Posts: 880 from 2004/9/23
First, performing a copy onto a harddrive inside the same system is hardly a backup. If the power supply fries the entire systems and all harddrives are gone, your backup is gone, too.
I strongly suggest using a firewire drive and the firewire stack "Helios" . This can be a simple external harddrive or some unused mini (or other Mac hardware).
Personally I do not trust USB in any way, as I had issues from vanishing during backup till inserting of bitflips while claiming data is stored properly.
Speaking of a tool to create a backup, "Copy CLONE" is a good solution as mentioned here, however it takes ages to copy several gigabytes everytime you want to backup. This will cause you to get lazy and at the end you do not make any backups again.
There is a solution for this. (Not for your lazyiness, I am sorry!)
MirrorCopy is performing a diff copy from one drive to another. So a simple
MirrorCopy ALL CNT NOSOFT NOHARD FROM SYS: TO Backup:
in Shell, or stored inside an script, will copy your data.
NOTE: Any data on the backup drive gets lost when using this line. Make sure it is empty or copy into a drawer on that drive.
The first run will, like normal Copy, take ages as all data need to be copied.
The second run however will only transfer the changes. e.g. if you just changed some preferences, it will only copy these preferences files and nothing more. Only modified or new files will be copied. File you deleted on your system, will be deleted on backup. At the end you have a 1:1 copy after every backup session.
Instead of transfering 100GB each time, you will be down to a few MB each time you run the mirrorcopy/script. -> Backup done in a few minutes (drive scan takes some time).
Launch the script, get some coffee and once you return the backup is already finished.
MirrorCopy has some additional features to preserve files, but there is a readme explaining all the features of this great tool.
All mentioned drivers and tools are available via Grunch.