View Full Version : coping with non-bootable drive

06-29-2008, 12:33 PM
I have an OWC mercury external drive I had used for some time to backup using SuperDuper. I never once needed to do a restore.
I recently purchased a Western Digital myBook drive and started using it for backups.
Today I discovered I did in fact need to restore my computer, which is the point at which I also discovered the computer won't boot from the WD drive. Nuts.

So, my situation is this:
I have an out of date backup on a drive I can boot from.
I have a current backup on a drive I can't boot from.

My question is this:
If I copy the files from the latest backup on the WD drive to the OWC drive, will anything get lost (meaning any crucial invisible files) in that copying process? My thinking is that if I can do this then I can boot from and perform a restore using the current data. But I don't want to make the situation worse if a straight copy from one volume to another will omit some vital data.

The computer in question is a PowerBook G4 (powerpc) running OS 10.4.11

Thanks for ANY advice, from a slightly anxious

06-29-2008, 12:39 PM
It's too bad you bought a MyBook drive, Steve (and that they're so ubiquitous)... but, you can restore with a non-bootable drive. See "Recovering from a disaster" in the User's Guide.

06-29-2008, 01:05 PM
Dave - thanks for that fast reply!
I'm at this point a little leery of booting from the install disks (they're what messed me up in the first place - all I wanted to do was install X11 and instead I got a new system with my "previous system" tucked away and I don't know how to reverse that).

If I were to start up from the OWC backup and launch Disk Utility from that environment would that accomplish the same thing?

Much gratitude,


06-29-2008, 01:18 PM
If you don't pick the intaller, Steve, and just do what's specified there, you're not going to do much other than run Disk Utility. But, if you wish, running from the other backup should work, too.

06-29-2008, 01:24 PM
Thanks again. One final (I hope) question.

In the documentation (which I apologize for not having read first, otherwise I would have gotten the reassuring "Don't Panic" council) the screenshot shows an unchecked "erase destination" checkbox. Is that how I should leave it (unchecked)? Presumably the restore operation completely replaces what exists on the Destination volume with what's on the Source volume?

I truly appreciate your patience.


06-29-2008, 01:26 PM
If you're restoring to a drive that has data on it, erasing it is a good idea.

06-29-2008, 03:41 PM
All appears to be back in place.

Now I guess I'll download X11 since I can't seem to figure out how to install it from the DVD w/o also doing system stuff. Oh well.

Nuts about Western Digital. Their drives seem always to be highly regarded. It's faster than the OWC I got too. So - backups are faster but restores are slower! I guess it all averages out.

Thanks SO much for your patience and help.


06-29-2008, 03:51 PM
Glad you're all set, Steve: now you know one of the reasons we don't recommend the MyBook drives...

06-29-2008, 04:24 PM
I know you can't specifically NOT recommend a product. When I bought the OWC drive it was because SPS specifically endorsed that line. When I bought the current drive it was because of good things I had read about Western Digital in general and I didn't find anything indicating they would NOT boot.
I still like the drive!
And for the X11 install - I'm not a Mac newbie but I got tricked by the software install screen placing what I needed "below the fold" of the startup screen. Good grief. The better part of a day spent doing what should have been 15 minutes. Wiser for it though so guess that's time well spent in the long run.