Due to increasing size of data repositories, organization of data seems to be the largest issue of all time. Additionally, increased business mobility has made it difficult to deal with the evolving risks of data loss in today's work environment. Backups offer a reliable solution for data protection and recovery in these crises. Mac users often create drive clones or bootable backups to make a mirror image of their systems. These backups or clones comprise all important data (including files, folders, and applications) and the necessary system files required to boot a Mac, eliminating the need to start from another disk while performing the restore operation.

Apple provides an indispensable tool, Disk Utility, to allow users to easily clone their Mac hard drives or volumes. Disk Utility uses a simple, three-step process to create a hard drive clone:

  • Boot your Mac using the OS X Installation disc. Keep pressing the 'C' key to get to the welcome screen and then select 'Disk Utility' from the 'Utilities' menu.
  • In the Disk Utility interface, select the 'Restore' tab and provide the source and destination drives. Uncheck the 'Erase Destination' check box at the bottom.
  • Click 'Restore' to clone the source drive onto the destination drive. Now, restart the computer and boot from the newly cloned drive. If the boot process completes without any problems, then the cloning was successful.

Disk Utility is a safe bet to clone one’s critical Mac OS X volumes. However, this tool has many downsides. It cannot be used to schedule cloning tasks in case one forgets to perform backups on a regular basis. Moreover, it does not allow users to resize volumes on the destination drive for full utilization of available disk space.

There is a range of commercial third-party Mac hard disk cloning tools available in the market. These utilities do a better job of cloning Mac hard disks and provide a plethora of advanced options. They can help users resize volumes on the destination drive according to their storage needs. With the help of these tools, users can automate the cloning process and schedule it to run on specified days and times. In addition, users can take snapshots of their hard drives or any specific region of the drives. These programs are compatible with the latest Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and all lower versions.

About the Author: Stuart Bell is a Mac user who believes in making life better with latest and most useful Mac technology, and wishes to share ideas and research on Mac utilities that clone and optimize Mac drives.