Hands On: SuperDuper! 2.9.1 backup tool updated for macOS Sierra

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 13
AppleInsider continues its ongoing backup tool examination series, and examines long-standing utility SuperDuper! that promises to protect your data with speed and ease of use.




You've already got Time Machine. Having it isn't the same as using it but we're begging you here: use Time Machine - or something else like SuperDuper! 2.9.1. Apple's own app. and third-party ones like SuperDuper!, ChronoSync and CarbonCopyCloner are all devoted to protecting your work by making copies of it.

You know that hard disks and their replacement technology SSDs are critical. Yet every time Apple or any other such company changes their operating system, it's likely to affect how that OS works with these drives. So the chief update to SuperDuper! in September's version 2.9.1 version is a confirmed, official compatibility with macOS Sierra - and that is reason enough to upgrade. Plus, it's free for existing users.

The job that SuperDuper! does is the same as all other backup utilities but no two of these work the same way. SuperDuper! aims to make it quick to set up a backup copying of your data and to make certain that you know exactly what will happen when you click on the Copy Now button.




You may never go beyond that small main screen. From there you can say which drive you want copied to which other one. Choose these two drives and click. You'll be asked to enter your Mac's password before SuperDuper! will do anything, but once you have then it will back up your data.

It's hard to see how that could be made easier to understand and the app does repeatedly warn you before you choose an option that could lose you any data. If you're connecting an old drive and telling it to backup to that, SuperDuper! will by default erase that disk. However, it will make sure you understand that it's going to do that and you have the options to stop it.




The speed of setting up and getting going is important but it is in these options that SuperDuper! becomes crucial. It can't be controlled remotely nor can it email you when a backup is completed - or if there are problems. However, it can complete the backup and then eject the disk you're copying to.

It can shut down your Mac. So it's good for those end of day backups when you want to go home but the machine is still copying away. Set up a backup where SuperDuper! will do its job and then shut down your computer for you so you can get out of the office on time.

SuperDuper! is a rewarding app: it shows you what everyone needs but as you want more, it gives you extra. It's not as option-laden as ChronoSync but it is powerful and easy to use.




That said, we're talking about disk backup utilities here: they are never going to be child's play to use. Nor should they be when the very continued existence of your data is at stake.

SuperDuper! 2.9.1 costs $27.95 direct from the manufacturer's site where you can also find a free trial version. It requires macOS 10.8 or later.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    bigpicszoetmb
  • Reply 2 of 19
    I have used Super Duper since it came out and it couldn't be easier or more effective. The developer is responsive as well which is a real bonus. 
    bigpics
  • Reply 3 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 28,980member
    I highly recommend this software. Over the years, I've used the other two programs. Both are very good. While I have used the others for several years, both had some occasional problem or other that could prevent your clone from booting. SuperDuper has never had any problems that affected the clones, or incremental backups.

    now-a-days, I use Time  Machine to back all my start-up drives. I also use it on my Macbook Pro music server, and its external music library. But I have a number of internal drives in my 2009 Mac Pro. These are all large drives, and the way they're organized, I have backups for each drive. Since I don't use what's in each drive on a regular basis, I don't use Time Machine for them. When I do use any of them, I do an incremental backup using SuperDuper. When time comes, every three years, to replace those internals with new ones, I clone a newer, faster, and large drive with SuperDuper, and put the backup drives as the primary drive in the machine.

    that way, I continually replace drives with bigger ones over time, while ridding myself of older drives every three years. Three years is when most drives experience a rise in unreliability. I avoid that with regular replacements. The backups get little actual use, and while drives go stale on the shelf too, my experience is that this allows me to avoid most long term problems.
    edited January 14 pscooter63
  • Reply 4 of 19
    sandorsandor Posts: 350member
    razormaid said:
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    i've never found this to be true - photoshop, MS Office, they all need the serial numbers entered & to be reactivated.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    eideardeideard Posts: 299member
    Time Machine and SuperDuper here, too.  Nary a problem.  And when you need to use one of these, you need it to work easily, no surprises.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,028member
    razormaid said:
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    I'm having that exact problem:  my late-2008 MBP died.  But that MBP was running El Capitan, not Sierra because a machine of that vintage couldn't be upgraded to Sierra.   I had a SuperDuper backup of that machine.  In addition, I pulled the hard disk out of the old Mac and put it in an enclosure.   

    I bought a new Mac and used Migration assistant to move the files from the old internal drive (now in an enclosure).   The serial numbers for Office and for my Adobe products did not come over.   I can't find my originals.   I got a tech at Microsoft to give me a license # (at the time I thought he found a way to pull mine), but it turned out it was for a student/home edition so Outlook didn't work.  I called back and had to pay $40 to get a key for Outlook.   10 minutes later I found the original key.

    But I haven't found the keys for CS6, although I have some older ones.   I go to my Adobe online account and there isn't a single app listed, even though I found an old email thanking me for registering CS6 and I know I've updated my products through Adobe. 

    I figured if I boot one of the old drives, maybe I'd be able to copy over the Adobe apps and the serial #'s would come over.  But you can't boot El Capitan on the new MBP.   Which also means I can't bring over the full image to the new machine (I'm afraid I'd brick it).   Is there a way to use SuperDuper to bring over just the apps with their serial #'s?   
  • Reply 7 of 19
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 4,609member
    zoetmb said:
       Is there a way to use SuperDuper to bring over just the apps with their serial #'s?   
    Nope. And your experience points out the need to be proactive and secure all of your product serial numbers and activation codes. You can accomplish that with a utility like 1Password for example. As for my own experience, like most, I have never had an issue with serial numbers when booting into or restoring from a SuperDuper clone.
    edited January 14
  • Reply 8 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,472member
    zoetmb said:
    razormaid said:
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    I'm having that exact problem:  my late-2008 MBP died.  But that MBP was running El Capitan, not Sierra because a machine of that vintage couldn't be upgraded to Sierra.   I had a SuperDuper backup of that machine.  In addition, I pulled the hard disk out of the old Mac and put it in an enclosure.   

    I bought a new Mac and used Migration assistant to move the files from the old internal drive (now in an enclosure).   The serial numbers for Office and for my Adobe products did not come over.   I can't find my originals.   I got a tech at Microsoft to give me a license # (at the time I thought he found a way to pull mine), but it turned out it was for a student/home edition so Outlook didn't work.  I called back and had to pay $40 to get a key for Outlook.   10 minutes later I found the original key.

    But I haven't found the keys for CS6, although I have some older ones.   I go to my Adobe online account and there isn't a single app listed, even though I found an old email thanking me for registering CS6 and I know I've updated my products through Adobe. 

    I figured if I boot one of the old drives, maybe I'd be able to copy over the Adobe apps and the serial #'s would come over.  But you can't boot El Capitan on the new MBP.   Which also means I can't bring over the full image to the new machine (I'm afraid I'd brick it).   Is there a way to use SuperDuper to bring over just the apps with their serial #'s?   
    It might depend on the version of Microsoft software. I've used Superduper for a very long time, using both Migration Assistant and simply cloning the other Mac. One of the issues Superduper doesn't handle is creating a Recovery partition on a newly formatted Mac disk. I go ahead and install a new OS, then use Migration Assistant to build the new Mac using a Superduper clone. 

    On my MBP running FileVaulted Sierra (early 2009 iMac running El Capitan), I encrypted my backup disk using the simple encryption capability (right-click after disk mounted) so my backup is also encrypted. Superduper won't do a scheduled backup unless I enter the password first. For obvious reasons, I don't save that password in my keychain.

    One thing not mentioned in this article is that the free version of Superduper does not allow scheduled backups, you need to pay for the application.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    I have used this tool for years and it has been great. I periodically do backup/restore to get speed improvement on hard drives.The support is fantastic and very prompt. I had an old 2009 17" MacBook Pro (using it now) and to extend its life I replaced the optical drive with a 1TB drive and the internal hard drive with an SSD. With their help, I used the Sandbox option in SuperDuper to put the system and Apps on the SSD with all the data files on the slower hard drive, Sandbox. Works great and it is usually hard to see a performance difference between the old MBP and my much newer MacBook Air. Thanks SuerDuper.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    gregspeckgregspeck Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I purchased this from Shirt Pocket in 2004. It has saved my ass several times over the past 13 years.  When there was a question, they came back very quickly with the answer.

    Unlike other software, they did not constantly charge me for updates.  
  • Reply 11 of 19
    chasmchasm Posts: 217member
    Super Duper is good, I've been more of a Carbon Copy Cloner guy because Bombich is IME much faster at updating for new OS versions/underlying system changes, having formerly been an OS engineer for Apple (but I have used SD in the past). Case in point: we're just now getting a fully Sierra-compatible version, three months after release, by their own admission. Thanks also for mentioning Chronosync, which is a terrific option for anyone who's cloning/syncing needs are more complex than a straight backup.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    zoetmb said:
    razormaid said:
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    I'm having that exact problem:  my late-2008 MBP died.  But that MBP was running El Capitan, not Sierra because a machine of that vintage couldn't be upgraded to Sierra.   I had a SuperDuper backup of that machine.  In addition, I pulled the hard disk out of the old Mac and put it in an enclosure.   

    I bought a new Mac and used Migration assistant to move the files from the old internal drive (now in an enclosure).   The serial numbers for Office and for my Adobe products did not come over.   I can't find my originals.   I got a tech at Microsoft to give me a license # (at the time I thought he found a way to pull mine), but it turned out it was for a student/home edition so Outlook didn't work.  I called back and had to pay $40 to get a key for Outlook.   10 minutes later I found the original key.

    But I haven't found the keys for CS6, although I have some older ones.   I go to my Adobe online account and there isn't a single app listed, even though I found an old email thanking me for registering CS6 and I know I've updated my products through Adobe. 

    I figured if I boot one of the old drives, maybe I'd be able to copy over the Adobe apps and the serial #'s would come over.  But you can't boot El Capitan on the new MBP.   Which also means I can't bring over the full image to the new machine (I'm afraid I'd brick it).   Is there a way to use SuperDuper to bring over just the apps with their serial #'s?   
    Boot from the external drive (hold down option before the chime and select the drive) and install this on it: 

    https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/36175/mac-product-key-finder

    Does a good job of recovering my Adobe keys. 
  • Reply 13 of 19
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 28,980member
    zoetmb said:
    razormaid said:
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    I'm having that exact problem:  my late-2008 MBP died.  But that MBP was running El Capitan, not Sierra because a machine of that vintage couldn't be upgraded to Sierra.   I had a SuperDuper backup of that machine.  In addition, I pulled the hard disk out of the old Mac and put it in an enclosure.   

    I bought a new Mac and used Migration assistant to move the files from the old internal drive (now in an enclosure).   The serial numbers for Office and for my Adobe products did not come over.   I can't find my originals.   I got a tech at Microsoft to give me a license # (at the time I thought he found a way to pull mine), but it turned out it was for a student/home edition so Outlook didn't work.  I called back and had to pay $40 to get a key for Outlook.   10 minutes later I found the original key.

    But I haven't found the keys for CS6, although I have some older ones.   I go to my Adobe online account and there isn't a single app listed, even though I found an old email thanking me for registering CS6 and I know I've updated my products through Adobe. 

    I figured if I boot one of the old drives, maybe I'd be able to copy over the Adobe apps and the serial #'s would come over.  But you can't boot El Capitan on the new MBP.   Which also means I can't bring over the full image to the new machine (I'm afraid I'd brick it).   Is there a way to use SuperDuper to bring over just the apps with their serial #'s?   
    You really need to make sure you keep these things. Companies are very diligent about pirating. I do t blame them, frankly. I have a book with all of my passwords and serial numbers. My feeling is that if someone breaks into my house, and the police don't get there in time after the central alarm goes off, then if they really see this book among all of my stuff, and look at it, they can have it. The point is that you NEED to keep records of all of this. Don't believe anyone who tells you to never write it down.

    software, in a number of cases is designed to recognize its in a new compurer, cloned drive or not. If you need to authorize a machine, then you need to. And the number of machines is limited to two or three, usually. Adobe is very helpful with this. Call them.
  • Reply 14 of 19
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,028member
    zoetmb said:
    razormaid said:
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    I'm having that exact problem:  my late-2008 MBP died.  But that MBP was running El Capitan, not Sierra because a machine of that vintage couldn't be upgraded to Sierra.   I had a SuperDuper backup of that machine.  In addition, I pulled the hard disk out of the old Mac and put it in an enclosure.   

    I bought a new Mac and used Migration assistant to move the files from the old internal drive (now in an enclosure).   The serial numbers for Office and for my Adobe products did not come over.   I can't find my originals.   I got a tech at Microsoft to give me a license # (at the time I thought he found a way to pull mine), but it turned out it was for a student/home edition so Outlook didn't work.  I called back and had to pay $40 to get a key for Outlook.   10 minutes later I found the original key.

    But I haven't found the keys for CS6, although I have some older ones.   I go to my Adobe online account and there isn't a single app listed, even though I found an old email thanking me for registering CS6 and I know I've updated my products through Adobe. 

    I figured if I boot one of the old drives, maybe I'd be able to copy over the Adobe apps and the serial #'s would come over.  But you can't boot El Capitan on the new MBP.   Which also means I can't bring over the full image to the new machine (I'm afraid I'd brick it).   Is there a way to use SuperDuper to bring over just the apps with their serial #'s?   
    Boot from the external drive (hold down option before the chime and select the drive) and install this on it: 

    https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/36175/mac-product-key-finder

    Does a good job of recovering my Adobe keys. 
    As per my last paragraph, I can't boot the external drive because it has El Capitan on it.  El Capitan won't run on the new MBP.   
  • Reply 15 of 19
    I religiously backup my whole drive.  I am now looking for a solution that will backup only my most important folders to a USB key every time I plug the key in.  Can SuperDuper! do this?
  • Reply 16 of 19
    chasm said:
    Case in point: we're just now getting a fully Sierra-compatible version, three months after release, by their own admission.
    Chasm,
    You are incorrect on this point. According to the SuperDuper! Revision History, SuperDuper! v2.9.1, with Official macOS Sierra 10.12 compatibility, was released on 12Sep'16, 8 days prior to Sierra being released to the public, on 20Sep'16.

    A publication that promotes, profiles or reports on a specific software title, is not always able to do so at the time of release. I was surprised that the article did not clarify that point.

    ratbastard

  • Reply 17 of 19
    MacProMacPro Posts: 16,079member
    rob53 said:
    zoetmb said:
    razormaid said:
    It's the best. It even fools Adobe into thinking it's not been moved resulting in all the serial numbers still working. <GRIN> 

    it great for making a perfect clone then transfering that clone to your new machine 
    I'm having that exact problem:  my late-2008 MBP died.  But that MBP was running El Capitan, not Sierra because a machine of that vintage couldn't be upgraded to Sierra.   I had a SuperDuper backup of that machine.  In addition, I pulled the hard disk out of the old Mac and put it in an enclosure.   

    I bought a new Mac and used Migration assistant to move the files from the old internal drive (now in an enclosure).   The serial numbers for Office and for my Adobe products did not come over.   I can't find my originals.   I got a tech at Microsoft to give me a license # (at the time I thought he found a way to pull mine), but it turned out it was for a student/home edition so Outlook didn't work.  I called back and had to pay $40 to get a key for Outlook.   10 minutes later I found the original key.

    But I haven't found the keys for CS6, although I have some older ones.   I go to my Adobe online account and there isn't a single app listed, even though I found an old email thanking me for registering CS6 and I know I've updated my products through Adobe. 

    I figured if I boot one of the old drives, maybe I'd be able to copy over the Adobe apps and the serial #'s would come over.  But you can't boot El Capitan on the new MBP.   Which also means I can't bring over the full image to the new machine (I'm afraid I'd brick it).   Is there a way to use SuperDuper to bring over just the apps with their serial #'s?   
    It might depend on the version of Microsoft software. I've used Superduper for a very long time, using both Migration Assistant and simply cloning the other Mac. One of the issues Superduper doesn't handle is creating a Recovery partition on a newly formatted Mac disk. I go ahead and install a new OS, then use Migration Assistant to build the new Mac using a Superduper clone. 

    On my MBP running FileVaulted Sierra (early 2009 iMac running El Capitan), I encrypted my backup disk using the simple encryption capability (right-click after disk mounted) so my backup is also encrypted. Superduper won't do a scheduled backup unless I enter the password first. For obvious reasons, I don't save that password in my keychain.

    One thing not mentioned in this article is that the free version of Superduper does not allow scheduled backups, you need to pay for the application.
    Carbon Copy Cloner doesn't have any issues at all ... period.  I used to have both Super Duper and Carbon Copy Cloner but only use the latter now.  Makes schedules, after back up scripts, makes Recovery partitions and releases betas for even the Developer Beta versions of macOS and it's fast and it even makes sparse-bundle disk images.  What's not to like.
    edited January 17
  • Reply 18 of 19
    cej38 said:
    I religiously backup my whole drive.  I am now looking for a solution that will backup only my most important folders to a USB key every time I plug the key in.  Can SuperDuper! do this?
    You're better off with ChronoSync on this one.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    bengbeng Posts: 21member
    I have used SD for years. About 6 months ago my Sierra crashed and the Apple store reloaded Sierra.  Every since then, SuperDuper crashes about 10 seconds after starting.  I downloaded SD again just to be sure, but it continues to crash everytime I run it. ☹️
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