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Aargl Aargl is offline
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Default Backup & Restore a working system - 12-25-2011, 08:07 PM

There are a lot of people asking for the best way to backup, once you have a working system running: there's no need to use other softwares, Disk Utility does the job perfectly and fast if you know how to do it.
Everytime you're trying something, it's a lot faster to recover from a disk image than reinstall everything! ;-)
So, while making my experiments, I made disk images at each stage of the process (bare 10.6.0, updated 10.6.7, updated 10.6.7 with my newly installed apps, and so on).

Of course, to do this, you need to boot from another disk or from the DVD (but then you also need an external disk to put your images on it (so I'll cover the case where you also have a working system on your external drive).
N.B.: for the DVD way, you can find inspiration in the various guides available to install things from scratch, the process is the same.

1) advice: partition your external drive with 2 partitions so if you clone your internal drive on it you put your images on the other partition; it's also useful if that system gets screwed and you have to reinstall it using an image

2) now, you're supposed to have started from the external drive: launch Disk Utility

3) TO BACKUP: on the left side, click on the partition you want to back-up (say itís called MYOSX); Menu File > New > Disk Image of MYOSX (if the menu bar is visible, you just have to click on the New Image icon); choose where you want to save it, let it work

4) TO RESTORE: on the left side, click on any partition to make the various tabs appear (if youíve already done something in Disk Utility the tabs stay visible); click the Restore tab; drag the disk image on the Source field; drag the partition where you want to install it on the Destination field; tick the Erase Destination box, click*the Restore button and then click Erase (it will make controls the first time an image is used)

N.B.: instead of whatís writen on the guide I followed for my basic installation itís not taking long if youíve ticked the Erase destination box; in fact itís a lot longer if you donít tick it (a few hours instead of 7 or 8 minutes for a typical OSX), due to the fact that it copies files and folders instead of blocks

5) if youíve restored on a disk that has never been booted before, you have to run NetbookInstaller (I know use NetbookInstaller 20100616212351), BUT with all options unticked!!! (this is very important, you only have to choose the name of your restored OSX partition and run it ó I wasnít doing it at first and was about to give up when one morning I awoke in a Eureka! style... :-D)

6) you now may startup from your restored disk

---------- Post added at 09:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 PM ----------

Here's the guide I followed for my basic install, that you can follow for your first backup from DVD, the principle remains the same.
Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.2 on Dell Mini 9 Guide
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michaelcly michaelcly is offline
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Default 01-10-2012, 10:22 PM

Good info, thank you! I have a couple questions for you...

I bought a 64gb pro IV runcore (tstyle). I have a mini 9 with 10.6.7 on a stock 32gb. I also have an bootable external HD with a time machine back-up and disk image. I'm armed for bear! The Runcore has a built in usb connection. My questions are:

1. Can I boot from the stock, and restore the dmg on the external to the Runcore? Or can I just use Carbon Copy and go straight from the stock to the Runcore and then swap out the drives?

2. I read that Carbon Copy does a block for block clone. I'm concerned that the clone will have all the same fragmented garbage as the stock. I wonder if some sort of file copying rather than block copying would be better. I don't want to copy the problems from the stock. So, would it be better to use restore and "copy" the files by not clicking erase?

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Aargl Aargl is offline
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Default 08-25-2012, 02:38 PM

Hi! Sorry, I'm just seeing your post!
1. YES! As long as you've got your .dmg you can boot from any partition (internal or external) and restore it to a blank partition (internal or external) ó I'm not sure if you intended making a backup of the currently running osx but I never did, it may work, but it may not...)
2. Checking ERASE is not copying bad blocks, if that's what you mean: if they do exist, you'll probably have a reading error, no matter what utility you use. If your disk is ok, backing it up without the Erase option may defragment it (they say so...) but will copy every files and folders the way they are, just as with the option ticked.

If you want to optimize your backup, you can use an utility such as Snow Leopard Cache Cleaner to clear your caches before, but you won't gain 1Gb on a fresh system (maybe on an long used system, but you probably don't want to backup it as it will probably have a lot more clutter...)
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Aargl Aargl is offline
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Default 08-25-2012, 08:15 PM

Note that there could be a problem if your original partition was 20Gb and you need to restore it to a 15Gb or 10Gb partition, even if the actual content is only 5Gb: OSX is a bit narrow-minded for that matter!
The best option to avoid problems is to resize manually your partition with Disk Utility BEFORE creating your image.
From 10.5 on, you can resize a partition with Disk Utility just dragging a small triangle which is very easy and safe even on your actual running OSX partition.
I haven't found an easy way to do it afterwards, be it through terminal with hdutil command, or with a freeware called DMGConverter which gives me errors anytime I try (except for the .sparsebundle format).
You can gain something using Disk Utility to convert your .dmg to .sparsebundle and then use the resize menu but not to the minimum size.

Last edited by Aargl; 11-30-2015 at 02:50 PM.
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