Testing new macOS and external storage question

This post is unrelated to Script Debugger and AppleScript. I’d just like to know other scripters’ opinion on some questions I’m really struggling with.

I’m planning to get a new mac (currenty running a Mid-2012 MacBook Pro with Mojave) and have some questions:

  • How do you test a new macOS before you commit to use it every day?
    I was always unlucky with not being able to test a new macOS which is one reason why I currently still use Mojave (instead of Catalina, the last macOS that the mac could run). Do you have an extra partition for testing? Or is there meanwhile an easier way?

  • What do you use to extend storage?
    I’m currerty using external drives, however that’s a nighmare in terms of making sure that data is backed up in at least two places (one of them offsite). So I’m looking for an external storage solution that keeps (almost) everything (the internal drive of course needs an extra backup) in one place and which can easily be backed up to additional drives. Started to research NAS (Network Attached Storage) versus DAS (Direct Attached Storage) systems. Not sure what to get. Don’t really need a NAS’s features, however the mac is sitting in my bedroom, so I need a quiet solution. Unfortunately HDDs always produce a lot noise and getting large SSDs would be far too expensive. I’d really like to access the storage directly (i.e. via cable), but as far as I know all current cable connections have a length limit, i.e. I probably couldn’t place the storage in one corner of the room because it would exceed the length limit.

  • Do you use Time Machine? Do you use additional backup software?
    I’ve always used Time Machine, however at some point it stopped working (not sure whether creating the backup failed or restoring files from a backup). Because there wasn’t an easy way to make a clean macOS install I’m currenty only using ChronoSync. Is Time Machine running properly on new macOS?

  • Do you keep the macOS and your actual data on separate partitions or drives?

I’ve properly forgot to ask some more questions (it’s quite hard to get up to date with hardware and software after using an unchanged mac and unchanged macOS for so many years :slight_smile: )

Pete, I too have been slow to upgrade, for various reasons.

I upgraded to a new Mac about 2 years ago (when I started working from home more) and then upgraded to what was then the current Mac OS.

Based on advice and experience I did not clone my old Mac to the new system but did a clean install of the OS, and installed the apps I use and copied the folders and scripts I use. I believe this helped me avoid a ton of headaches, but it did take some time. I have been using Time Machine since it came out, and still do, but have not found it reliable as a system backup. It is great for finding previous versions of software, etc.

For a full system backup I use CarbonCopy cloner, and have it scheduled to backup weekly. (Time Machine is running too so I feel I’m covered.) You could also schedule CC to run daily.

My Time Machine was originally on TimeCapsule (Apple’s NAS) and that was fine, but now it’s on a system from WD that seems OK, but not as always there as TC was. The CCC backup is to an ExternalHD connected via USB, which is much faster now than it used to be.

I don’t partition drives anymore. It seems to make them difficult to use.

Hope that helps

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I have a two drive 4Tb Terramaster RAID 0 that is dedicated to Time Machine, Also have a similar twin drive device (Silverstone) with 2 x 3Tb drives that are used to backup the contents of a Mojave VM using Carbon Copy Cloner. I also have a Backblaze subscription that maintains a mirror of selected drives.

In short, all of my backup plans have failed me when needed most - to recover from a calamity. Except for Backblaze. That service has saved my bacon more than twice. Highly recommended.

I agree with @publiclee re Backblaze. If setup properly it has never failed me and well worth it.

In regards to Cloud Based Storage Space, have been very pleased with Box’s speed. I have automated for some clients using it to store files, open and save files, logs both hidden and visible and acting as local storage using a blend of AppleScript and AppleScript Objective C. We tested and compared to network Cisco server access and it out performed at the time.

@publiclee and @dean, I’ve never used online backups but think I’ve read on the DEVONthink forum that Backblaze doesn’t back up meta data (e.g. Finder tags). Are you aware of that?

Thanks everyone!

Some new questions. Not sure whether it’s a good idea at all, but I’d love to have a simple backup strategy, i.e.

  • backup to one disk
  • “clone” this disk
    • keep one “clone” onsite
    • keep one “clone” offsite

Not sure whether that’s possible, but if it was it would probably be fail-safe for me (currently very lazy with backups as I always need to attach external disks).

What I’m trying to accomplish

  • Backup to a “Live backup” disk that is always connected

  • Backup the “Live backup” including its archive to a “Backup disk”
    i.e. have a “Backup disk” that includes everything that happened to the “Live backup” since it was last backed-up to the “Backup disk” (and everything that happened to the “Live backup” - until the “Backup disk” runs out of space)

Preferred setup

  • “Live backup”: an always connected DAS (Direct Attached Storage)

    • automatically do ChronoSync backups (with archive)
    • automatically do Time Machine backups
  • “Backup disk” [Onsite]: clone the DAS’ backups to external disk (occasionally)

    • manually make a clone of the DAS’ ChronoSync backup
    • manually make a clone of the DAS’ Time Machine backup
  • “Backup disk” [Offsite]: rotate the external disks (occasionally)

  • (“Online backup”: Not sure whether I want that additionally)

After reading a lot and also reaching out to ChronoSync support it seems:

  • it’s not possible to “clone” a ChronoSync backup including its archive
    (ChronoSync itself doesn’t include another ChronoSync backup’s archive folder.
    According to support it should be possible to copy it manually each time - which is far from ideal)

  • it’s not possible to “clone” a Time Machine backup
    (Given that Time Machine failed several times (on 10.14 Mojave with 3TB external disk) and starting anew failed again after some time I’m not sure whether I should use Time Machine at all in the future)


  • Do you have a way to “clone” “live backups” (i.e. backups to drives that are always connected) to external disks?
    (In my situation (i.e. using ChronoSync) it might be possible to use an additional backup software (e.g. Carbon Copy Cloner) to make a clone of the ChronoSync backup, didn’t test yet)

  • What type of disk do you use for “live backups” (i.e. disks that are always connected)?

    • HDD?
    • SSD?
    • SSD NVMe?
  • What type of disk do you use for the “backup of the backup”?

  • What type of disks would you choose if you needed new ones?

    • As “Live backup”
    • As “Backup disk”
  • Would you choose SATA or NVMe SSDs?