I want to back up multiple Macs or source volumes to the same hard drive

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Backing up multiple volumes or multiple Macs to a single hard drive can be a messy proposition. If you back up each source volume to the same destination volume without some pre-planning, data from each source volume will be merged in a heap on the backup volume. Additionally, your tasks will archive or delete each other's backed up content. Carbon Copy Cloner can solve this problem! We lay out a few different scenarios and solutions below.

macOS High Sierra and later, APFS-formatted backup disk

Apple introduced their new APFS filesystem in macOS High Sierra, and this new filesystem makes it really easy to create separate partitions on your backup disk. When you're backing up multiple volumes to the same backup disk, create a dedicated volume on that backup disk for each source volume:

  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Select your current CCC destination volume in the sidebar
  3. Choose Add APFS Volume... from the Edit menu
  4. Name your new volume and click the Add button

Each APFS volume that you add to your backup disk can hold a bootable backup of macOS High Sierra and later, or any other data that you would like to keep separated from other content on the backup disk.

Related Documentation

"I want a bootable backup for each Mac on the same hard drive" (Sierra or older, HFS+ formatted backup disk)

Creating a bootable backup requires that you provide a dedicated backup volume for each Mac that you want to back up. If you want to maintain each bootable backup on the same hard drive, you simply create a partition for each computer that you want to back up using Disk Utility:

  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Choose "Show all devices" from the View menu
  3. Click on the top-most parent device of your backup disk
  4. Click the "Partition" button in the toolbar
  5. Click the "+" button to add a second partition to the backup disk

Related Documentation

"I want to back up my startup disk and a data volume to the same backup disk" (Sierra or older, HFS+ formatted backup disk)

Two CCC backup tasks will manage these backups. The first task will back up your startup disk directly to the backup volume for a bootable backup, the second task will back up your data volume to a subfolder on the backup volume. Thanks to CCC's SafetyNet feature, the two backup tasks will coexist peacefully.

  1. Configure a CCC task to back up your startup disk to the backup volume. Choose your startup disk from the Source selector and choose the backup volume from the Destination selector.
  2. Verify that the SafetyNet feature is On. [Note: If you have modified any Advanced Settings, be sure that the Protect root-level items option is checked.]
  3. Schedule the task, if desired, or choose "Save" from Carbon Copy Cloner's File menu. You can run this task immediately or let it run on schedule later.
  4. Click the New Task button in CCC's toolbar.
  5. Choose your data volume from CCC's Source selector.
  6. In the Finder, create a new folder at the root level of the destination volume to store your data volume's backup. Finder may prompt you to authenticate if you ran the first task already, and that's OK.
  7. Drag the new folder from the Finder onto CCC's Destination selector.
  8. Schedule the task, if desired, or choose Save from Carbon Copy Cloner's File menu. Again, you can run this task immediately or let it run on schedule later.

CCC's SafetyNet will prevent the first task from erasing the content that you're backing up to a subfolder on that same destination volume.

"I want to back up multiple data volumes (no OS files) to the same backup disk"

The easiest way to back up multiple data-only volumes to the same backup disk is to create a folder on the backup disk for each volume you want to back up. Then you'll configure a task for each source volume that you want to back up, setting the destination to that disk's dedicated folder on the backup disk.

  1. Click the New Task button in CCC's toolbar.
  2. Choose your data volume from CCC's Source selector.
  3. Choose Choose a folder... from the Destination selector
  4. Select your destination volume in the sidebar
  5. Click the New Folder button to create a new folder at the root level of the destination to store your data volume's backup, then select that folder as the destination.
  6. Schedule the task, if desired, or choose Save from Carbon Copy Cloner's File menu. You can run this task immediately or let it run on schedule later.
  7. Repeat the steps above for other source volumes, creating a new folder for each at the root level of the destination volume.