Time Machine Vs. SuperDuper

UPDATE (Jan. 29, 2008): You can complete a full system restore to a new hard drive with Time Machine. After installing the new hard drive startup your Mac with the OS X Leopard install DVD. But instead of going on with the usual install process, select Utilities > Restore System from Backup and follow the prompts. (via lifehacker at Restore Your Data with Time Machine)

Time Machine and SuperDuper are both backup solutions for Apple’s OS X operating system (SuperDuper is not yet available on Leopard at the time of this writing). Both effectively copy your entire hard drive to an empty volume like an external USB or Firewire drive, but there are a couple of subtle differences.

I thought I may be able to drop SuperDuper once I upgraded to Leopard, but it looks like it will be a part of my arsenal for some time still. Here are the key attractions of each:

Time Machine
1. Copies all files to backup location.
2. You can restore individual files by date. Going back a year by default.
3. You are unable to boot form the backup source.
4. Has the potential to eat up quite a bit of storage.

SuperDuper
1. Copies all files to backup location.
2. No historical recovery.
3. Boot directly from the backup source. (External Firewire drive)
4. Space used for storage will remain relatively the same.

The ability to backup from my external Firewire drive is HUGE to me. If my hard drive crashes I want to be able to simply restart my Mac and boot directly from my backup drive and have a working system. Time Machine lacks this luxury. Instead you would need to replace the hard drive, reinstall Leopard and then run a recovery from Time Machine.

It does have historical backups going for it though. So if you deleted a file a few days back and realized you now need it, you can still get it – You can also recover older versions of a file.

It seems redundant to have two dedicated backup drives, but if I want the best of both worlds…