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View Full Version : Sandbox Advantages vs Full Backup?


nkhester
05-11-2008, 08:50 AM
I have been maintaining both a Full Backup and a Sandbox. I keep asking myself, however, is there really any advantage to my maintaining the Sandbox other than its occupying less space on the external drive?

Is there any backup activity that can be addressed by the Sandbox that cannot more readily be fulfilled by the Full Backup?

If space on the external drive is not a problem, wouldn't it be far better just to maintain two Full Backups of differing dates?

dnanian
05-11-2008, 09:40 AM
The point of the Sandbox is that if you install a system update, driver or application that causes your system to become unbootable, you can simply boot back to the original drive and everything's works -- and, in addition, any work you've been doing is all up to date as well.

With a backup, your work is going to be restored along with the backup... which means you'll lose what you've done between the backup and "now".

bolobar
05-11-2008, 03:07 PM
Possible dumb question:
Wouldn't Time Machine do the same as a sandbox on a partitioned drive with SD!?

nkhester
05-11-2008, 03:30 PM
The point of the Sandbox is that if you install a system update, driver or application that causes your system to become unbootable, you can simply boot back to the original drive and everything's works -- and, in addition, any work you've been doing is all up to date as well.

With a backup, your work is going to be restored along with the backup... which means you'll lose what you've done between the backup and "now".

I require you to "hold my hand" just a bit longer...

Do I understand correctly that the singular utility of the Sandbox is that it remains a safe "testing laboratory" for questionable software? If the new software appears to be safe when installed on the Sandbox, one can then feel confident in installing the same software on the main drive. However, it would appear that utilizing "Smart Update" from the Sandbox to install the new software (after having been proven to be trouble free) on the main drive would be advisable only if the Sandbox itself had undergone a "Smart Update" immediately prior to its being used as a "testing laboratory."

But... it would appear that this "advantage" of the Sandbox is also available if one were to utilize a Full Backup in the same manner. I see no reason why this shouldn't be possible.

If this is true... does the Sandbox (other than for its smaller volume) represent any true advantage over a Full Backup?

Let me ask this a bit differently: Is there any service that can be provided by the Sandbox, and not also by a Full Update?

dnanian
05-11-2008, 06:45 PM
Definitely not. Time Machine can't really be used to roll back an OS version without restoring the rest of the drive.

dnanian
05-11-2008, 06:46 PM
No, that's not the case. To evaluate 'questionable software' or even a software update, it might require you to run from that for a week, perhaps more. Which means you'll have a week's work that you've done to your files.

If you then restore a week-ago's backup, you'll have lost the work you've done.

nkhester
05-11-2008, 09:58 PM
No, that's not the case. To evaluate 'questionable software' or even a software update, it might require you to run from that for a week, perhaps more. Which means you'll have a week's work that you've done to your files.

If you then restore a week-ago's backup, you'll have lost the work you've done.

Hi Dave,

You may be able to appreciate the quandary your response instills... It appears that I'm not fully cognizant of the operational relationship between Macintosh HD and Sandbox!

During the week (or longer) while I'm booting from the Sandbox, is any new e-mail (just as an example) that is exchanged during this period going to be accessible from both Macintosh HD and the Sandbox?

Your response above seems to suggest that as long as one boots from the Sandbox, all significant internet transactions will be saved on Macintosh HD, but accessible from the Sandbox. If the answer is "yes" (and I truly do not know), should I understand that this would not be the case if the Full Backup had been utilized for the experiment?

dnanian
05-12-2008, 11:48 AM
Yes, your email is stored in your Home folder, which is shared. And, yes: if you had used a full backup, the email would be on the backup, not on the original. (Or, if you're running from the original, the backup wouldn't have your latest material on it.)

nkhester
05-12-2008, 02:48 PM
Yes, your email is stored in your Home folder, which is shared. And, yes: if you had used a full backup, the email would be on the backup, not on the original. (Or, if you're running from the original, the backup wouldn't have your latest material on it.)

Dave:

OK! And thanks for clarifying this issue for me. I now appreciate the advantages offered by the Sandbox over a Full Update (and I also see why it is important to maintain both).

Just one more question, then:

It would seem to follow that a corollary to the way the Sandbox behaves is that there is absolutely no advantage to making any Smart Updates to the Sandbox if there have been no intervening application downloads/updates to Macintosh HD. If this is correct, I think I've finally succeeded in grasping the logic behind the Sandbox.

dnanian
05-12-2008, 03:47 PM
In *general*, that's right. But updating it won't hurt anything, because if there's nothing to do, it won't do anything.

postjosh
05-31-2008, 08:47 PM
dave -

this post has been very helpful to me. since i don't have a background as a system administrator, i was confused by the concept of a sandbox. i think many superduper users are similarly confused. the super duper manual explains how to make a sandbox but it doesn't devote enough space to the explanation of how specifically it is used in a backup strategy. you may want to go into more detail in any future updates to the manual. i plan on updating my backup strategy to include a sandbox soon. thanks once again for your great product and fantastic customer support.

- josh

p.s. a couple of thing that might be of interest to other users:

1) i don't intend to use time machine in my backup strategy. i just don't see how the rare occasion that i would use it justifies the hard drive space or the waste of cpu power necessary to maintain it.

2) in fact, i don't plan on updating to leopard on my dual core g5 at all. the advatages of leopard over tiger are inho outweighed by tiger's ability to run classic. i do like leopard on intel based machines but i've been pleasantly surprised at hell well my g5 continues to work.

dnanian
05-31-2008, 11:09 PM
Thanks for the feedback, josh!