Preparing your backup disk for a backup of OS X

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

Disk Utility in OS X 10.11 El Capitan and macOS 10.12 Sierra is very different than on previous OSes. If you are using Mountain Lion, Mavericks, or Yosemite, skip to here.

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 name, format, and partitioning scheme of your backup disk. You can set the name to whatever you like, but set the Format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and set the Scheme to GUID Partition Map, then click the Erase button.

Erase the backup disk

Don't Use Time Machine

Click Don’t Use. You may use the same backup disk for both Time Machine and CCC backups, but if you do so, you must use a dedicated partition for the Time Machine backup. Otherwise Time Machine will consume all available space on the backup volume and make it impossible for CCC to use the backup volume.

Don't Use Time Machine

Your new hard drive is now ready to accept backups created by Carbon Copy Cloner!


Instructions for Mountain Lion, Mavericks, or Yosemite

movie icon Watch a video of this tutorial on YouTube

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 storage capacity and manufacturer’s name (e.g. 500.07 GB WD My Passp...). A startup disk will often include the manufacturer's serial number in the title (e.g. 320.07 GB TOSHIBA MK3255GSXF Media).

Select the backup disk

Partition the backup disk

Click on the Partition tab.

Partition the backup disk

Choose 1 Partition from the Partition Layout popup menu (or more if desired).

Click on Options.

Choose GUID Partition Table, then click the OK.

Name the Volume

Name the Volume

Format the Volume

Select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) from the Partition Format popup menu.

Format the Volume

Click Apply.

Ensure that you have selected the correct disk for your backup drive. This step will delete all data from the selected disk. Click Partition.

Now skip ahead to the remainder of the instructions that are not OS-specific.

Related Documentation

"My disk is already formatted HFS+, why am I getting this warning?"
Video: Preparing a drive for a backup of the macOS in macOS 10.11 or higher
Video: Creating a new/additional partition (OS X 10.10 and earlier)
Support for third party filesystems (e.g. NTFS, FAT32)