Last summer I replaced the 160GB HDD in my MacBook with a 500GB drive. In the process I put the old drive in a new external enclosure and planned to use it to backup my home folder. Until now, that never really happened, but a few weeks ago when I did a fresh install of Snow Leopard I decided it would be a good time to finally get my backups going.

I already had a pretty good idea that I wanted to go with Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper!. I had already had some¬†experience¬†with CCC from my job last summer, but I had read an article on Daring Fireball about backup and he used Super Duper!. I decided to checkout Super Duper! first since I hadn’t really looked into it much before.

It turns out that you can download Super Duper! for free, but there is also a paid version that unlocks some more features. For the most basic backups either program works great.

Normally I would¬†recommend¬†doing an exact copy of the drive you want to an external drive, but the only external drive I currently own actually came out of my MacBook and is only 160GB so I decided to only backup the home folder. Getting a little more specific, I also wanted to exclude my music folder if at all possible. I’ve got a fairly recent copy of my music library on another machine and since I knew there would be something that I would have to leave out, this was my number one choice.

Since the title here is “Super Duper!”, you’ve probably already figured out what I decided to go with. If I had just needed to do an exact copy like I said before, I probably would have chosen Carbon Copy Cloner, but since my backup had to be a little more precise, I decided to look at Super Duper! and loved it. I’m not sure, CCC may be able to do all the things that I needed it to do, but I never actually got to the point where I wanted to look at it. Super Duper! did all the things I needed and more.

I had dreamed that I would be able to plug in my external drive and my computer would automatically backup and shutdown when it was done, but I knew I wasn’t going to find one app that would do all that for me. I was wrong. Super Duper! will allow you to schedule backups any way you want, including when a certain drive is plugged in. You can tell it to automatically repair permissions before the backup starts. You can run scripts before and after backups. You can automatically have the computer shut down when it’s done. You can tell it exactly what folders to backup and folders to ignore (ie: ~/Music/).

Super Duper! makes backing up easy. And it runs every night before I go to bed, no matter when that happens to be.