’d rather restore from a local source than using BackBlaze where possible, leaving BackBlaze as a last resort panic button.
So my approach, that is a mixed MacOS and Windows solution, and one that only requires a single back blaze subscription:
Local Machine Backup
Important files are sync’d to a OneDrive (that has file versioning, not quite a backup, but something)
local USB HDD using TimeMachine
lan backup to my home server using CarbonCopy Cloner
My central home server then has the following backup
local USB HDD
Remote off-site backup using BackBlaze
KEY THING - every few months, create a file on your back-up source machines, then check for this file on your various back-up methods. Obviously not a full test, but will pick-up most issues.
Just a quick note- I found a 32GB USB stick, and grabbed as many family pictures from my MBP as would fit. So, I’ve got our last vacation saved to 1 other medium.
While that was going on, I found a 500GB SATA SSD and backed up most of the files/documents (including all of my pictures) that I’m concerned about. So, I’m mostly out of harms way. When the dual 1TB SSDs arrive Fri-Sat, I’ll do a more thorough backup of critical files, then look into Backblaze.
Thank you for all of your suggestions, I need to re-read them and make some (offline) notes. I will probably keep the Time Capsule and stick an SSD in there if it has a SATA interface. Who knows what I’ll use it for but extra storage is good to have when you need it.