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Carbon Copy Cloner 4 brings increased usability to trusted utility

Rob Griffiths | Nov. 6, 2014
Carbon Copy Cloner 4 is a major upgrade in both usability and feature set. It's flexible enough to handle any backup job you can throw at it.

After configuring your source, destination, and schedule, click Clone and your backup will begin. An optional--but very useful--menu bar status item shows all your tasks, including a progress indicator for those currently underway. The menu bar icon is especially handy when using the "run on reconnect" option, as you can keep an eye on the backup tasks without launching the full app.

Advanced features

CCC runs in what it calls "simple" mode, with most of its advanced options hidden. Click the Use Advanced Settings button, though, and the interface changes to reveal many more settings. The advanced options give you fine-grained control over the SafetyNet feature, provide some destination and troubleshooting options, and let you specify tasks that occur before or after a backup runs.

Most users won't have any need for these settings, save one: you can tell CCC to run another backup task after the specified one is finished. This lets you string together a number of disparate tasks into one larger operation, but one that runs sequentially instead of all at once.

In use

In my testing, CCC worked flawlessly. I was able to boot from a clone of my startup disk and I restored a number of files from various backups. (The backups are standard OS X files, so you don't need CCC to restore files. You can just access the backup in Finder.)

Overall, I found the interface to be clear and easy to use--it stands out in a market crowded with powerful yet complicated competitors. The advanced features are there if you want them, but remain hidden from view until needed.

My only minor complaint is that you can't reorder the tasks in the sidebar, nor can you organize them into folders. With a dozen or so separate tasks in the sidebar I resorted to naming them with a numeric prefix, so I could at least control the sort order.

Bottom line

Carbon Copy Cloner 4 is a major upgrade in both usability and feature set over its predecessor. If you're serious about backing up--and you should be--it's well worth a look.

 

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