Backing Up My Mac Mails


hi guys,
i carry a load of around 5 gb of mails in my mac. now am afraid what if my hard drive crashes some day and I lose them all, the way my friend has been suffering now? Any idea how to get this heap backed up?

Doctor X

Ummm . . . er . . . get an External HD and copy the file to it? If they are particularly salacious . . . I mean . . . "important" you can burn a hard copy with a Blue Ray burner which are now relatively cheap.

You should be cloning your drive to an Ex-HD anyways. This will, of course, back up "you." As I have blathered on other threads, I did not use Time Machine since, years ago, it would not make a bootable clone. I have a MacBook Pro--Fear Me! FEAR ME!--so if/when my Internal HD shuttles off this mortal coil and joins the bleeding Choir Invisible, I can boot off my Ex-HD clone and scurry about finding a replacement.

I have been told that Time Machine does make bootable clones now. So . . . you have no excuse!


[Edited to redact various scribal errors, the scribe of which will be beaten.--Ed.]


won't that be risky cause the heap is worth 5gb+?? can time machine actually backup this load? i fear as these are my professional mails.
can you brief me more about this CLONING thing?

Doctor X

won't that be risky cause the heap is worth 5gb+??


Oh wait . . . you are serious?

You can cheaply get Ex-HDs that are 4TB, 6TB, and more! They laugh at 5GB. Hell, I am rewatching a highly artistic and deeply philosophical anime [Berserk--Ed.] which is far larger. I rip my movies to preserve them and they are all greater than a mere 5GB because . . . well . . . nothing like HD and BlueRay quality when you are
enjoying a classic work such as I, Claudius, Higurashi, and Debbie Does Des Moines!

can time machine actually backup this load? i fear as these are my professional mails.
can you brief me more about this CLONING thing?

Dude, if you look at the High Sierra thread you can wade through my blubberings about upgrading. My current Int-HD is 1 TB--HA!HA! FEAR ME!--of which about half is used. Time Machine will more than back that up. In fact, after upgrade I transferred "myself" via Migration Assistant from a clone.

Are you new to Macs? The reason I ask is to tailor my response. I have a few years old How To on cloning. Cloning saves so much bother. In fact, half of my High Sierra is me not cloning before "let's see what happens if I do THIS" and having to start from scratch.

Right, then this is two subjects:

Data Back Up . . . and You:

Here, I am thinking about data such as documents--emails as you mention--music, movies, pictures. This can include anything you do not want to lose from "Mai HD DIEDZ!" to "I downloaded a file called 'I am a Mac Ransomware Program' and now, for some reason, my life is hideous montage of sadness and regret."

Since Ex-HDs are cheap these days, I have two devoted to "stuff"--in case one fails. There is all of my legal documents such as taxes and pictures of Cheryl [Stop that!--Ed.] . . . right . . . where was I? All of the "stuff." This includes out-of-print DVDs I have ripped. Incidentally, you can clone between such Ex-HDs which I do. The initial process--as I will explain below--can be slow, but for raw data storage, updates take minutes.

Backing up a 5GB file is as easy as moving it to your Ex-HD and waiting. Depending on your connection--I have an older Mac with USB 2--it takes less than 10 minutes. Seriously. Easy.

Assuming You are a Complete Beginner: you need to "prepare" your Ex-HD by formatting it. If you need more information on that, let me know. You can even encrypt it. This I suggest. So if it is stolen, no one gets your tax records or pictures of highly suggestive French vegetables!

This sort of "data backup" is using the Ex-HD as a "dumping ground." It is an extension of your computer--you can make separate files, even partition it.

I still make "hard backups" of important "stuff." Given the pricing, I suggest a Blue Ray burner--now about $50--and you can use disks that store 25 GB rather than the 8.5 of DVD. As you can see, that is more than enough for what you need now.

Cloning . . . and You:

As I bitch about in my How To thread, "back in the day . . . when we were HAPPY to live in a shoe box in the middle of the road," Time Machine did not make "bootable" clones. I use SuperDuper! which makes very exact clones. In other words it copies everything to the extent that if you "boot" from it, you are basically "you." You do not have to search for passwords, your entire system is not different, et cetera.

Apparently, this is different. How do you find out?

1. Obtain an Ex-HD.
2. Connect it to your Mac.
3. Click on Time Machine in your Applications Folder
4. Follow the directions.
5. Binge watch the Australian series Rake while you wait.
6. When done "boot" off the clone--this can be explained--and see if it works.

Depending on the amount of data you have on your Int/Computer HD it may take a few hours. Time Machine is basically copying "you" to a fresh place. As I suggest above--and blather about in my How To thread--you have to format the Ex-HD for a Mac, of course.

This is important.

Pay attention.

Stop looking at that Youtube video! Yes . . . "kittens are cute" . . . I know!

Prior to High Sierra Macs "likes" the Journaled HPF format. WITH High Sierra the default and preferred format is APFS--which you can make encrypted if you wish. I think it is a "good thing" to encrypt clones. So if you clone you need to know "what" your format is--run Disk Utility and it will tell you. Time Machine may do that automatically.

So, for example, I am currently on High Sierra. I had to re-format my clones to APFS, then "re-clone." This takes hours. HOWEVER, once you clone, Time Machine and other cloning programs will simply update what is different. That takes only a few minutes depending on what you have done.

I will leave it at that.

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Also, depending upon how you process your mail, there is a very good chance that the 5GB you are talking about is on the mail server. Your laptop only has a copy of it. For example, if you have an iPhone and it can see the entire 5G, then that is a very strong indication that the email is still held on the server.