Since it is evident that data saved on your Mac’s hard drive is essential, you must back it up frequently (after making changes). For this, perhaps you are creating copies of every newly created file and storing them collectively at a secure location for backup purpose. However, instead of taking backup of every essential file individually, it is better to take incremental backup of complete Mac drive at once using Time Machine or any other backup software.
Time Machine is the Mac inbuilt utility that automatically backs up data every hour once configured. Since Time Machine is compatible with internal drive, external drive, and Time Capsule, you can use any of these as the backup drive. However, data backup is no longer in vogue, since cloning has set up its feet in the world of computers as well. Cloning in Computers? Well, it sounds quite strange, but is true that you can clone Mac drive including data in order to create its bootable backup. The term bootable backup states that you can boot from the clone as well.
Necessities for Cloning
Since cloning is about creating a replica of the entire Mac drive, its prime necessity is another hard drive (internal or external) of at least equal or larger size. Moreover, there must be a cloning software (either Disk Utility or any other cloning application) to carry out the process and Mac OS X install disc (for Mac versions earlier than OS X Lion).
Important: Make sure the software you use for cloning is professional and you have its proper knowledge.
Significance of Cloning
Thinking ‘why to clone Mac’s drive’ or ‘what the significance of cloning over backup is’ is general, since Time Machine is backing up all Mac data automatically. Therefore, following is the significance of Mac’s hard drive cloning:
Since clone drive is exact replica of the source drive, you can use both drives interchangeably.
Since clone drive is independent of the source drive, you can use it even if the original drive is no longer available.
You can use clone drive for software testing and other similar operations.
You can boot from a clone drive as well.
However, backup does not have any similar feature.
How to Clone Mac Drive
As the necessities and significance of cloning Mac’s hard drive are evident, let us proceed to clone Mac drive. For this, you can use Disk Utility or any external software, though. Since different software make you follow different steps for cloning, we take Disk Utility as the general cloning tool.
In case of using external hard drive as a destination drive, plug it in with a USB cable and wait until your Mac detects it. Insert Mac OS X install disc (for Mac versions earlier than Lion) and restart or boot your Mac in Recovery Mode.
Boot from Install Disc
Insert Mac OS X install disc and restart the Mac. Press and hold C key to boot from install disc. Now, select a preferred language, and then choose Disk Utility in Mac OS X Utilities screen.
Boot in Recovery Mode
Press and hold Command + R keys when Mac is booting until you see gray screen. Now, you will see Mac OS X Utilities screen, choose Disk Utility.
Select Macintosh HD partition shown in the left pane of Disk Utility, and then go to the Restore tab at the right. Now, drag it to the Source field, if not already shown therein. Drag destination drive to the Destination field and check whether both drives are correct.
Note: In some previous Mac versions, you see a check box that says, Erase Destination. Make sure it is checked.
Then, click Restore button to start cloning. Once the cloning is finished, boot from the clone drive to ensure whether it was successful. Press ALT key when Mac is booting to choose clone drive to boot.
One can also create easy, fast and bootable clone of Mac hard drive using some third party reliable application. If my readers want to experience such recommended Mac cloning software then below mentioned link is one such tool: