Difference between ARCHIVE and BACKUP. the best in MY case anyway

I once in every decade find that my current project is corrupted. I don’t want this to happen now especially since I’ve put alot of work in this.
There are several options. I suppose the easiest way is to do nothing, and if something happens, i can go in my Mac’s Time Machine, go back to the date of a previous session, and copy it over to my project folder.
Another option is to take my project_1 and do a SAVE AS (project_1a) at the end of my session, and if my project fails in the next session, i can re-open the previous day’s session.
The third option is to use archive or backup… This is where i am confused.
(my project has a few recorded guitars, a few 3rd party wave files, but most is just the cubase VST stuff)
I google this and I see ‘how to archive’ or ‘how to backup’. but not really the ‘why’ part. sorry, i am a bit lazy… after 20 or 30 web discussions, i just give up).
When i bought a new mac, the migration assistant copied all the project files to my new computer, so i;m not too worried about moving my project manually.

  • can’t i just move the project folder to a usb or something ?
  • should i archive it my usb
  • should i back it up to my usb


If you always have the Audio files for a Project saved in that Project’s Folder then you can ignore Archive. It basically looks for audio you have stored elsewhere and copies it to your Project’s Folder in preperation for saving the Project by some other means (Backup, etc.).

In my opinion Backup Project… is poorly named as it implies it is part of some kind of backup scheme. What it is really doing is creating a brand new Project based on your current Project. This new Project will be in its own dedicated Folder which will include copies of all the Audio used in the source Project.

While this sounds pretty similar to just copying the Project Folder to a new location (which can work), there is one key difference. If you just copied the Project, when you open it it will look for its Audio in the Source Project’s Folder - which may or may not exist and you would want/need to to have the Project find the new location. But if you use Backup Project the new Project will already know where to look for the audio.

Save As… protects you against failure of the Project’s .cpr file
Backup Project protects the Project file and all it’s associated files.

For what it’s worth on a day to day basis I just rely on my PC’s system backups. So Time Machine may be all you really need. It’s really a risk tradeoff of what you feel comfortable with.


One other nice thing about Backup Project is that it can save just the bits that are still in use – for example, getting rid of parts that have been comped out of use. One thing to beware of, though, is that if you want some parts that are, for example, disabled, this can work against you unless you remember to disable them when saving the backup project, then go and disable them again in the backed up project (assuming you don’t want them active in case you want to start later remixing from where you are). Just to give one real life example on this front, I often submix background vocals, and occasionally some instrumental groups, then disable the original tracks in order to save on CPU. But I do want the original tracks in my backups (which I then archive to offline media), so I enable the tracks before doing the backup, then disable them again in the backed up version of the project.

For archival purposes, I would always suggest also making stems, making sure you have audio versions of any instrument tracks, whether rendered or just frozen, and saving a MIDI file of the track. Also making sure the WAV files are in broadcast wave format (which includes timestamps so you don’t have to have everything start from the beginning of the project). I’ve sometimes used some of these files to move projects from one DAW to another, but, even when not moving between DAWs, this stuff can sometimes be very useful if some plugins are no longer available years down the line (I’ve occasionally remixed files from as far back as 15 or 20 years ago).

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wow. i could have had not wasted my time googling this , if i had asked you first. you put everything in CONTEXT which makes perfect sense.
doing ‘how do I’ google searches seldom give you ‘when and why’ answers.
you should write manuals.
if you do , please start with my Volvo XC40…. horrible. had to read the same page to get the sunroof working properly.

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thanks so much for this ‘extended’ discussion of backing up products.

Yours is an excellent solution as well. Why can’t i click SOLUTION on both answers. Its not fair.