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Karen's Replicator for Mac?

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I recently purchased a MacBook Pro. I've got 2 external drives that I store my

photos on. In the PC world, I would work on one drive regularly and

intermittently turn on the second drive, run Karen's replicator to copy all of

the files from the primary to the backup, and then turn off the backup.


I would like to do something similar in the OSX environment. I've briefly

looked at an Automator action to backup one folder to another, but in a quick

test it seemed to run very slowly. Are there other automator actions that do

what I want? Is there an easy way to make my own? (I'm a web developer familiar

with ASP/ASP.NET in VB, JavaScript & C#, so I'm no afraid to learn a new

language if someone can provide a decent reference.)


Am I best off just writing a shell script? My ideal scenario would be to work

off of my primary drive 100% of the time. When I plug my backup drive in, it

would automatically prompt me asking if I wanted to start the backup

synchronization or not.


Thanks for any suggestions!

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Hello Karen,


Welcome to Mac's OS X. I recently made the switch and am much happier now that my computer is no longer spends half of its time "updating".


There is a command line utility that does exactly what you want (and more if you care). It is called "rsynch" and is already part of Mac OS X. Check out the man page (in terminal, of course). I use this in a "bash" script to duplicate my main drive to a backup drive. Since rsync does not copy files that are already up to date, the copy is quite fast. You have a lot of control over how to do this (like making hard links to files that were not modified...), but it is command line stuff and can get a little complicated to explain. Surf the web for more, you will find lots of info, since rsync is also part of Linux.


If you want something more convenient, GUI style, there is a program called SuperDuper which will clone a drive and do so without copying files that are already up to date, or systems files you should not copy anyhow. I think it's about $30.


An even fancier program that allows you to do a "two way synchronization" and a whole host of other options is ChronoSync ($60). What this means is that you can work on either hard drive. When you do a synchronization, both drives are made identical again, the program makes sure you end up with the newest (latest modification) files from both drives. Again it is fast since it only copies those files that are modified. The nice thing about Chronosync (and rsync) is that you can do the copying over a network, so the drives can be in two different systems (i.e. your workstation and your laptop).


I am sure there are other options for doing what you want. These are the three I found to work best, each for their own reason. If I had to do with only one, I would choose Chronosync.




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I am running Aperture but keep master photos as reference files on an internal HD. Vaults

located on two different FW HDs. Backup master files to two external FW HDs using Tri-

BACKUP. I have used Tri-BACKUP for years - great program, good interface, can make

scheduled backups as well as immediate, handles permissions properly. Can synchronize

between or copy. No proprietary backup files like some.




They have a 30-day free trial period, too.

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