Tips for Apple Backup 3

A couple tips for using Apple's Backup 3 application:

  • If you're recovering a system from scratch (i.e. you wiped the disk, reinstalled the OS and Backup 3), and your backup is stored across multiple discs, you need to put the last disc in first. If you put in the first disc the restore window will show the backup plan's name, but no files to restore.

  • If you try to restore by right-clicking a backup volume (e.g. a .FullBackup file), clicking "show package contents," then navigating to the .sparseimage file and mounting that, you will lose resource forks. Many files these days don't have resource forks anyway, but there are a bunch of holdovers (like some fonts and applications). You won't know the damage until you try to use the files.

(Most geeks can probably guess the process I went through to discover these things the hard way.)

While on the topic, I should mention that Jonathan 'Wolf' Rentzsch has valuable commentary on Backup 3. I disagree with some of the issues mentioned in the articles he cites, for example, you can restore from the last incremental backup by putting the last backup disc in first. (Similar to my point above.)

I'm annoyed with Backup 3 because I tried to take the obvious path, and it didn't work. I had backed up everything I wanted to 2 DVDs, so to restore I put in disc 1 and double-click the file, right? Wrong. Plus there was nothing to indicate that I should try starting from disc 2 instead. That's when I tried a "manual restore" by mounting the images. Ooops, no resource forks. Lovely.

Once I figured these things out, however, the process was reasonably smooth. I'll continue to use Backup 3 -- perhaps not the best idea, I admit -- because it seems decent once you learn its pitfalls. That said, I agree with Jonathan that backup software should not have pitfalls.


That said, I agree with Jonathan that backup software should not have pitfalls.

I agree, but let's avoid discrimination. All software should be treated like backup software.

True, but not all software is going to be perfect -- the market doesn't demand it. It seems like the software quality trend isn't getting any better, either. (I long for the days when I had a Photoshop that never, ever crashed.) So if we have to choose our battles, I'd put software dealing with data integrity at the very top of the "must work, no pitfalls or oddities" list.

Sorry to reply to so old a topic.

If software quality seems even somewhere near where it does, it is because QA teams are way more efficient now than they used to be. It's a matter of sink or swim. Operating environments (HW, other SW, the OS, and now security concerns) add complexity to a product. If the complexity on the development side increases by an order of magnitude, on the QA side the testing must increase by at least two orders of magnitude. QA budgets don't seem to be increasing. The QA side of the industry is working smarter with automation, better processes, and user driven testing focus.

(Disclaimer: I work for a backup software QA team that shall remain nameless) :)

I can't thank you enough for posting what you did re: Backup 3. I was at a loss for words and was unable to find any assistance on any of the forums that I frequented. I thought my files were limited to what I could salvage from the disk image cntrl right click solution. Thanks so much. I will be sharing this information with folks on other forums.

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