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Lee 07-21-2005 10:36 AM

Partitioning Backup hard drive???
I do not have my G5 yet but expect it in the next three days (he hopes ;) ). As I'm not real computer savvy I'm trying to get everything straight in my head so I'm set to go when it arrives.

My question is this. I have a 250GB main hard drive from Apple and a 320GB second internal hard drive that I will be installing myself as a back up location. With past computers I always make one backup when a new box arrives with the hard drive as it came from the mfg. (brand new with just the back up program installed). This backup is never changed. That way I can restore to a pristine hard drive if absolutely necessary.

After that's done I make a second backup with apps and personal files that I update regularly. After talking w/ Dave I found that I will need to partition my backup HD if I want to put more than one clone on it. That's cool. Only one problem - I don't have a clue how to do that or how big to make the partition(s).

Can someone help me with this? How big do I need to make the first partition that will just hold the Mac hard drive as it came from the factory? Also, how can I find this info myself when the G5 gets here. I don't want to waste HD space on the first clone that will never be changed.

The other question: I was going to leave the rest of the backup HD as the second partition but after reading the on-line SD manual I may need to partition again for "Safety clones." Is this true? One partition for the "regular" bootable clone and one for the Safety clone?

Thanks in advance for your advise and help.


dnanian 07-21-2005 10:53 AM


A few things to note here.

- When you take delivery of your G5, it comes with a DVD that contains everything that your machine ships with. As such, you don't have to back up the as-shipped configuration unless you really want to: it can be restored from the DVD.

- That said, it's impossible for anyone to tell you how big the partition needs to be, because it depends on the size of the files on the drive. So, when you get the machine, do a Cmd-i ("Get Info") on the drive. See how much space is taken up. Add about 20% for "slack space", and that's how big to make the partition.

- If you want to create a Safety Clone, yes, you'll need a partition for that as well. Typically, 8-12GB is plenty large enough.

So, the question is: how?

It's really, really easy. Start Disk Utility, select the drive you're going to partition, and then click the Partition tab. Then, choose the # of partitions you want from the "Volume Scheme" pop-up, and drag the dividers to set the size (or, enter a size).

Pretty easy stuff -- you'll be on your way in no time.

Lee 07-21-2005 11:10 AM

Thanks, Dave.

Per the question on partition size. I guess I wasn't very clear. I was referring to the size of the used space on the Apple HD when it arrives. I would have thought that would be standard with everyones G5 as they would all arrive with the same configuration. That said, I did not know it came with a DVD containing all my HD information so, In that case, I'll 86 the idea of making a clone of the as-shipped configuration. One less thing to do.......... :)

That said, as I have no way of knowing how big my main hard drive is going to get in the future (and most of my work is with Photoshop images which are large) I guess I'll have to get a third external drive. I got a great deal on the internal 320GB drive, that's why I got it. Unfortunately, if I just partition it in half that's only 160GB per partition and will not be big enough to hold the backup.

I guess I'll just use the internal for Safety Clones and the external for regular clones of the whole Apple drive. Is that what'd you'd suggest?


dnanian 07-21-2005 11:30 AM

Every machine has a different bundle on it, Lee. It's impossible to give a size until you see it.

But, once you get it, and Cmd-i/Get Info the drive, it'll show you exactly how much space the default disk takes up, so it's easy from there.

What I'd probably do, in your case, is to create a Safety Clone on the 2nd partition, and leave the rest for storage (if you believe you're really going to fill that puppy up). Then, get an external for the backup, large enough to hold both (or, separate drives, one for each internal). Remember that you don't have to back up a Safety Clone -- your data remains on the original volume.

Lee 07-21-2005 11:59 AM

I never thought about the fact that all machines ship with a different bundle. Duh!!! That REALLY shows how "un-savvy" I am, doesn't it? :D

I just re-read the manual about Smart Clones being just a copy of the system files. That didn't register the first time I read it. Having no idea how much space they would take up, but knowing it would be substantially less than a full HD clone, then maybe for the time being I can just get by with my partitioned 320G internal HD. If things get "crowded" later I can get the external at that time (God, knows I've spent enough already switching from PC's to this Mac). A little savings would be nice. :)

Knowing what I'm doing, is that what you'd suggest, Dave? And if so, what sizes should I make the 320 internal? It will take me a long time to fill up 250GB on the main drive (if ever) so everything is pretty relative at this point.

Again, thanks for not only your advise but patience.


dnanian 07-21-2005 12:14 PM

Well, the size all depends on how much space your data has traditionally taken up, Lee. It's very hard to give advice without that kind of info... but I'll try.

250GB is a lot of space. Your apps and OS aren't going to take up much more than 6GB or so. So, you've got 240GB+ left for your stuff. That's a lot of space.

So, it seems likely that -- given the 320 -- you can set aside 8-12GB for the Safety Clone, 250 (maximum) for the backup, and the remaining 70GB or so for more storage.

There's a nice program out there (that's not yet Tiger compatible) called iPartition that you'll be able to use, in the future, to resize your partitions on the fly, should you find the sizes a poor match to your needs.

Lee 07-21-2005 12:41 PM

I realize you can't give me a definitive answer, Dave. Anything helps for someone who has no idea about these kinds of things. I will use your suggestion and look into iPartition when it's Tiger ready.

Again, thank you so much for your patience. I hope anyone on the fence about purchasing your product will see the level of customer support you get from your company. I certainly will recommend SuperDuper to everyone who will listen and am looking forward to v.2

Again, thanks.


dnanian 07-21-2005 01:24 PM

It's my pleasure, Lee. Stop by when everything arrives and let me know how things work out.

sjk 07-25-2005 01:36 AM


Originally Posted by dnanian
Your apps and OS aren't going to take up much more than 6GB or so.

6GB seems low to me if you're including third party apps. And I think you'd want to add another GB or so for extra swap files. The boot volume (which excludes /Users) on my iMac G5 is already using about 12GB and that's without many of the third party apps that I installed on my eMac. With Developer Tools installed here are sizes of the largest folders:

% cd /; sudo du -chks Applications Developer Library System private usr
4.2G    Applications
1015M  Developer
3.6G    Library
1.5G    System
280M    private
863M    usr
 11G    total

Even without DevTools that would easily exceed 6GB. Sorry if I've misunderstood your reason for choosing that amount, Dave.

dnanian 07-25-2005 09:12 AM

That was based on a relatively normal set of basic apps. It has to be adjusted for each case, definitely.

Lee 07-26-2005 09:30 AM

My understand of iPartition is that you can adjust on the fly while leaving your information right on the disk. I emailed them after my talk with Dave on this forum and they are even coming out with an update shortly. It sounded even better than the original prgm.

dnanian 07-26-2005 09:41 AM

That's exactly right, Lee. iPartition can repartition on the fly. It's very useful!

rmcellig 11-30-2005 08:23 AM

I have used ipartition extensively to create my backup partitions. It is excellent. In fact, I was trying to create a new partition, and when I went to actually commit to the partition (actually creating the partition), i kept getting errors. After running disk first aid on the drive, I found out that there was a volume header error. Disk first Aid fixed it and all was well after that. Point is that iPartition will not work properly unless the drive in question is working properly. This is a good thing.

dnanian 11-30-2005 10:32 AM

No question about that!

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