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Bootable clone issues for a Mac?
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Author Topic: Bootable clone issues for a Mac?  (Read 9261 times)
dtraughber
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« on: September 05, 2009, 06:07:03 PM »

The past week plus, I’ve spent a good bit of time with the new DAM Book, reading forum posts, doing research, calls to software companies and to tech supports, and a lot of thinking about what’s been said here. I find it necessary to go through everything in the book to take all into consideration before putting a system in place. Then, as per Dan’s suggestion, am putting the system down on paper and working through it step-by-step. This is for a single-computer MacPro Intel, with several JBOD for backup.

One sticking point is making a bootable clone of the OS/apps. I’d like to REPLACE the unpartitioned 500GB startup drive with a partitioned, new 1TB, and use the extra space for a scratch drive, and have more space for other files. Breathing space, if you will. Would rather go larger than smaller on the startup drive.

I’d like to separate the OS/apps (~39 GB total: Apps = 22 GB, Library = 12 GB, OS = 2 GB), from the User’s folder (incl. Pictures, Movies, Music = 42GB) in order to backup on a different schedule. Is there anything in the User’s folder that has to stay on the same drive as the OS? BTW, my archive files, working folders, and documents are on different internal drives, and all backed up.

From what I read, there seems to be a choice of making a bootable clone of the whole drive, or to partition, then backup the OS/apps into the partition. Ultimately, I want to keep all the preferences and apps along with the OS to have a quick and easier way to get going after a disc failure.

In the meantime I’ve installed two new formatted and zeroed out 1TB drives. They’re ready to roll. I have both Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper on hand. 

I made a partition of 175GB on the new 1TB drive for the OS / apps / Users folder, but I think this is too much for what I want/need to do. I’d like to separate the OS/apps/preferences from Users data. I have not yet made a bootable clone.

Here are my concerns:
1.   The spin up speed of the startup drive: 1TB vs 500 GB?  How would this affect using the OS—will there be lag time like there is when accessing files on other 1TB drives? I spoke with OWC about this and they suggested using “Caffeine? to keep the drive on all the time. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this. And I am not ready for a SSD yet for instant access! Ultimately, am I gaining or losing by putting a larger hard drive in for the startup drive. I can use more space!

2.   How to separate the System, Apps, Library, Developer from the User’s data (Movies, Music, Pictures, Addressbook)?  Aren’t the user’s preferences in the User’s folder? Is this a “clean? separation, considering hidden files? I'm not clear on how to separate this without compromising the system.

3.   If I partition, what kind of space should allow? I think 175 GB is way too much for ~39 GB (Apps = 22 GB, Library = 12 GB, OS = 2 GB). I see where some of you are making much smaller bootable clones. What do you include/exclude on your bootable clone and why? I'd rather not compress the files. I'd like to make a smaller partition.

4.   Another thing that is not clear is this: if my OS/apps are on a 500 GB drive, and I exclude certain files (Users folder), will the OS/apps (~39GB) go from a 500GB drive to a partition that is 175 GB? I am not sure if the destination drive has to be the same size or just that the data has to fit in the partition.

6.   From what I read from many different sources, not all external hard drives are bootable. The User’s Manual in CCC and SuperDuper say this too. I can’t find any definitive information on this, other than to do it and test.  My machine has Firewire 400 and 800. I have Seagate FreeAgent and Western Digital My Book (home editions) at present. What has been your experience and what would you recommend?

7.   I plan to make a bootable clone to an external hard drive, and perhaps, an additional one on one of the internal drives. Is this a good practice or overkill? At least, it “should? boot, if on an internal drive?

I’m sorry for the long post, but it’s all on the same issue. I feel like I should not move forward until I’ve got a bootable clone in place. At this point, it’s not a matter of thinking things out, it’s a matter of making an informed decision, and so far the information (outside this forum) I’ve found has been inconsistent.

Am welcoming anything you have to share on this. Thank you in advance.

Dadre
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markpirozzi
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2009, 01:53:02 PM »

Dadre,

I'll reply on a couple of items.

A) Here's what I did about my start-up drive - I replaced the an old one with a 1 TB drive.  I created an 80 GB partition that contains only the OS and Users folders - I don't store documents or media in the User folders. I created a second partition from the remaining space on the drive.  In the large remaining space I have my main copy of my archived photos.  These are not accessed that often so there is not a lot of competition between the HD accessing the photos and running the OS.  I have a back-up of the archived files on an external HD.

B) I also have a second internal HD which is a 1 TB drive.  I have a 40 GB partition as the 1st designated scratch drive.  I also have 20G partition for documents, downloaded software, etc. - I'm only using about 6GB.  I have two 60 GB partitions for backing up my OS. (I also have few partitions like this on external drives with no boot-up problems from FW.  The rest of the drive is devoted to working files laid-out more or less as outlined in the latest DAM book.  The document partition and working files partition are backed up using SuperDuper to an external HD - I use SD for the OS back-ups also.

C) In addition, I am able to back-up most all of this onto Swap Drives.  However, I use ChronoSync to copy the Archive folder and Working files folder into one partition on the Swap Drives.  A copy of my OS and documents are also on the Swap drives.

I am not crazy about separating the Users folder from the OS - however, I am no expert on the subject - can you even do this?.  I use ChronoSync to make a back-up of my Desktop folder.

I have never had a problem making bootable clones on my Mac and I have had clones on several external HDs.

Mark



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dtraughber
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2009, 05:52:13 PM »

Hi Mark,
Thanks for your quick reply. That's a much better idea to use the remaining space for archive, instead of working files.

I'm probably overthinking this and getting confused in the process. I saw where some forum users were making bootable clones onto small partitions. I wondered how they got the OS/apps, Music (iTunes) and other files on so small a space. I assumed Music was not included in the clone. When you say you don't store "media" in the Users Folder, does this include Music (iTunes), if you have it?

Why do you have two partitions on the second drive for backing up the OS twice? Do I understand you correctly on this? What is the advantage here?

Can someone explain to me the reasons why different partitions/volumes are used?

I read that it's a faster backup because of less data but if the other data is not backed up because it has not changed (as in Archive files), would that slow the backup down?

What is the advantage of making separate partitions for documents and working files, if both are constantly changing?

The DAM Book mentions "I...do the copying with a backup utility (Chronosync or SuperDuper! on the Mac)" Why do you use Chronosync instead of your SuperDuper! for the use you mentioned? Just curious.

One perhaps can't separate the Users Folder from the OS/apps, but the Scripts in SuperDuper! can exclude the Users folder when cloning, apparently. Still needs to be backed up though. Have decided to keep it all together, and keep it simple.

Thanks again,

Dadre


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peterkrogh
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2009, 06:07:44 PM »

Dadre,
One of the main reasons to make bootable clone backups is to have protection in case the boot drive fails or the computer is stolen. It needs to be on a different drive.  If you have any older, smaller drives lying around, then you could use one of these.

As to splitting the backups between users and bootable files, here's one approach.

• Make a bootable clone on an external drive, include system, preferences, users folder and your test docs. 
• You can regularly update just the Users folder with Chronisync or SuperDuper!. (through, say, a nightly backup).

The only reason to make a partition in this process is because you want to make a bootable clone from a much larger second drive, and you want the spare space walled off for sole other purpose, such as backup of image files, or perhaps clones of other critical drives.

Ideally, you would have one of these onsite set to backup on a daily basis, and one would live offsite and provide protection for fire or theft.

(I personally don't get much into issues of speed-tuning, since that's a black hole of effort all in the service of... saving time.)
;-)
Peter

Peter
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dtraughber
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2009, 07:04:20 PM »

Thanks, Peter,

Yes, understand the value of needing a bootable clone. I plan to have a bootable clone on a second internal drive, plus a couple of smaller internal drives that will be used with a docking station (Voyager Q with firewire 400 or 800, so far, so good), plus on Swapper Drives on site and off site. No problem there. I'll test each.

As far as time goes, my idea is not of milli-seconds, it's more like two hours vs. four hours or more for backup, etc. For a sense of proportion about "time": when I lived in Asia, I observed that in the more remote areas, they have precious few time-saving devices, yet they have "all the time in the world"; here we have all the time-saving devices that are updated constantly, and who here has time to even bring a thought to completion!   ;>)

Am getting there. When it's all done, I'll probably look back and think "now why was that so hard?" (she says....)

You know, the icing on the cake is again seeing the images (now cataloged, easily accessible, and backed up) and re-enjoy the times that we've forgotten.

Thanks for helping us to get to this place.

Dadre



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markpirozzi
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2009, 07:57:00 PM »

Hi Mark,
Thanks for your quick reply. That's a much better idea to use the remaining space for archive, instead of working files.

I'm probably overthinking this and getting confused in the process. I saw where some forum users were making bootable clones onto small partitions. I wondered how they got the OS/apps, Music (iTunes) and other files on so small a space. I assumed Music was not included in the clone. When you say you don't store "media" in the Users Folder, does this include Music (iTunes), if you have it?

Dadre,

I do not have a lot of music but I keep audio on the same drive as working files since the drive is fairly large and gets backed up in several places.

Quote
Why do you have two partitions on the second drive for backing up the OS twice? Do I understand you correctly on this? What is the advantage here?
Quote

Like peter, I have copies of the OS on a couple of older smaller drives, but the reason I keep a second copy with the first is the second copy is usually a little bit older than the regular back-up that is backed-up more frequently.  Say 10.5.6 is running well, I'll make a backup to the second location, but I may not update that copy until 10.5.7 seems to be fine or hasn't broken something.  Whereas the main backup copy may be updated several or many times before the second copy is updated. Admittedly not a must, but the bigger the HDs get, the less percentage of the HD an OS partition occupies.

I also have a copy of my OS on the swap drives.


Quote
Can someone explain to me the reasons why different partitions/volumes are used?
Quote

It's partly personal preference, but also if you install a new OS or do something major with it, I like to have it separate from other type of files.

Quote
I read that it's a faster backup because of less data but if the other data is not backed up because it has not changed (as in Archive files), would that slow the backup down?
Quote

Not an expert here.  Some days I will backup my working files 3 times in one day, but not the OS, so some time is saved there.  I would say if you back-up once a day, not a big difference.  Occasionally if something isn't acting right on program or the OS, I won't make a backup for a day or two or more.  I usually trigger the OS back-ups manually and I use Super Duper to do this so, for me, it's more convenient to have the OS in a separate partition.

Quote
What is the advantage of making separate partitions for documents and working files, if both are constantly changing?
Quote

(To clarify, when I say working files I mean working photo files per the DAM book.)  I would say this is more of a personnel preference or habit.

Quote
The DAM Book mentions "I...do the copying with a backup utility (Chronosync or SuperDuper! on the Mac)" Why do you use Chronosync instead of your SuperDuper! for the use you mentioned? Just curious.
Quote

Not sure if this is still true but SuperDuper used to not be good for bypassing files or folders when backing up a whole partition (or doing this was over my head).  I use ChronSync to backup specific folders. Plus ChronSync is easy to set-up to have it not back-up folders/files within the folder being backed-up

Quote
One perhaps can't separate the Users Folder from the OS/apps, but the Scripts in SuperDuper! can exclude the Users folder when cloning, apparently. Still needs to be backed up though. Have decided to keep it all together, and keep it simple.
Quote

If you keep your User folder relatively small, don't keep photos in the Picture folder, keep the Bridge cache off the OS drive, etc., I do not see an advantage to moving the User folder.


As with any endeavor, adapt to what works for you.

Mark

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Dano_M
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« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2009, 02:19:17 AM »

Dadre,

There's a really good method for all this with a tutorial at http://macgurus.com. I won't go into it here, but their approach offers a very tidy and efficient way to easily have ready-to-go backups of the OS, Apps and home folder. It's not too hard to implement, especially if you're o.k. with using the Mac's command line. Plus, MacGurus offer super support for any questions that arise.

Dan
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roberte
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2009, 04:13:30 AM »

Bombich just updated Carbon Copy Cloner to v3 and is compatible with Snow Leopard. CCC and SuperDuper! are simple apps for cloning a Mac hard drive.

For anyone cloning Mac drives and use the Filevault feature to encypt their drive be careful! Apps like those mentioned can corrupt your drive if they are run from the same encrypted drive. The easiest solution is to make an User account with admin privileges solely for cloning. Rich Mogull has more info on his Securosis blog:

http://securosis.com/blog/tutorial-how-to-use-mac-filevault-safely

-- Robert.
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