Apple's Time Machine is a great backup solution for most Mac owners thanks to its ease of use and deep integration within OS X. But for advanced users, Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner has long been an essential utility, offering the ability to create a bit-for-bit, bootable backup of your current machine. As noted by The Loop, the app has just been updated in anticipation of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Version 3.5 introduces a number of features tuned to Apple's new OS, but perhaps the most important change relates to how you'll be acquiring Carbon Copy Cloner. Bombich has made his work available as donationware for years now, but the new release does away with that model: it's now a $39.95 purchase — on sale for $29.95 until August 12th.

If you've paid for the app previously, you won't need to spend anything on the new version, and Bombich is even willing to assist those who no longer have their original registration info handy. The race-to-the-bottom pricing structure of Apple's Mac App Store certainly makes Carbon Copy Cloner seem costly, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more helpful tool to protect your data — assuming you're not in the SuperDuper! camp.