View Full Version : Booting off sparse images?

02-05-2009, 09:19 AM
In recent years as my computer skills sharpen I become a bit more into securing my computer. I've created a firmware password for my MacBook and currently use SuperDuper! to back up my system to a password-protected sparse image on an external hard drive. My question is, should my main hard drive fail, how can I boot off my backup? The sparse image needs to be mounted, right? So that would mean I need to already be running an instance of Mac OS X, which I wouldn't be able to do.

In that case, is it feasible to install a copy of Leopard on an external drive, create a password-protected sparse image backup on the same drive so that I can boot off the "clean" installation and then compare the problematic main hard drive with the backup?

All that being asked, I'm also considering enabling FileVault for added security but before I even think about that I want to be sure that I understand every aspect of backing up to and restoring from password-protected sparse images. Thanks!

02-05-2009, 10:13 AM
You cannot boot off an image, password protected or not: it must be restored to be started from (see the User's Guide).

You could, of course, install Leopard on an external drive and create a protected image there as well. It would likely be faster to restore from a 'real' Leopard install than from the CD/DVD.

FileVault has additional issues: since your user files are stored in a big encrypted image, it's not easy to access the files unless you start up from the backup, and since you'd have an image backup, you'd be doubly encrypted.