Restoring data from your backup

This article is for an older version of CCC. You can find the latest version here.
Product: 
ccc3

Because CCC backups are non-proprietary copies of your original volume, you can navigate the contents of your CCC backup volume in the Finder and find your files exactly where you would find them on the original source volume. If you need to restore a single file, you can copy it directly from your backup volume in the Finder. CCC is not required to gain access to your data. If you have a larger restore need, though, CCC is ready to help make the restore process as easy as it was to back up in the first place.

Restoring non-system files

The restore process is virtually identical to the backup process. The notable differences are that you will probably be restoring a smaller subset of files than what you backed up, and that you may want to indicate that files newer on the original volume shouldn't be overwritten by potentially older versions on your backup. CCC offers a preset to make restoring files safe and easy.

  1. Launch CCC
  2. Select your backup volume from the source menu
  3. Select your original source volume from the destination menu
  4. Deselect any items from the list of items to be copied that you do not want to be restored
  5. Choose "Preserve newer files, don't delete anything" from the preconfigured settings popup menu
  6. Click the Clone button

With the "Preserve newer files, don't delete anything" preset, CCC will not overwrite a file that is newer on the original volume than the one that exists on the backup volume. Any items that are replaced will be archived as a safety precaution. Additionally, CCC will only restore the items that are missing from the original volume.

Note: If you choose your startup disk as the destination volume, CCC will impose a protective filter on system files and folders. It wouldn't be a good idea to overwrite or delete system files on the OS that you're booted from, so this isn't something that CCC will allow. If you need to restore system items or items in the Applications folder, refer to the following restore solution.

Restoring an entire volume (including system files)

To restore an entire volume that includes an installation of OS X, for example your boot volume after a disk failure, you will need to boot from an external Firewire or USB hard drive. Ideally, you will simply boot from the hard drive that you backed up to using CCC:

  1. Attach your CCC backup disk to your Mac
  2. Open the Startup Disk preference pane in the System Preferences application
  3. Choose your backup volume as the startup disk, then click on the Restart button
  4. If you are unable to boot from your original hard drive, hold down the Option key as you start up your Mac. Your backup disk should appear as a startup disk option in the startup disk selector screen.
  5. If you are replacing your original startup disk with a new hard drive, be sure to initialize that hard drive so it's ready to host an installation of OS X: Formatting and partitioning a hard drive
  6. Launch CCC
  7. Select your backup volume from the source menu
  8. Select your original source volume from the destination menu
  9. Choose "Temporarily archive modified and deleted items" from the preconfigured settings popup menu.
  10. Click the Clone button

When the restore process has completed, reset your startup disk in the System Preferences application and restart your Mac.

Restoring from a folder

If you chose a folder as your destination when you originally backed up your data, CCC can restore that data to the original location using the following steps:

  1. Select "Choose a folder..." from CCC's Source menu and locate the folder that you had previously specified as your backup destination
  2. Select your original source volume from the destination menu. If you had specified a folder in the source menu when you originally backed up your data, select "Choose a folder..." from CCC's Destination menu and locate that same folder.
  3. Choose "Temporarily archive modified and deleted items" from the preconfigured settings popup menu.
  4. Click the Clone button

"I have a full-volume backup in a folder or a disk image, but I don't have a bootable backup. How can I restore everything?"

CCC makes bootable backups specifically to avoid this kind of situation. When you have a bootable backup, you simply boot from that, then restore everything to a replacement disk or the original disk. One step, minimal time, couldn't be easier. Occasionally people get into this sticky situation though — I have a backup of everything in a disk image or in a folder on the backup volume, there's a clean installation of OS X on my replacement disk, now how do I get everything back to the way that it was before?

The first thing that you need to do is make a boot volume that is not the volume you want to restore to. Once you have done that, you can boot from that volume and then do a complete restore of your backup to the replacement disk. There are several options for how and where you create this other bootable volume. For example, you could install OS X onto a thumb drive, or you could use CCC to clone your clean installation of OS X to a thumb drive. You could also create a new partition on your replacement disk and clone the fresh installation of OS X to that. The steps below attempt to make very few assumptions about the resources you'll have in this scenario: a) You have a fresh installation of OS X on a hard drive and b) you have your backup in a folder or disk image on some other disk. Given those assumptions, here is how we recommend that you proceed:

Create a new partition on your replacement disk

  1. Open the Disk Utility application and click on the disk icon that represents your internal hard drive. Don't click on the "Macintosh HD" icon, click on the one above that.
  2. Click on the Partition tab.
  3. Click on the "+" button.
  4. Set the size of the new partition to 15GB and name it something like "Rescue".
  5. Click the "Apply" button.

Clone your fresh installation of OS X to the Rescue volume

  1. Open the Carbon Copy Cloner application.
  2. Choose your current startup disk as the source.
  3. Choose the Rescue volume as the destination.
  4. If you aren't working from a fresh installation of OS X, take a moment to exclude third-party applications from the list of items to be copied, as well as any large items in your home folder (e.g. /Users/yourname/Music).
  5. Click the Clone button.

Boot from the Rescue volume and restore your data to the replacement disk

  1. Open the Startup Disk Preference Pane, set the Rescue volume as the startup disk, then click on the Restart button.
  2. Once restarted from the Rescue volume, attach the backup volume to your Mac and open the Carbon Copy Cloner application.
  3. If your data is backed up in a folder, choose "Choose a folder..." from the Source menu and select that folder as the source. Otherwise, choose "Restore from a disk image...&quot and locate your backup disk image.
  4. Choose your "Macintosh HD" volume as the destination.
  5. Choose "Temporarily archive modified and deleted items" from the settings menu.
  6. Click the Clone button.

Reboot from your restored volume and clean up

  1. Open the Startup Disk Preference Pane, set the restored volume as the startup disk, then click on the Restart button.
  2. Open the Disk Utility application and click on the disk icon that represents your internal hard drive.
  3. Click on the Partition tab.
  4. Click on the Rescue volume, then click on the "-" button to delete that volume.
  5. Click the Apply button.

Finally, make a new backup to the root of a locally-attached hard drive so you'll have a bootable backup from here forward.