Testing Your Carbon Copy Cloner Full Backup

Monitoring and testing a backup system are two critically important steps which many people skip. If you don’t consistently monitor and periodically test your backup system, you could be in for a big surprise when disaster strikes and you try to retrieve files from your backup system. Monitoring and testing gives you confidence that your backup is running properly.

In my Tech Tip about setting up a comprehensive Macintosh backup system, I encourage everybody to set up both Time Machine and Copy Copy Cloner. Here are simple instructions to ensure that Carbon Copy Cloner is creating a full, bootable backup copy of your Mac’s hard drive:

  • Quit all open applications except Finder.
  • Go to the Apple menu and select Restart.
  • Immediately after you hear the startup chime hold down the Option key.
  • After 10-15 seconds the “Startup Manager” will appear. The Startup Manager will display a row of icons on a blue background. You can release the Option key.
  • Once your cursor becomes an arrow, click on the hard drive icon for your full bootable backup made by Carbon Copy Cloner to select it. In these instructions I’ll assume your full bootable backup is named “Full Bootable Backup.” If you don’t see your full bootable backup drive listed in Startup Manager, that is an indication that your full bootable backup didn’t work properly. In this case follow the instructions I list in this Tech Tip about setting up Carbon Copy Cloner.
  • Next, click the button with an arrow pointing to the right to tell the computer to continue to start up.
  • Once the computer has started up go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac. In the section labeled Startup Disk you should see Full Bootable Backup listed. If you see Macintosh HD listed then the full backup didn’t work properly since the Mac failed to startup from the full bootable backup. In this case follow the instructions I list in this Tech Tip about setting up Carbon Copy Cloner.
  • Close the About this Mac window.
  • Now test a few important files. For example open some important word processing files. Open iTunes and verify that you can play some songs. Open iPhoto and ensure that your photos are there.

You’ve successfully tested your full, bootable backup made by Carbon Copy Cloner!

The final step is to have your Mac startup from its internal hard drive as it does typically. Go to the Apple menu and select Restart. Let your Mac startup and it’ll automatically revert to starting from its internal hard drive. Once it’s started you can verify this fact by going to the Apple menu, selecting “About This Mac” and seeing which hard drive is listed as the startup disk.

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