As a tech advisor, my most popular mantra is: “backup, Backup, BACKUP”! There are many ways to do it, and I recommend cloning my boot drive (and any other volume I want to save) to another hard drive (or large volume) in a way that allows me to use it just like the original . . . namely, to boot from it, and access it accordingly. A new competitive product has just been released that accomplishes this very nicely.
Stellar Drive Clone is a complete Hard Drive Cloning utility that creates a clone or image of my Mac hard drive or other volume. The cloned hard drive can then be used as a ready-to-use copy of the original hard drive (the image file can be useful in restoring the data, in case of any data loss or inaccessibility). Once cloned, I then have the option to restore a volume from a folder or image file which has backed up all my important files and folders in one location. Thankfully, this newest version also supports operations under the latest Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks.
This utility also provides options to create a bootable DVD and minimal system, which can be helpful in accessing the system (even with the apps of your choice), if my Mac OS crashes or fails to boot. It is a versatile tool which can clone any new Solid State Drive (SSD), or partition on a volume, or folder in it, to another hard drive, network drive or folder (or just make a simple backup of my entire system). If an image was created, then it can be restored to it original state simply and quickly. A very nice extra feature is the ability to resize a volume on the destination drive so leftover space can also be made available (otherwise, a large external hard drive would be entirely consumed by a smaller cloned volume).
Stellar Drive Clone has some other features of special note. Besides supporting HFS, HFS+ and FAT based drives, this software also performs cloning for exFAT based volumes or drives. With the help of this feature, I can also clone a flash drive formatted with exFAT file system (a great idea for a Mac person). Further, the software can clone any NTFS formatted drive to exFAT formatted drive in Mac OSX. I can also clone hard disks formatted with MBR (Master Boot Record) partition map scheme, which is a native partitioning scheme for DOS and Windows disks (which supports memory cards). Something I usually wouldn’t think about, but I can now customize the end-task activities of hard drive imaging and cloning when its finished cloning (or imaging) by setting options to various preferences, such as Play Sound, Send System to Sleep, or Shutdown System.
One more extra is the ability to create a “minimal system” with all the necessary operating system files, which works as a real system with bare minimum features. This minimal system includes Apple's default applications, all the files and folders on the desktop, and the applications selected by me. This system provides an empty user's folder with all the default preferences. As a result, booting from a minimal system is faster than the Bootable DVD, and a great tool for either diagnosing computer problems, or doing backups. All in all, this is a very versatile utility which I have found to be straight-forward and easy to use, while powerful and diversified in its tools.
Stellar Drive Clone for one user can be purchased for only $39 from www.stellarinfo.com (special pricing of $79 for 3 users or $129 for 5 users). As with many other fine Stellar products, you can try before you buy, by getting a Free Download from this same location. They include an excellent Frequently Asked Questions box at the end of their website to cover much more information about this product. Many other great products are also available here, like the Stellar Drive ToolBox (special short-term price of $99, an 80% discount).