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    Apple deserves credit for offering a built-in solution for backups.

    They don’t deserve credit for making it so opaque and hard to use.

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      I have a complex backup setup for my Mac; I use Carbon Copy Cloner, Time Machine (locally), and BackBlaze. This is probably overkill, but eh. Most of the data also lives on a big ZFS pool in the basement, as well.

      Unlike the OP, I find deletion protection to be 100% worth it; add it to the ease of upgrading machines and I recommend everyone with a Mac grab a cheap USB drive and use it as a default, even if you don’t think you’re going to need it.

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        In my experience those start-from-scratch errors only ever happened when I was tricking Time Machine into backing up to a linux machine. I never had issues on local disk, capsules, or disks shared from remote macs. With proprietary software there’s something to be said for sticking to the approaches that the developers had in mind, especially for backups.

        I’ve lost count of the number of old macs I’ve rescued or upgraded with the help of TM + internet recovery. It was so nice that someone could approach me for help and I could promise with high confidence they would soon have a fast SSD-powered mac with literally all their data and configuration exactly the way it was before.

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          Time machine worked well for me, but now I just use rsync. It is so powerful and well understood.

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            I’ve also been warned by Time Machine that the plogiston’s have been phosphorylated, but that’s only ever occurred when using Time Machine to make backups on remote storage. Come to think of it, I haven’t been warned recently. Wonder if it’s not been a problem recently or if I just haven’t been warned.

            I’ve never seen it with local storage.

            My remote storage is AFS shares that live on FreeNAS servers (HP Microservers and an Odroid H2 system). My Macs are [still] running High Sierra.

            I agree that comparing remote Time Machine to local Arq is weird.

            I’m apparently also in the nervous-nellie category: my macs do remote Time Machine backups, update remote Carbon Copy Cloner clones every night and periodically update a rotating set of Time Machine backups on USB devices that get stored offsite.

            My main use case is putting the machine back together exactly the way that it was before it lost its mind. Time machine backups do this well and historically CCC clones would work too (TODO: haven’t tried it lately). Getting a new mac, creating a new user w/ the same name, and copying the home directory leaves a lot to be {done, desired}.

            Whatever your backup practice, it’s worth making a test run and seeing how well it works out.

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              It’s weird that they compare remote Time Machine (over the network) with Arq using local usb drive. In my experience, Time Machine has worked perfectly, also because I use a dedicated usb drive for it.

              The last point about why make backups in the first place applies equally well to Arq, too.

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                Is there any other solution rather than Time Machine that can support full boot-able OS snapshot restoration? I have been thought this kind of restoration needs to involve some internal details, therefore it can be implemented only by the vendor.

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                  I’m glad to see I’m not alone in the camp of running multiple backup methods on my Mac.

                  I have my desktop and laptop configured to have Time Machine back up to my FreeNAS box. It works fine for a while but like the author after some time I get the dreaded popup that there’s a problem with the backup image and it needs to start from scratch. There are sometimes ways to fix it but it doesn’t always work. As far as I know this error only happens when using Time Machine over the network - where it uses a sparsebundle - and not when using local disk.

                  I also have my machines back up using Arq and it’s been great. On my desktop Arq backs up my entire $HOME to FreeNAS and a subset of valuable data to Backblaze B2. My desktop also has a USB disk which SuperDuper! clones to every night as a full bootable backup.

                  I’ve contemplated ditching Time Machine multiple times, but the thing is if you get a new machine or reinstall the OS, Time Machine is the only thing which can do a full bare metal restore at OS install time. I get all my applications, user config, etc. restored by Time Machine. Arq has all my user data but I can’t do that kind of restore.

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                    As far as I know this error only happens when using Time Machine over the network - where it uses a sparsebundle - and not when using local disk.

                    That’s what I’ve seen. I think that the underlying cause is grabbing the laptop and leaving the house while it’s in the middle of a backup.

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                      That’s been my presumption too, although I haven’t proved it yet.

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                    I really like using Arq to backup to S3. I wrote a command line tool that can restore backups for an older version of Arq [1] because one of my requirements is that I be able to restore backups if the software vendor disappears and I lose their software during a reinstall. It sounds really obscure once I say it out loud…but there you have it.

                    I wrote most of the backup restore tool in one weekend and it was my way of learning Go…so judge its code quality accordingly :).

                    In making the tool I emailed the author of Arq a few times. He’s personable, thoughtful, and knowledgeable. We also talked about what the crypto in Arq 5 would look like. I really enjoyed our interactions.

                    Unlike the OP, my main reason for having backups is to restore old versions of big binary blobs that live outside of Git, or to restore deleted files. Arq’s format is very intriguing and makes restore performance (both in terms of time and space) reasonable.

                    [1] https://github.com/asimihsan/arqinator

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                      personally I like time machine a lot. I liked the idea of easily looking at a file and see what version I have so I can restore. This happen a lot with my config/dotfile where I move thing around and accidently change/delete…Save me quite a few time.

                      Plus, I can also easily browse the directory of timemachine bakcup and see exactly directory/files(lastest backup version) layout of what I have

                      I have been looking at tool like https://restic.net/ but they did given’t me these two above things.

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                        I had been using Time Machine, as well as Duplicity, on the 2013 Macbook Pro I’d been using as a daily driver. TM was fine for those backups that get done without having to think about doing it, so great.

                        Where having a portable backup shone for me though was when that MBP needed expensive repairs that I was no longer looking to put into a machine that was designed to be un-upgradeable. For about $6, I got an adapter to convert the SSD into a regular laptop drive, and it’s now in my Linux-powered ThinkPad.

                        Duplicity worked well enough for getting my home directory back into a new Linux install, where the Apple-specific nature of TM was never going to be anything but miserable.

                        I’m using restic now by the way, as it is blazingly fast, with backups that are encrypted, and that can be both remote, dumb servers (e.g. SFTP only) as well as local USB drives.