Sample Usage Scenarios

Backing up and restoring Finder's Trash

CCC 5 offers an option to back up the Finder's Trash (this option is disabled by default). The Trash is not a simple folder, it's a complex mechanism that aggregates Trash folders from multiple volumes and user home folders on the startup disk; it behaves quite unlike other folders. When you back up the contents of the Trash, those items are copied to the Trash folder on the destination, and may reside in "the Trash" as viewed in the Finder.

Folder-to-Folder Backups

When you select a volume as the source and destination, CCC copies the entire contents of that volume (minus anything you exclude) to the destination volume, preserving the full hierarchy of folders on the source. If you don't want to preserve that hierarchy, you can back up a specific folder from the source to a specific folder on the destination. In this configuration, CCC will copy the contents of the selected folder to the selected destination folder, without the hierarchy up to that source folder.

Restoring an item from a hidden folder

Usually it's easiest to restore a single item from your backup by simply dragging it from the backup volume to your original source volume. Sometimes, though, it's not that easy. Suppose, for example, that you have inadvertently deleted all of your Safari bookmarks. The Safari Bookmarks file is stored in a hidden folder within your home directory, and the fact that this folder, and the folder on the backup volume are both hidden makes accessing that file in the Finder quite difficult. The steps below demonstrate how to restore this item from your Carbon Copy Cloner backup volume.

Cloning one external hard drive to another external hard drive

Create a new task

Click on the New Task button in the toolbar to create a new task, then type in a name for the new task.

Select a source volume

Click on the Source selector button, then choose the volume that you want to copy files from.

Select a destination volume

Click on the Destination selector button, then choose the volume that you want to copy files to.

Can I back up one computer and use the clone to restore another computer?

Often, the answer is probably yes. However, there are some caveats.

I want to back up my whole Mac to a Time Capsule, NAS, or other network volume

Time Capsule and other network storage appliances are becoming very popular for providing shared "personal cloud" storage. Naturally, this storage looks very appealing as a backup destination. The thought of backing up all of your stuff without having to plug in a cable is very alluring. Indeed, this storage is well suited for the sharing of media files, but there are some logistical and practical hurdles to backing up large amounts of data, as well as backing up macOS system data to these devices.

I want to clone my entire hard drive to a new hard drive or a new machine

There are many different reasons to make an exact clone of your hard drive. Suppose your laptop is damaged and you must send it in for repair. In the meantime, you not only have to borrow another computer for the duration of the repair, you also don't have your data, applications and work environment exactly as they were on your machine. This lack of organization can be very frustrating and inhibit your productivity. When you get your machine back from repair, you have to deal with locating any modified documents on your loaner computer and copying them to your original computer.

Can I run a backup while I'm using my computer? If I have open files, will they be backed up?

Generally, yes. Performance will be affected during the backup task (especially the first one) as CCC reads the entire source volume and writes to the destination volume. If your work is "disk bound" — that is your applications are reading or writing to either the source or destination, then you'll notice a performance hit. If you're just reading email or writing a document, then you probably won't notice the performance hit.

Can CCC back up my BootCamp (Windows) partition?

CCC can back up the contents of the Boot Camp partition, but it cannot make a bootable clone of the partition. If your goal is to back up your user data on the Boot Camp partition, CCC will meet your needs. If you're looking to migrate your Boot Camp partition to a new hard drive, you might consider an alternative solution such as WinClone, or one of the commercial virtualization solutions that offer a migration strategy from Boot Camp.

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

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.