I have a friend with an iBook G4 who is looking for a cheap backup option for her Mac running OS 10.4. Money is tight, so getting 10.5 is not really an option (in addition to buy a backup drive etc, yes money is really that tight).

What suggestions can you offer for backups that's better than trying to remember to burn a CD once a month?


The standard "go to" backup program for the Mac before Time Machine was/is Super Duper. You can use it for free and it will make a full bootable clone of your system every time you run it. If you decide to pay for it, the program will then do incremental backups (much quicker to do a backup) on a schedule which will give you a bootable up-to-date clone of your computer sitting there in case something goes wrong you can get back to what you were doing (and hopefully ordering a new hard drive).

  • Hopefully your friend can afford the $27.95 for Super Duper. – Thilo Aug 16 '10 at 5:51
  • You don't have to pay for it, although the pay features are nice, but it is functional as a weekly backup solution. Also if you just need "important stuff" definitely see the dropbox answer. – Ptier Aug 16 '10 at 16:19

In addition to the full backup, you can put your most important files (potentially encrypted) on something like Dropbox. Makes it an offsite backup, and accessible from other computers as well. 2 GB of Dropbox are free.


For free incremental backup on a Mac - or almost any *nix box for that matter - rsync is hard to beat. It should already be installed, and at its simplest will do an incremental copy - set up Launchd or cron to run it automatically at a convenient interval and it'll copy only what has changed over to the backup disk (or a remote machine over the network for that matter).

With a bit of prodding it can even be set up to emulate Time Machine pretty closely, with the exception of the fancy restore interface.


Use snapshot. Free and functions effectivelly like TimeMachine. There's a writeup on how to get it going on older Macs somewhere on the Web.


Assuming you can get a backup drive or separate volume, try Crashplan. It's free if you're backing up to an external HD.

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