In an ideal world, upgrading to Apple’s upcoming OS X Lion (this coming week) would be as simple as following the company’s three-step guide: “Make sure your Mac can run Lion,” “Make sure you have the latest version of Snow Leopard,” and “Download OS X Lion from the Mac App Store.” But having gone through our fair share of Mac OS upgrades—and the occasional hard drive failure—we know that Apple’s missing a step: create an emergency backup of your Mac’s hard drive. Some people rely entirely upon Apple’s Time Machine. Others, including two of our editors, swear by Shirt Pocket’s SuperDuper! ($28). It clones your hard disk, letting you resurrect a machine if OS X apps start acting wonky or the disk fails. And based on some of the issues we’ve experienced with major new OS X releases, it’s better to be safe than sorry by doing a full backup before Lion arrives.
Popular and tested for literally generations of Mac OS X, SuperDuper! creates a fully bootable backup disk—one that you can run directly from your computer in the event that something starts going crazy after an OS X update, or if the hard drive fails. It can be set up to automatically repair file permissions prior to a backup, a nice step that reduces your need to run a standalone Mac-fixing app such as Onyx, and can also do change-only iterative backups that reduce its need to completely re-transfer your entire disk drive every time it’s run. Version 2.6.3 has been updated for compatibility with Lion, so in the event that everything goes smoothly with the upgrade, you’ll have this as an alternate safe backup solution for years to come.