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A Robust Backup Process


A robust professional backup process included at least these attributes:

  • Physical redundancy: at least three separate backups stored safely away from the computer.
  • Process: not wiping out all backups while backing up!
  • Verification of file system integrity on the backup drives.
  • Verification of data integrity for all files on the backup drives after the backup or at any later time (IntegrityChecker).


Read the short and simple version.

Or read how I make a rigorous backup.

Backup up 'xfer' partitions to three external clone backups

Robert T writes:

I am considering IntegrityChecker. Since I am using multiple different Time Machine backups, I was wondering if IntegrityChecker could be directly run on Time Machine backups, as the .ic files should also be automatically be backed up by Time Machine.

MPG: IntegrityChecker works fine on Time Machine backups (tested). But depending on permissions, you might need to use the command line version with 'sudo' (depends on user accounts, how many, etc).

In general, TM is a great solution for one short-term always-on backup (since it is always there and snapshots each hour. But I would discourage the use of Time Machine as an external backup strategy and I’m not sure whether the one serious bug is fixed (might be in 10.8.3, but unverified). Perhaps is is now up to speed as a reliable solution in 10.8.3 for more complex setups, and perhaps not.

Regardless of the choice of backup style (Time Machine or cloning), having only one backup is a risky approach.

TM is also storage-wasteful for the purpose of external backups (I don’t need 13 old versions of my files which change over time)— this becomes a capacity issue for large data sets like mine which already are “tight” on one drive. Nor is it bootable or immediately accessible for fast perusal as with a regular Finder window on any backup drive (“going back in time” is awkwardly modal).

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