Backup Your Mac using Time Machine.
Unlike Windows, OS X has a great built-in tool for backing up your entire operating system to a backup disk. Windows has the ability to create a system image, but this is a holdover from Windows 7 and is not easy to use, especially when you need to perform a full recovery.
The best way to back up and restore your Windows system is to use a third party clone utility. Luckily, on a Mac, you can just use Time Machine and enjoy the convenience of automatic backups and easy restores.
Moreover, you can use it to restore individual files and folders in addition to restoring the entire operating system, which is very convenient.
Mac Time Machine Backup
Your best bet is to back up your Mac to a completely separate hard drive inside or outside. You can connect the drive via USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt. Alternatively, you can use a network drive if it supports the Apple File Protocol. Basically, if you see a drive in OS X, you can use it as a Time Machine backup.
To get started, go to System Preferences and select Time Machine.
Click Select Disk to Back Up, and then select a disk or part of it to back up Mac OS Time Machine.
When you have selected the drive you want to use for the backup, click Use Disk. You can also encrypt the backup according to your preference by checking the box next to it, but the backup will take longer.
If you have checked the “Back up automatically” box, the backup should start automatically after a couple of minutes.
You can also select the Show Time Machine check box in the menu bar, then return to the notification bar at the top of the Mac screen, select the Time Machine icon (the clockwise arrow logo), and select Back Up Now.
Finally, you can click the Options button on the Time Machine screen and exclude any files or folders that you don’t want to back up.
That’s all. Depending on how much data you have, the backup will take time. For me, backing up about 400GB of data to an external USB drive took about 10 hours. So be prepared to wait. Fortunately, you can use your computer as usual while the backup is running in the background.
In one of the future posts I will write about how to restore individual files and folders using Time Machine and how to restore an entire Mac in the event of a system failure. Enjoy!