Installation Issue with Carbon Copy Cloner 3.1

For those of you eying Time Machine but still not ready to fully commit to OS X Leopard — sure, 10.5.2 is a big improvement, but I'm still waiting for that third time charm — I recommend Carbon Copy Cloner, which has just been updated to version 3.1.

CCC is free software. It can make scheduled backups to an external drive behind the scenes while you work. Your backup can even be bootable. But there is a minor installation hurdle for users of previous versions.

Despite being only a point release, Carbon Copy Cloner 3.1 sports some big improvements in capability over 3.0, most notably a much finer set of controls for both backup item lists and scheduling. I have also noticed that it is significantly faster, completing my backups in as little as two-thirds the time (even when copying the same amount of data).

In classic Mac fashion, upgrading CCC is theoretically as easy as dragging the application from the installer window to your Applications folder. But when I attempted to do just that, my Mac had this to say:

The above-referenced 'ccc_helper' is the background daemon that handles scheduled tasks, which I use liberally (one for duping my basic OS X installation once a month, and another twice a week for all my data). Alarmingly, this failed copy operation rendered my previous copy of CCC non-functional, and there was no warning at all about it in the accompanying ReadMe.

Luckily it wasn't fatal. Simply dragging the original to the trash first (an old Mac trick) enabled the subsequent copy to occur. And upon launch, the new version instantly detected the obsolete backup schedules and replaced those, too. The developer seems to have anticipated this issue and covered all the bases except for actual installation — which one might easily think of as home plate. This may seem odd, but it's human for a coder to take the download package for granted in testing, much as you might dress up perfectly for a night out and then forget your keys. It's the simple stuff that gets you. Unfortunately, the last step for the coder is the first step for the user, so this kind of oversight can exact a heavy toll in frustration if you don't immediately discover the workaround.

Once you've got it installed, however, CCC performs with the reliability, transparency, and simplicity I have come to expect from Mike Bombich.

  • UPDATE: The headline was changed from 'Installation Bug' to 'Installation Issue' in response to mike's comment below.


mike said...

This isn't a bug, you're just not following the update procedure. Updating is super simple -- just choose "Update CCC" from the Carbon Copy Cloner menu and CCC will handle the de-scheduling and re-scheduling of your backup tasks automatically. It is documented here:

A Man said...

Mike, thanks for the post and the handy link. I suppose if this is intentional behaviour than you're right it isn't strictly speaking a bug. But I'm going to let this criticism stand, for the following reason.

When I open the download package for CCC 3.1, I'm presented with a window requesting that I drag CCC 3.1 to my Applications folder. There is an accompanying ReadMe. This ReadMe does not contain the information you just linked to. This ReadMe also does not instruct me that if I am updating instead of downloading for the first time, I should avoid following the included instructions and instead search the CCC menus. So, believing I am doing everything as instructed, I copy CCC 3.1, get the error message, and my copy of CCC 3.0 is borked.

Where was my opportunity to gain the knowledge that you just pointed me toward, before this happened? It appears to me that there was none, thus I believe my readers are fairly (though lightly) warned.

I have updated with 'Update CCC' before, I just wouldn't have assumed it was required. (And I wasn't using schedules back then, so in that case I guess it wasn't.)

If I have missed some way the download page or dmg package actually did attempt to warn me off and inform me of the correct procedure, please let me know and I'll edit the article accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys
can you help out a newbie?
I installed CCcloner on OSX and haven't been able to get it to perform the backups I've scheduled.
What am I not doing right or what am I doing wrong? I leave my external Lacie drive on at all times.
Also - I didn't put anything in my applications folder - is this why???

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