What To Do After You Backup Your Mac

Updated 2018-08-08

By now all you Mac users have realized the necessity of backing up your files on a regular basis. You may use Time Machine to make versioned backups, Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) or SuperDuper to make cloned backups, or services such as Backblaze to make backups in the cloud.

You may even be as paranoid as I and follow the 3–2–1 backup plan. Have 3 backups — 2 on-site, 1 off-site. As I have written before I follow the 3–2–1 plan plus I use DropBox for work-in-progress.

However, making regular backups is only the first step in the overall process. It may be the most important step, but it isn’t enough. You need to do two more things. I call this the 3–2–1-Plus Plan.

  1. Test your backups and learn how to use them. If they don’t work or you don’t know how to use them then the backups are useless.
  2. Time Machine backup. Learn how to use TimeMachine to find older versions of files and folders and restore them to the current state. The simplest way to do this is to find a file that you don’t want and delete it. Then use TimeMachine to find an earlier version and click “restore.” http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1427
  3. Clone backup. Shut your computer down and restart it from the external clone backup. To do this hold the option key down when restarting and select your external drive as the boot drive.
  4. Cloud-based backup. Learn how to find and restore files and folders using the tools provided by your backup service. Each service will have help files and instructions for doing this.
  5. Have a printed copy of the instructions. If your computer crashes, then you won’t be able to access stored instruction files or access the Internet. One alternative is to have a PDF copy of the instructions in a DropBox or iCloud folder that can be accessed from your iPad, iPhone, or another working computer.

“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid. You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation at high speed with total clarity.”

― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

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