I've updated two Macs — a 12-inch MacBook and 27-inch iMac — to Mac OS X El Capitan without any hiccups. However, I'm always cautious so I used BeLight Software's Get Backup Pro (currently on sale for $9.99) to clone a copy of the Macs' drives before upgrading the operating system. I'd recommend you do the same.
Get Backup lets you use Mac OS X 10.6 or higher to clone a hard drive or solid state drive, making a backup disc that be booted up just in case there's a problem like a system crash that could result in the loss of valuable data. (Note that this can take several hours depending on the size of your Mac's drive.) However, what really sets Get Backup Pro apart from its competitors is its ability to keep files in-sync and up-to-date on two computers. More on that in a second.
Backups are compressed, reducing the size of resulting archives as much as up to 60 percent. You can archive to external devices and drives or to network volumes that can be auto-mounted. You can schedule your backup, clone, and sync projects to execute automatically using Get Backup Pro's scheduler.
Get Backup is easy to use. One reason: it comes with templates for iPhoto, Mail, iTunes, Documents and Address Book. When you drag and drop the icons into the content window of Get Backup's interface, database information from the apps and folder is included in the backup project. You can use the "+" button to add other files to the content list and use the "-" button to remove items from the list.
Unfortunately, Get Backup 2 loses points for its lack of a template for Photos, iPhoto's replacement. Hopefully, an update will be released soon to address this issue.
After you've chosen the files to back-up, you can set up the properties of the back-ups by clicking the Properties menu. You can set your backup location, backup method, backup schedule, type of encryption, and archive size limit. However, some of these functions are only available in the pro version.
Note that there is also a "lite" version of this app. To unlock pro features you can buy a license code for US$19.95 and enter it via the app's preferences. I'd recommend doing this because the extra abilities are certainly worth 20 bucks. It's definitely worth 10 bucks, and you can get that price for a limited time on the App Store.
For example, it supports incremental backups, which take up the least amount of space. Each subsequent backup includes only those files that have changed since the last backup.
With Get Backup Pro 2, you can protect your data from prying eyes by encrypting your archives using AES-128, AES-256, Blowfish, or Triple DES. It supports bidirectional syncing that updates files in both the source and target destinations of your project. The pro version also lets you exclude files using patterns and restore only selected files as opposed to the entire archive.
As mentioned, Get Backup Pro's folder syncing is a feature lacking in most backup programs. It allows you to synchronize files and folders on your Mac with another computer or mounted drive using the sync features. You can sync in one direction or update files in both locations using bidirectional synchronization.
Folder syncing basically replaces older files in one location from newer files in another. With Get Backup you can sync left to right (depending on which Mac's data appears in which side of the backup utility's window), right to left or bi-directionally (again, only available in the pro version). The most expedient way to do this is by using your home or work network to sync files. However, network syncing can be slow, depending on the speed of your network.
I find this particularly useful with my constantly growing iTunes Library. With Get Backup I can have my iTunes folder replicated to another drive on an automated schedule and keep my copy up to date.
An app that can backup my files, clone my Mac's drive and sync files between my iMac and MacBook for only 20 bucks. What's not to love?