My first clone backup

Finally downloaded CarbonCopyCloner and started backing up my MacBook Air to a connected external drive. HOURS later it hit me —Did I need to be using a dedicated external drive? I’m using the same external drive my Time Machine Backup is using, as well as the drive where I’m storing my PHOTOS. Will CarbonCopyCloner be erasing everything I had on the drive previously? What about TimeMachine? Why didn’t it warn me? What should I do now? Thank you, MPU, for any help. Anxiously, Sandy

I would highly recommend splitting this onto 3 drives, at the moment you have all your backup eggs in one basket, and no backup for your photos. ideally each backup should be in its own location, and the photos should also be backed up to somewhere other than their current location (which could be one of the other two backup drives).


I agree with @RosemaryOrchard. Best practice is to have your photos in multiple places and your backups separate.

Whether or not CCC erases and overwrites the data on the drive with your clone depends on the settings. I think the default behavior is to leave all root level items on the drive alone. But I am not positive. I think CCC will give you a warning before overwriting data on a drive in your first clone. But it can be easy to configure your settings otherwise.

Be careful…and maybe consider adding offsite backup to your routine too.


I have one drive I use for backups when traveling. It’s a 4tb drive split into 2 partitions. One is for CCC and the other is for Time Machine. I have other drives and backup solutions when at home so this is for short term protection. With mediocre internet access on the road, my CrashPlan backup doesn’t always work for me.

At present I have 4 different TM backups, 3 CCC clones, and CrashPlan. I feel adequately protected.

1 Like

Going off of @glenthompson, I have 2 external hard drives I use for backups. I have partitions on them too as I can’t afford or just plain don’t want 8 hard drives for my data.

My HD’s simply put is as follows:

HD 1

  • Photos Partition
  • Archive Partition
  • Backup of HD 1
  • Backup of iTunes 1

HD 2

  • Backup of Photos Partition
  • Backup of Archive Partition
  • Backup of HD 2
  • Backup of iTunes 2

I’d love to move to a NAS when I can but currently it works fine. I’m backing up to Blackblaze right now, just my internal Mac HD for right now, I will be sure to add my HD 1 to it gradually. The biggest thing about backup I’ve learned is 1) Cover your butt and 2) when making major changes make sure to have an extra copy if things go south.

1 Like

I am not to familiar with CCC but Superduper offers “Smart Back-Up” witch will only replace the data that changed.

Fail safe Mac consumer Back-Up system:

  1. Time Machine: continuous with history
  2. Super Duper: Bootable clone. Store in a secure location and update periociaclly
  3. Cloud: continuous synchronisation of data using iCloud
1 Like

I am of a slightly different mind.

CCC clone to its own drive.
Time Machine (all the house Macs backup to one TimeMachine drive connected to my iMac.
Backblaze backup to their cloud.

Once or twice a year. Export all data from Apple Photos, copy the documents folders and backup to a 2.5 in drive that goes in the safe deposit box at the bank. (I rotate a couple of them.)

A really crazy person might also take that export and push copies to Google Photos…

Apple iCloud is not a true "backup"it is a sync service that syncs changes to the devices and the cloud. Yes there are recovery methods but anything that syncs is not backup, e.g. Google, Drive, Dropbox, One Drive. As long as “everything” is working correctly iCloud is great.

I go by the principal of a 3, 2, 1 backup strategy. One working copy, one local backup, and one off-site backup.


1 Like