Quick Start

This book describes a step-by-step process for maintaining and backing up your Mac. The maintenance intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) reflect the relative urgency of the tasks in each section; you may choose to do the tasks within a section in any order, but I strongly suggest first following the steps in Chapter 1.

Get ready:

  • Get your Mac into the best possible shape by updating your software, getting rid of old files, and performing other preliminary tasks. Read Chapter 1.

Perform periodic maintenance tasks:

  • Every day, update your backup archive and download (but don't necessarily install) software updates. See Chapter 2.

  • Once each week, perform maintenance such as cleaning up your Desktop, backing up your hard drive, installing software updates, and rebooting or clearing certain caches if you notice performance problems. See Chapter 3.

  • Once a month, empty your Trash, check your disk for errors, do some light cleaning, and exercise your notebook's battery. See Chapter 4.

  • Once a year, give your Mac a good spring cleaning inside and out; make extra backups for long-term storage, get rid of extraneous files, and change your passwords. See Chapter 5.

Save time by skipping unnecessary work:

  • Learn why you can probably avoid two common maintenance tasks. Read Chapter 6.

Handle Mac OS X upgrades with ease:

  • Before you know it, Apple will ship the next major upgrade to Mac OS X. Learn what you need to know to be ready for it in Chapter 7.

Avoid or fix problems:

  • Catch hardware and software problems before they become serious, or troubleshoot them if they do happen. See Chapter 8 and Appendix A.

Decide on a backup strategy:

Read Chapter 9 to understand the rationale behind the hardware, software, and setup advice I give later.

  • Understand the crucial differences between a duplicate and an archive, and why a good backup strategy includes both. See The Duplicate (page 92) and The Archive (page 94).

  • Learn the most effective and the least difficult ways to back up your photos and videos. First read Do You Have Special Backup Needs? (page 90), and then see Digital Photos (page 90) and Video and Audio (page 91).

  • Learn the value of using a single system to back up all the Macs in your home or office. See Backing Up a Small Network (page 99).

Choose your backup hardware:

  • Learn the pros and cons of each media type (from CD-R to camcorders) and how to estimate the amount of storage space you'll need. See Chapter 10.

Choose your backup software:

  • Find out what to look for when comparing backup applications. See Chapter 11 for a feature overview, and then consult Appendix B for details and sources.

Set up your backup system:

In Chapter 12 we put all the pieces together and get your backup system running smoothly.

  • Make a bootable copy of your hard disk and test it to make sure it works. See Set Up Duplicates (page 163) and Test Your Duplicate (page 165).

  • Configure an archive for your most frequently used data files, and verify that you can retrieve stored files. See Set Up Archives (page 167) and Test Your Archive (page 169).

  • Put your backups on autopilot so that your files are protected even when you aren't paying attention. See Automate Your Backups (page 170).

  • Learn how and where to store backup media, and what to do with the media when it gets full. See Mind Your Media (page 172).

  • If disaster strikes and you need to recover files, be sure you're familiar with the steps in Restore Data from a Backup (page 177).

  • Do you use Retrospect as your backup software? If so, read the detailed instructions for major Retrospect tasks in Appendix C.


    If you want to see a very funny video about the importance of backups, featuring none other than John Cleese (The Minister of Silly Walks, Q, Nearly Headless Nick, and so on), visit LiveVault's Web site at www.backuptrauma.com/video/default2.aspx. (LiveVault sells Internet-based backup systems to businessesbut unfortunately, their products don't run on Macs.)

Real World Mac Maintenance and Backups. Industrial-Strength Techniques
Real World Mac Maintenance and Backups. Industrial-Strength Techniques
Year: 2004
Pages: 144

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