Some applications behave differently or ask for the serial number on the cloned volume. Did CCC miss something?

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Some applications won't work when transferred to a new disk or when run on a different Mac. This has nothing to do with whether or how CCC backs up your data, it comes down to the serialization requirements imposed by the software vendor (i.e. their anti-piracy strategy). Some applications will work just fine, some will simply require that you re-enter your serial number (Microsoft Office and Adobe apps frequently fall in this category), while other applications will require a reinstallation from the original install media or online reactivation via the vendor's website. CCC cannot (technically or legally) subvert activation requirements imposed by other software vendors.

Also note that some applications consider the presence or absence of peripherals as well as other hardware characteristics during the installation process. If these conditions are different when running the application on a new hard drive or Macintosh, you may encounter problems. We have seen these types of problems with some high-end audio software packages in the past, particularly with the installation or configuration of various plugins.

We recommend that you always retain a copy of your applications' installation disks and serial numbers in case the applications have special serialization or installation requirements.

Non-registration-related, application-specific oddities

In addition to application registration issues that occur when running your apps on a new volume, there are occasionally other oddities that you may encounter when booting from your cloned volume. The following is a list of potentially unexpected behavior that has been reported to us that a) appears to be a consequence of running an application from a different volume or on a different Macintosh and b) does not appear to be or cannot be accommodated/resolved in the backup/cloning process:

  • Dropbox may ask you to reconfigure your account settings
  • A dialog may appear asking you to locate the "System Events" application (this one appears to be a one-time deal, dismiss the dialog and you shouldn't see it again)
  • Time Machine may no longer recognize your original source volume because the UUID has changed (potential solution)
  • "Google Drive" must be disconnected, then reconnected to your account. Details here
  • Finder preferences may not be respected (e.g. whether to show disks on the Desktop, the contents of the "All my files" item may be empty)
  • Photoshop may require that you reset the Scratch Disk preference potential solution
  • Finder may not resolve aliases to files on a backup volume if those aliases were created on Snow Leopard or later. Finder will give you the opportunity to "readdress" these aliases when you try to open them.
  • Network settings may not be respected on another Macintosh. If you have an extensive VPN configuration that you want to preserve, we recommend that you export those settings to a file before you lose access to the original Mac.
  • Mavericks and later: The "Prevent App Nap" setting applies to specific instances of applications, so this setting will not be applied to copies of an application (e.g. on a backup volume).
  • Mavericks and later: The “Local Items" Keychain is a local repository of passwords and other form data eligible to be synced via iCloud to your other devices running iOS 7 or newer. The "Local Items" Keychain is only respected on the original volume on which it was created, it cannot be restored from any backup. If you enable iCloud Keychain syncing (before you find yourself in a need-to-restore position), however, the passwords in this keychain will be stored in iCloud and shared with a restored volume once you log in to iCloud on that restored volume.
  • Little Snitch settings, or a subset of them, may not be recognized while booted from a backup volume. The folks at Objective Development recommend that you export your rules first, then re-import them while booted from the backup volume.
  • If you open an Adobe Lightroom catalog from a cloned or restored volume, Lightroom may indicate that your photos cannot be found because the catalog references the name and path of the original source volume. See this Adobe support article for instructions on how to re-link your catalog to the photo folders on your cloned volume, or watch this video on our YouTube channel to see a demonstration of the problem and solution.
  • TeamViewer Product Support recommends that TeamViewer be reinstalled when restoring a backup to a different Macintosh.
  • If configured to start on login, when booted from a backup, the Box Sync application will delete the contents of your Box Sync folder, then re-download all of the content from Box.com. The Box Sync application uses a folder inode number to identify the Box Sync folder, and that attribute cannot be preserved during a backup or a restore.
  • Signatures in the Preview application won't be recognized when booting another Macintosh from the backup volume, they're only recognized on the Mac upon which they were created.

References to third-party solutions/workarounds are provided as information only. We have not tested these solutions and we cannot endorse them.