Review: Carbon Copy Cloner – Backup doesn’t get any better

Hard drives fail. Suddenly. Unexpectedly. Catastrophically. We all know we should back up our data but oftentimes we don’t, either because it’s a hassle or because we forget or simply because we’re not sure exactly how to proceed.

There are many personal backup applications for the Mac, but my favorite is Carbon Copy Cloner from Bombich Software. It is, to my mind, the gold standard in backup applications because it’s incredibly easy to use, offers incredible powerful features but is also incredibly affordable as well.

How Carbon Copy Cloner works?

As the name suggests, Carbon Copy Cloner is not only good for basic backups, but it can make an exact bootable duplicate of a Mac’s main hard drive. This means that in the event of failure, your cloned hard drive will boot and function exactly like the original. This is to my mind the easiest and most foolproof way to ensure that your files stay safe. Other backup applications make disk images or archives of your files which then must be accessed in the event of failure so that files can be restored. Carbon Copy Cloner turns any hard drive into an exact duplicate which can be used immediately without any kind of restoration required. Quite simply, it rocks.

Opening up the application takes you to a central screen where the minimalist controls are laid out. Choose a drive to clone, choose a destination or target drive, and decide whether you want to do a full backup of all items or an incremental backup of only those items that have changed since the last backup cycle. Hitting the “clone” button begins the backup immediately, while “save task” brings up a scheduler screen that allows the backup to be automated at a time of your choosing.

What I appreciate most about Carbon Copy Cloner is that it makes it very easy to see and understand exactly what the software is doing and what will happen as a result. It’s a model of clarity and for a backup application that has the power to erase or write-over your hard drive, that’s incredibly important.

Finally, Carbon Copy Cloner is donationware, meaning its author Mike Bombich offers it to everyone free of charge. He merely asks that if you like and use the program, you consider a small donation to cover the cost of its ongoing development.

So, here’s what you need to know. Carbon Copy Cloner is a great backup utility. It’s holistic approach to data management is to mind mind safer than many of the alternatives available. As a bonus, it’s incredibly easy to use and it costs next to nothing. I strongly suggest that everyone go download a copy of Carbon Copy Cloner for yourself and if you like it, which I’m sure you will, continue the virtuous cycle by giving a donation to ensure this program stays around for a very long time.

When it comes to performing backups, now we have no excuse.