Carbon Copy Cloner
Review


Carbon Copy Cloner v 2.3
Company: Bombich Software

Price: Donation ware (in other words…free)
http://www.bombich.com

Hardware Requirements: Any PowerPC Mac (G3/G4/G5) capable of running OS X 10.2x-10.3.9, 10.4.6)
Local HFS+ formatted partition or hard drive.

I imagine that most people who come to this site are Mac fans and/or Mac users. Far be it for me to criticize Apple and its hardware policies, but desktop machines need big drives. Apple in the past didn’t always do that for you except when you custom ordered machines from their website. That’s all good and well, but sometimes there’s not much choice when you buy a machine from them. Like when you buy a refurbished Mac. You pretty much have to just deal with whatever the default RAM or hard drive is installed.

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So why am I even bothering talking about this? Because I bought a refurbished 1.8 GHz iMac G5 for my kids JUST before the Intel switch was announced. I love this machine and dearly wish it was mine, but if I did the switcheroo at this point my wife and kids would most likely demand my head for repayment. None of which has anything to do with Carbon Copy Cloner so I’ll move on.

Like I said, I love this machine, but it only had an 80 Gb hard drive of which 70 Gb was filled very quickly by my younger son and his various dinosaur and Garfield movie and DVD projects he created with the iLife 06 suite. So I needed a new and bigger hard drive. What I didn’t want to do spend a huge amount of time copying files and programs between the new and old drives. I just wanted my stuff transferred. Of course there are various expensive utilities you can use and if you are particularly geeky you can probably use Terminal, but I’m not and I didn’t.

I did what most cheapskates do; I searched the web for an appropriate, low-cost (i.e. cheap) solution. I found one with Bombich Software’sCarbon Copy Cloner”. Folks, let me tell you, I have not found an easier to use piece of utility software than this. Let me take you through the steps required to move everything that was on this machine’s old drive to the new one.

Step 1: Download Carbon Copy Cloner and install it on the iMac.
Step 2: Connect a newly formatted external FireWire (Has to be FireWire for a bootable drive) Drive that I had doing a whole lot of nothing.
Step 3: Start Carbon Copy Cloner and select the source and target drives.
Step 4: Type in my Admin Password and hit Start.

That’s it. Carbon Copy Cloner’s defaults will be good enough for most folks trying to copy data over from one drive or partition to another.

Once the data was transferred, I opened the iMac G5 and replaced the SATA 80 Gb drive with a 250 Gb one. After putting it back together, I restarted the iMac using the FireWire external to boot from. I used Apple’s Disk Utilities to format the new bigger drive and once that was complete, I used Carbon Copy Cloner from the external to put all the data from the old drive to the new one. I then shut down the iMac, disconnected the external drive and rebooted from the new internal. Everything came up as if nothing had changed other than having a lot more space. Isn’t that what most people want from a utility like this? I suppose I could have saved a lot of time by using a FireWire External that uses SATA, but I didn’t have one, nor was I going to go out and buy one.

Like with anything concerning moving what could be irreplaceable data, back-up anything you can’t afford to lose. No matter how good ANY software is, there is always the chance for this to go drastically wrong. You have been warned.

Pluses: So easy even I could use it without scratching my head and going “huh?” Essentially free (though send Bombich software something, ANYTHING for software so great).

Minuses: Not a Universal Binary or compatible with the new Intel Macs.
According to Bombich Software’s site, some people have had problems with their Classic environment after use, I didn’t.
People who use Fire Vault may end up with some issues. I don’t use it so didn’t worry about it.
According to Bombich Software, some people have experienced problems with some FireWire external drives. They recommend using a newly formatted drive or partition (as I did) to avoid this problem most of the time.

I give Bombich Software’s Carbon Copy Cloner a 4 out of 5

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