Frequently Asked Questions about GrabBack Backup Software

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How can I speed up my backups to removable media?

Unless you tell it not to, the Mac OS X "Spotlight" search system automatically indexes your external drives when files are written (including your backups). This can significantly slow down your backups no matter what program you are using. This occurs in Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard).

Here's how to turn off Spotlight indexing for your backup volume: Open "System Preferences..." in the Apple menu. Click on "Spotlight" then click "Privacy." With your backup volume plugged in, click the "+" and choose the volume you wish to exclude from Spotlight's indexing activity. You can change this back at any time.

How can I use GrabBack to make encrypted backups?

First you will create an encrypted volume using the Disk Utility program that comes with Mac OS X. You can keep this volume on any removeable media including a USB thumb drive and use it for encrypted backups.

Before backing up to your encrypted volume with GrabBack you must mount the volume (and supply a password). After backing up, you will unmount the volume and your backups will remain safely encrypted. Here are the detailed steps for accomplishing this:

1) Open "Disk Utility" (from the Applications | Utilities Folder)

2) From the Images Menu, select: New | Blank Image...

3) Choose a location for your volume (presumably your backup drive)

4) Give the Image a name, such as: "Encrypted Backups"

5) Set these other attributes:

Size: (Choose an appropriate maximum size)
Encryption: AES-128
Format: sparse disk image

6) Click Create. You will be prompted to create a password.
It is very important that you choose a password that you can remember. There is no known means of recovering data from an encrypted volume without a valid password.

You now have a encrypted volume stored on your backup media, ready for use with GrabBack. This is like having a small encrypted disk within a larger one. The file containing the encrypted volume will have the extension ".sparseimage" and it will grow in size (up to the maximum you specify) as you make backups to the volume.

To mount the volume, double-click on the "Encrypted Backups.sparseimage" file (as named in this example) and enter your password. Note it is mounted for you when you first create the image. You will only create the image once. Thereafter you can reuse a single encrypted image until it is full.

To make encrypted backups with GrabBack, simply choose the "Encrypted Backups" volume as the "Destination" for your backups and make your backups with GrabBack as you normally would.

When your backups are complete, simply eject the encrypted volume. Finally, if you are working with a USB thumb drive, remember to also eject the USB volume containing your encrypted volume before removing the drive from the computer.

That's all. You can now carry your encrypted backups with you knowing that your data is safe from prying eyes should your disk get lost or stolen.

How can I make GrabBack burn my archives directly to CD or DVD?

When you insert a blank CD or DVD into your computer, Mac OS X prompts you for an action and a name. Choose "Open Finder" for the action. For this example we will enter "Backup CD" for the name. Click OK to put an image of the blank disk on your Desktop.

You are ready to make backups using GrabBack. Simply open GrabBack and choose "Backup CD" as the destination for your backups.

When your backups have completed, select the "Backup CD" disk on the Desktop and choose "Burn Disc..." from the File menu.

When the burn is completed, you can eject the disk and store your backups in a safe place.

Should I try to back up my whole hard drive with GrabBack?

No. We do not recommend using GrabBack for backing up an entire computer or for "cloning" disk images. There are many excellent utilities available for doing this. Instead, the strength of GrabBack is in its ability to quickly back up relatively small collections of files that are important to you, especially those files and folders that you modify on a regular basis.

GrabBack has been tested with very large data sets and can, in fact, reliably archive and restore many gigabytes of data using a single archive file. But we find that most of our users enjoy GrabBack for its ability to quickly grab a day's work safely onto a thumb drive, day after day, and provide the peace of mind that can only come from knowing that your most recent work is backed up.