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by Mike | September 14, 2017

On Tuesday Apple announced the release date for macOS High Sierra – we can expect to see it on the App Store on September 25. We've been busy testing High Sierra over the summer, and I'm happy to say that we're ready for it. We've posted an update to CCC 4 that fixes a couple cosmetic High-Sierra-specific issues, and we're preparing to release an update to CCC 5 with the same fixes, plus more improvements that are specific to High Sierra. As soon as Apple posts a "Golden Master" build of High Sierra, we will proceed with our last push to update documentation, screenshots, videos, etc. We'll have more documentation and videos coming in the next couple weeks about CCC and APFS, so stay tuned!

Preparing your Mac for the High Sierra upgrade

Before you upgrade to High Sierra, it is imperative to understand that downgrading to your previous OS will be impossible without a bootable backup of the previous OS. Before you apply the upgrade, we recommend that you establish a bootable backup of your current OS on an external USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt hard drive, then verify that you can boot your Mac from that backup disk. Before you pull the trigger on the upgrade, detach that external disk from your Mac and set it aside.

For more detailed advice on preparing for the upgrade and instructions on how to downgrade, check out this CCC knowledgebase article:

Best practices for updating your Mac's OS.

Preparing yourself for the High Sierra upgrade

Perhaps the biggest change in macOS High Sierra is the new filesystem that Apple will be applying to your Mac's SSD/Flash-based storage upon upgrade. This change will be mostly transparent for many users, but if you have several disks, complex partitioning, or if you're just curious how these things work, you might want to take a moment to learn more about this new APFS filesystem. Apple offers a couple helpful APFS-related knowledgebase articles here:

Apple Kbase HT208018: Prepare for APFS in macOS High Sierra
Apple Kbase HT208020: Upgrade macOS on a Mac at your institution

In regard to how CCC will work with your APFS-formatted volumes, this CCC knowledgebase article aims to answer all of the questions you might have on the subject:

Everything you need to know about Carbon Copy Cloner and APFS

If you have additional questions, please let us know! You can reach us right from within CCC — choose "Ask a... Read More

ccc

by Mike | August 18, 2017

I introduced CCC to the world over 15 years ago. With the debut of CCC 5 within reach, I thought it would be neat to see how CCC has changed over the years. I still remember the day that I published a description on VersionTracker and anticipated the response. Would people like it? Would someone else beat me to the solution? I've been thrilled with the response I've gotten from users over the years, and I'm happy to say that I've grown this little seed into a successful company that produces and supports a great product.

Conception: November, 2001

Before CCC, I wrote an AppleScript that performed the very basic tasks of copying files from one volume to another while retaining Unix permissions and ownership. The Mac OS X bootable backup was born! This little script never saw the light of day, though. Instead, I made the extra push to turn it into an application that would be accessible to more people.

CCC 1.0: January 18, 2002

This was the quintessential "1.0" release. All of the basic features were there for a simple clone from the startup disk to a backup disk.

CCC 2.0: November 2002

2.0 allowed you to choose any volume as the source. Look at those fancy buttons! And a scheduler! Documentation!

CCC 3.0: September 2007

The long gap between 2.0 and 3.0 was not a break. I spent those years diving deeper into the startup procedure of Mac OS X and I learned a lot. I wrote other applications too, including one that was used to clone hundreds of Macs all at the same time. I was also having kids :-). I remember bouncing my son in his baby bouncer while writing code at 3AM for CCC 3.0. It's amazing that I can look at sections of code and remember those moments so clearly, like a smell can remind you of a childhood memory.

CCC 3.4: July 2011

There were several dozen releases of CCC between 3.0 and 3.4, but this was the first big one after I left Apple.

CCC 4.0: October 2014

Not long after Lion was introduced I completely stripped CCC down and rebuilt it. The result was spectacular – a refreshing new task-centric interface and scheduling that felt built-in, not added as an afterthought.

... Read More

by Mike | July 31, 2017

We're delighted to announce the next major version of CCC. With powerful new features for the advanced user and helpful features and simplifications for the novice user – CCC 5 makes managing your backups easier for everyone. Take a look at what's new in CCC 5:

 

Task Groups

Many users have asked for more advanced ways to organize their tasks, so CCC 5 offers task groups that have both organizational and runtime behaviors. Collect your tasks into groups simply to organize them, run a whole group of tasks with a single click, or schedule a task group to have those tasks run sequentially on a regular interval.

Smarter SafetyNet

CCC's SafetyNet pruning settings will now automatically adapt to the amount of data your tasks need to copy. If a backup task runs out of space on the destination, CCC 5 will revisit the pruning of the SafetyNet folder, then resume copying.

Guided Restore

If you boot your Mac from a CCC backup, CCC 5 will open and offer to help you with a guided restore. In the guided restore, CCC 5 will create a new restore task, select the startup disk as the source, then present coaching tips that guide you through selecting the destination and (optionally) excluding items from the restore task.

New scheduling options

Tasks can be scheduled to run once at a particular time in the future. After that run, the tasks will revert to run "only when I click the Clone button". We also added hourly runtime limits, allowing the user to limit a task to running only between 5PM and 7AM, for example. Hourly limits will prevent a task from starting if it's outside the specified run time, and if the task runs past the allowed end time, the task will be stopped.

New interface for defining task filters

Excluding a folder or two from a backup task has always been trivial with CCC, and now it's even easier to precisely define what should and should not be backed up. You can also now visualize the effects of custom filter rules, and now CCC 5 will report how much data is going to be backed up. A QuickLook panel shows you a preview of your files, and you can sort your file list based on name, size, or modification date.

Simplified Remote Mac setup

The setup procedure for backing up to a remote Macintosh has been greatly simplified. SafetyNet pruning is now available for remote Mac destinations, and CCC 5 can now show you the content of a remote Mac source. Backups to and restores from a remote Mac have never been simpler!

... Read More

ccc

by Mike | July 7, 2017

August 24, 2017 Update: Recently Apple noted that the conversion to APFS will not be optional for Flash-based storage. I updated my recommendations here to reflect that. We also published our own Kbase article about CCC and APFS: Everything you need to know about Carbon Copy Cloner and APFS.


There's a lot of excitement these days about the new APFS filesystem coming from Apple. I'm certainly excited about it; some of the promised features sound great. However, I'm going to make a bold suggestion: Wait a few months before upgrading to High Sierra this Fall. High Sierra may force the APFS conversion upon you, and I think it's common sense to wait for the new filesystem to get some more mileage before making the switch. Sticking with the tried-and-true HFS+ on Sierra for a few months may save you a lot of headaches and wasted time.

Mutual Unreadiness

With just over three years of development and only 13 months of exposure to the developer community, it should come as no surprise that developers (and now some end users) have run into some problems with APFS on the High Sierra beta. All of that is a normal part of Apple's beta testing process. What's not normal, however, is the lack of information available on APFS. The APFS documentation is a meager 10 pages. The documentation for snapshots: zero pages. There are literally two sentences in all of the APFS documentation that do no more than describe that snapshots are a part of APFS. More importantly, there's not really any technical "meat" to the documentation. Two pages describe the APIs that you can use to clone files, but aside from that, it's primarily a lightweight description of features. In comparison, the HFS+ documentation was 59 pages and contained highly technical descriptions of the filesystem format. Apple's documentation indicates that Apple intends to document the filesystem format, but that hasn't happened yet, and it's getting really close to go-time.

Lack of documentation is not a small problem. Basic questions remain unanswered, such as "How do I determine how much space a particular snapshot uses?" and "How can I determine if 'file Y' is a clone of 'file X'?" Here's a good one: how can I definitively determine how much space any particular folder really uses? Doesn't that sound like a weird question? What's alarming is that even Finder doesn't do this math correctly yet.

Snapshots are probably the most exciting and promising feature of APFS, but... Read More

ccc

by Mike | June 7, 2017

August 22, 2017 Update: We have published a Kbase article that offers more up to date information on this subject here: Everything you need to know about Carbon Copy Cloner and APFS


Apple introduced macOS "High Sierra" this week, and along with many other developers, we've eagerly started dissecting the new operating system to see what's new. Like in past years, those living on the bleeding edge are wondering, "Will CCC work with this new OS?". Or perhaps "when" prepended to that same question. The short answer is that we have already posted a version of CCC that offers preliminary support for High Sierra. If you're running the Developer Preview of the new OS, open CCC and choose "Check for updates" from the Carbon Copy Cloner menu to get the update. We've found a few issues of concern in the new OS. We addressed some of these issues in the current version of CCC; some will be dealt with in future beta updates as we continue testing.

Will I have to pay for an update to CCC that works with macOS High Sierra?

When we have completed CCC 4 qualification on High Sierra, we will issue an update to CCC 4 that is free to all current CCC 4 license holders.

Will CCC work with Apple's new filesystem, APFS?

The current version of CCC 4 already works with APFS insofar as CCC can copy files to and from that filesystem. The current version can also make bootable backups from an APFS startup disk to an HFS+ formatted destination volume – we've already tested that, and in the little bit of testing that we've done so far, that works great. The current feature set of CCC 4 will be qualified against High Sierra – creating bootable HFS+-based backups and working with CoreStorage encrypted backups will be qualified and functional (barring any OS bugs) and we aim to complete that by the time Apple ships High Sierra in the Fall.

Creating a bootable APFS volume, however, is brand-new territory. The semantics of starting a Mac from an APFS volume are completely different from those of an HFS+ volume. We have established a procedure to create an APFS startup volume, though, and we've even created a proof-of-concept bootable APFS clone. What lies ahead is a massive amount of engineering work to build support for these new procedures into CCC. APFS encryption is also handled quite differently from CoreStorage encryption, so we have a lot of work to do in regard to building in support for automatically unlocking and mounting APFS encrypted backup volumes. We're aiming to offer new functionality for creating APFS bootable (and optionally encrypted) backups by the time Apple ships macOS High Sierra in the Fall.

Stay tuned to our blog for updates on our progress and other news from Bombich Software. This will be an exciting Summer!