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.