Bombich Software Blog

News and tips from the experts at Carbon Copy Cloner

Building Better Backups with CCC 7

There's one aspect of our company that I take a lof of pride in: our engineering team works directly with end users to solve problems and to create backup strategies. We don't have multiple tiers of support and focus groups, no chat bots or AI – we just talk directly with people. With that feedback going directly into product development, we're constantly polishing every aspect of CCC so that it works exactly the way it feels like it should. We want your backups to be successful, and we feel personally accountable for your success.

One common pattern of feedback we've gotten is that getting a backup volume formatted can be kind of challenging. What partition scheme to use, which format, how many volumes, which volume for what purpose – it can add up to a lot of decisions and steps! It's also too easy to do it in a suboptimal way, and not realize that your backup strategy is missing some key feature.

Today we're introducing CCC 7, which is loaded with new features and enhancements specifically designed to help you build a robust, flexible and successful backup strategy. At the top of the list is a backup volume setup...

Revisit your backup strategy on World Backup Day

We're on the eve of World Backup Day – March 31st (because you're an April Fool if you didn't back up on March 31), so now is a great time to revisit some Backup Best Practices. If you're already using CCC for your backups, you've got a great leg up! If you haven't given it a whirl yet, today is a great day to try it out.

We all want our backups to protect our data; that's the obvious reason for making them. But we also want them to be reliable, easy to use, fast, and generally out of sight. It's like that furnace in your attic – you want to know that it's working, but you don't want to have to think about it every day. Once a year, though, maybe you should give it some attention to make sure the condensate isn't going to start leaking through the ceiling. (Yes, that's a very specific analogy 😉)

Here are a few suggestions to get your backup strategy in top-shape.

Create a backup on directly-attached storage

NAS and cloud-based backups feel really convenient – until you have to restore a lot of data from them, or migrate that data...

Folders with high file counts

We field a lot of support requests, and similar to a doctor's office, we see some extreme cases. One of those interesting extreme cases are folders with high file counts. Any time a folder has more than a few thousand items in it, the filesystem is going to be a lot slower when working with that folder. Adding a new file, for example, requires that the filesystem compare the new item name to the name of every other file in the folder to check for conflicts, so trivial tasks like that will take progressively longer as the file count increases. Gathering the enormous file list will also take progressively longer as the list gets larger. The performance hit is even more noticeable on rotational disks and network volumes, so we often see these sticking out in backup tasks.

Sometimes high folder counts can bring a backup task to a halt

Task encountering a folder with a high file count

Last week, one of our users found the task as shown above. Upon closer analysis, we determined that the "media" folder had 181,274 files in it. In other words, more than 10% of the files on the...

CCC 6.1.3 adds official support for macOS Ventura

CCC is ready for macOS Ventura

It's Fall here on the top of the globe, which means that temps are getting cooler, pumpkin seems to be in everything, and apples are in season. And of course, Apple is about to drop another new upgrade to macOS: Ventura. We've been testing the new OS over the summer, and I'm pleased to report that CCC is ready to protect your data before and after you apply this upgrade – we added official Ventura support to CCC 6.1.3, which we posted back in September.

Every year we make a handful of changes to CCC to support changes that Apple makes in the new OS. We have a mixed bag this year, and I wanted to point out just a couple things that work a little differently. Overall, the changes are pretty bland, which means this article will not be very exciting. So to spice things up, I added a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Muffins at the bottom.

System Preferences → System Settings

The name change seems innocuous, but the changes that Apple made to this application are really significant. Initially I was really flustered with the new layout. I...

Beyond Bootable Backups: Adapting recovery strategies for an evolving platform

CCC 5.1.27 and CCC 6 can make bootable copies of the system on Intel and Apple Silicon Macs (11.3+) right now, and we'll continue to support that functionality as long as macOS supports it.

But as Apple's platform continues to evolve, we have to design our recovery strategies around the current hardware capabilities. A bootable external device may not be a part of that strategy. CCC can do so much more than just make copies of the system, and now is the right time to revisit your backup strategy and make it even better with some of the new features in CCC 6.


For decades, Mac users have taken for granted the Mac's "External Boot" feature. Prior to Mac OS X, people could simply drag and drop the System folder from one volume to another; presto, external boot volume. When Apple made it more complicated with Mac OS X, we pioneered the "bootable backup" solution (nearly 20 years ago!), and this has been a feature we've reliably supported on every new Mac and every new OS since then.

But Apple has never been afraid of shaking things up to blaze new trails. Big Sur and the new...

An analysis of APFS enumeration performance on rotational hard drives

 

My APFS-formatted rotational disks have always felt slower than when they were HFS+ formatted. The speed of copying files to them felt about the same, but slogging through folders in the Finder was taking a lot longer. At first I shrugged it off to the filesystem being new; "It just needs some tuning, it will come along." But that performance hasn't come along, and after running some tests and collecting a lot more data, I'm convinced that Apple made a fundamental design choice in APFS that makes its performance worse than HFS+ on rotational disks. Performance starts out at a significant deficit to HFS+ (OS X Extended) and declines linearly as you add files to the volume.

The rest of this article is fairly technical, here are the key takeaways:

  • Enumerating an APFS filesystem on a traditional HDD (rotational disk) will take 3-20X longer than HFS+ on the same hardware.
  • This performance difference is most noticeable on a macOS startup disk that is (or includes) a rotational disk.
  • If Apple doesn't make some concessions in the APFS filesystem to accommodate the slower seek performance of HDD devices, then a rotational device will never be able to provide acceptable...

Building Better Backups with Carbon Copy Cloner

Watch a video of this tutorial on YouTube

Note: This will erase all data on your backup disk!!!

Launch Disk Utility

Open a Finder window and navigate to Applications > Utilities and double click on Disk Utility.

Launch Disk Utility

The remaining steps vary considerably depending on the operating system you are running. Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu to determine your current OS, then make a selection below.


Instructions for Sierra and El Capitan

Select the backup disk

Click to select the disk that you would like to use for your backup. This disk should not be the same as your startup disk.

The name of a new disk will often include the manufacturer’s name (e.g. WD My Book 111D Media...). A startup disk will often include the manufacturer's serial number in the title (e.g. TOSHIBA MK50...).

Select the backup disk

Erase the backup disk

Click on the Erase button in Disk Utility's toolbar, then configure the...

Protect yourself from ransomware with a Carbon Copy Cloner backup

Recently Palo Alto Networks reported a "ransomware" threat to Mac users named "KeRanger". After reading their analysis I found myself deeply concerned. Ransomware threats are nothing new, but I realized that this is probably the closest I've felt to the seedy world of cyber terrorism. Up until now all of that seemed to be aimed at governments, defense departments, big corporations... Windows users! Here we are, though, it's at our doorstep, and our neighbors are already victims. I received an email from a CCC customer yesterday that started with:

I happen to be one of the people who got hit with the ransomware hacks.

Yikes! I was not expecting a good outcome here. Thankfully, the rest of the email was:

Luckily I had a CCC of my drive and booted off that, deleted the ransomware files and was fine.

While this threat appears to be mostly contained at the moment, I think everybody should take some time to examine their defenses against this sort of attack. Having a backup is an obvious first step, but there are some additional steps that you can take to protect your backup too.

Protect yourself from ransomware

This particular...