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ctucker10
10-18-2008, 08:48 AM
I don't have a new MacBook yet. I'm just wondering how SuperDuper will work with USB2.0 instead of FireWire400.

Currently I use SD and TimeMachine to backup a 12" Powerbook G4 to two seperate external FireWire drives. TimeMachine everyday, SuperDuper once a week. I'm considering buying a new 13" MacBook. The new MacBooks do not have a FireWire port.

Will SuperDuper work reliably via USB2.0 for my weekly Smart Backups?

dnanian
10-18-2008, 08:56 AM
Yes. SuperDuper! works fine with USB drives, properly partitioned. The issue is with USB and Power PC-based Macs, which don't support startup from USB.

Intel Macs work fine with USB drives (even though FireWire is better).

brich
10-18-2008, 10:51 AM
Yes. SuperDuper! works fine with USB drives, properly partitioned. The issue is with USB and Power PC-based Macs, which don't support startup from USB.

Intel Macs work fine with USB drives (even though FireWire is better).

Dave, for clarity's sake, if I have an Intel Mac and a choice of cloning via FireWire or USB, what specifically would make FW the better choice? (I'm still in the PPC environment with a 12" PB, and SuperDuper works perfectly with FW). But, my concerns in moving to the Intel side are comparative speed for incremental backups and reliability. Is the USB alternative just as reliable but slower? Can you elaborate?

dnanian
10-18-2008, 12:01 PM
Specifically, FW maintains speed bidirectionally, and doesn't 'step down' its performance to very low levels when slower devices are connected (because each drive is at least FW400). Bidirectional transfers (read and write) can occur simultaneously, too, at full speed.

On top of that, each FW device is 'smart', and transfers between devices are handled by the device, without mediation by the host.

FW 'power' is more reliable and higher, so bus powered devices tend to operate better.

Because there are 'more' devices with USB connections, there are more opportunties for bus disruption, slowdowns and failures.

Finally, a FW port is a FW port. On laptops and the like, some of the USB ports are 'high power', some are not, and users can get confused. (Yes, there's FW800 and FW400, but they're explicity different ports, even though you can use an adapter.)

No doubt there are many other reasons, but those are some off the top of my head.

brich
10-18-2008, 01:03 PM
Thanks for that information. If I interpret the gist of it accurately, the USB2 port on a new MacBook will work ok with a USB2 external drive (I use bus-powered external for my lappies), but FW would still be a superior connection choice for bootable cloning. Dave, if you were considering a new MacBook, would the lack of FW be a major consideration or even a showstopper based on your experience?

dnanian
10-18-2008, 01:31 PM
It's something I care about, yes. But if FireWire vanished from the world tomorrow we'd all have to deal with USB, and I'm sure we all could.

ctucker10
10-18-2008, 02:27 PM
Dave -

My current Powerbook is PowerPC-based. How do I determine if it supports startup from USB?

dnanian
10-18-2008, 03:09 PM
Please re-read what I said above...

binotto
10-19-2008, 07:14 AM
Right now, I backup between documents partitions on an iMac and a MacBook using Target Mode, instead of using an external harddisk. This way all my Macs have identical documents.

Does the lack of FireWire on the new MacBook mean the end of this workflow? (I'm guessing that there isn't any Target Mode on the new MacBook.)

Do you know if there is Target Mode on the new MacBook Pro? Are there any problems backing up using a FW400 to FW800 converter (no more FW400 on any of the new Macs)?

Many thanks,
Brett

dnanian
10-19-2008, 09:53 AM
The USB only MacBooks will not be able to do this, correct. You'll have to use other techniques (for example, use SugarSync or DropBox to syncronize the two folders).

The new MacBook Pro retains FireWire Target Disk Mode, and there's no problem (I've found) with 800->400 cables or adapters.

mkraft
12-04-2008, 01:35 AM
Yes. SuperDuper! works fine with USB drives, properly partitioned.

I don't recall seeing (in the SD user guide) any requirement that USB drives be partitioned to use SuperDuper!

I thought that was only an issue if the user wants the backup to share the drive with other files (?)

What does "properly partitioned" mean exactly?

Thanks.

chris_johnsen
12-04-2008, 04:11 AM
I don't recall seeing (in the SD user guide) any requirement that USB drives be partitioned to use SuperDuper!

I thought that was only an issue if the user wants the backup to share the drive with other files (?)

What does "properly partitioned" mean exactly?

Thanks.

All disks should be partitioned, this is not a requirement from SD!, it is just the way disks are generally managed on all operating systems these days. Completely unpartitioned disks are usually supported, but such usage is very rare for data disks and extremely rare for startup disks. Being partitioned does not imply that there must be more than one volume created from a single physical disk. A disk can be 'partitioned' into one volume (even though the normal English meaning of to partition is “to divide into multiple parts”). Usually a new Mac will come with its drive partitioned under the GPT (GUID Partition Table) scheme into a single volume that spans (nearly) the entire disk.

Partitioning a disk into multiple volumes is one way to store both a system backup and other files (or more than one backup, etc.) on the same drive. Another way is to make backups to disk image files that are stored alongside other files.

By "properly partitioned", I suspect that he means that Intel Macs need GPT to be bootable and PPC Macs need APM (Apple Partition Map) to be bootable.

Many external drives come partitioned in the MBR (Master Boot Record) style with a FAT-variant filesystem because that is a partitioning scheme and filesystem combination that just about every operating system understands (Windows, Macs, other UNIX and UNIX-like systems, etc.). Just because an OS can read a volume does not mean that the underling hardware+firmware can boot from the volume.

I suspect that SD! will backup to/from any volume that is formatted as HFS+ (even one on an MBR partitioned disk). But the target volume will likely only be bootable if the disk is partitioned with the scheme that the hardware requires (this is because the BIOS/OpenFirmware/EFI usually only looks in one partition-scheme-dependent place for booting information).

mkraft
12-04-2008, 12:57 PM
I suspect that SD! will backup to/from any volume that is formatted as HFS+ (even one on an MBR partitioned disk).
Thanks. I wasn't aware of that usage of the term 'partition.' So, if I understand your reply, one only has to use an HFS+ drive, or reformat a drive that isn't HFS+-formatted, and all should be well for any SD backups (including their being bootable) - ?

dnanian
12-04-2008, 01:40 PM
No. You need to partition the drive properly for your CPU type (even as a single volume/partition).

chris_johnsen
12-04-2008, 03:19 PM
So, if I understand your reply, one only has to use an HFS+ drive, or reformat a drive that isn't HFS+-formatted, and all should be well for any SD backups (including their being bootable) - ?

Partitioning and formatting are independent. The partitioning scheme specifies how the disk is divided into one or more volumes. The format of a volume (each volume can be formatted in a different way) specifies how the files of a volume are stored in the space reserved for the volume by the partitioning scheme.

Disk
Partition Scheme
Partition 1
Volume
Partition 2
Volume

Disk:Partition Scheme ratio is always 1:1.
Partition Scheme:Partition ratio is 1:(1 or more).
Partition:Volume ratio is always 1:1.

For bootable SD! backups, you should use the proper partition scheme for your hardware (GPT for Intel, APM for PPC). And since SD! only works with HFS+ volumes, that is the format (filesystem) you will need to use. Both the partitioning scheme and the format need to be correct for a bootable backup.

RonaldPR
12-04-2008, 05:16 PM
Time and again confusion about the partition schemes.

To be bootable, the disk needs to be partitioned with the right partition scheme for the platform/cpu, even if there is only one single partition.

When you check the drive in Disk Utility, information about the partition map scheme is given at the bottom of the Disk Utility window.

If you choose to partition in Disk Utility, you will get the option (click "Option" button) to choose between three partition schemes:

GUID Partition Table
To use the disk to startup Intel Macs

Apple Partition Map
To use the disk to startup PPC Macs

Master Boot record
To use the disk to startup DOS and Windows computers

ntarantino
12-05-2008, 07:11 PM
I need help. I have successfully cloned my HD on the old macbook and have been booting from it for the past two weeks.

today I went and bought the new unibody macbook and I can't get the clone to boot at all. The macbook reboots but will only boot from the hd in the computer not the external.

I was going to be cloning the external to the new macbook but I can't figure out what is going wrong.

Can you let me know what I am doing wrong???

dnanian
12-05-2008, 07:23 PM
You can't boot a new Macbook from an older Macbook's image: the OS is not compatible.

mkraft
12-06-2008, 02:47 AM
For bootable SD! backups, you should use the proper partition scheme for your hardware (GPT for Intel, APM for PPC). And since SD! only works with HFS+ volumes, that is the format (filesystem) you will need to use. Both the partitioning scheme and the format need to be correct for a bootable backup.

OK, thanks again, I think I'm getting there. However, can you clarify why you refer to GPT (partition scheme for Intel Macs), whereas the following replier (RonaldPR) said to use GUID for the same?

Just to see if I've got it right now:

I have an unused Maxtor USB HD (OneTouch III Mini Edition -- not Firewire but it should still work) that's pre-formatted for a PC (meaning it's FAT32-formatted, I guess?).

So to use it for backups for my Intel MacBook internal HD, I should run Disk Utility and:

(i) reformat the Maxtor drive as an HFS+ drive, and then
(ii) partition it using GPT (or GUID).

And then I'm good to go (i.e., I can actually do the backup) - ?

mkraft
12-06-2008, 02:52 AM
GUID Partition Table
To use the disk to startup Intel Macs
Thanks a lot. What is GUID a/o/t GPT, tho?

chris_johnsen
12-06-2008, 05:01 AM
However, can you clarify why you refer to GPT (partition scheme for Intel Macs), whereas the following replier (RonaldPR) said to use GUID for the same?
My first message in this thread includes the text "GPT (GUID Partition Table)". I meant this to imply that GPT was an acronym for GUID Partition Table. When referring to partitioning, GUID and GPT mean the same thing.

Just to see if I've got it right now:

I have an unused -- not Firewire but it should still work) that's pre-formatted for a PC (meaning it's FAT32-formatted, I guess?).

So to use [a Maxtor USB OneTouch III Mini Edition] for backups for my Intel MacBook internal HD, I should run Disk Utility and:

(i) reformat the Maxtor drive as an HFS+ drive, and then
(ii) partition it using GPT (or GUID).

Yes, except that formatting before re-partitioning is just extra work. In the 10.4 version of Disk Utility, the operation you need works like this (nothing is changed on the disk until the last step, so feel free to poke around in the UI):


Select the disk in Disk Utility. Disks are not indented, volumes are.
Select the Partition tab. If you do not see "Partitions" but do see "RAID", then you have a volume selected, not the whole disk. Go back to step 1.
Click the Options… button.
Select GUID Partition Table.
Click OK.
Under Volume Scheme, select "1 Partition".
Under Volume Information, give the volume a name, and specify the format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). (HFS+ is "Mac OS Extended")
Click the Partition button.
After reading and understanding the message that says all the data on the drive will be destroyed, click the Partition button in the sheet that dropped down in front of the main window.


These steps will accomplish both the partitioning (GPT, 1 partition) and the formatting (HFS+). If your backup drive is significantly larger than your system drive, you might want to use more than one partition so you can use the extra space for other data (though you will want to back up this other data to some other device if the data is at all important). If you go with more than one partition, be sure to set the sizes appropriately. Make at least one of the partitions the same size as (or preferably a bit larger than) the volume you will be backing up.

mkraft
12-07-2008, 02:40 PM
Select the disk in Disk Utility. Disks are not indented, volumes are.
Select the Partition tab. If you do not see "Partitions" but do see "RAID", then you have a volume selected, not the whole disk. Go back to step 1.
Click the Options… button.
Select GUID Partition Table.
Click OK.
Under Volume Scheme, select "1 Partition".
Under Volume Information, give the volume a name, and specify the format as Mac OS Extended (Journaled). (HFS+ is "Mac OS Extended")
Click the Partition button.
After reading and understanding the message that says all the data on the drive will be destroyed, click the Partition button in the sheet that dropped down in front of the main window.

Great, thanks a lot & sorry I missed that GUID=GPT in your earlier reply.

I have 23-25 GB to back up on a 60 GB HD. If I partition the drive so that only @ 25GB is reserved for the backup, when the contents of the source drive grow so that I need more space to back it up, will it be possible to re-partition the backup drive without losing the existing backup on that drive?

(I know I would have to back up any data in the non-backup partition, since some or all of it would be overwritten by the new backup, but I would like not to lose the existing backup until I'm sure that the new backup has completed without any problems. I also realize I'd have to back up to a different HD once the size of the then-current back up grows to the point that both it and the existing backup will no longer fit on the backup drive.)

Also, do separate backups stored on the same hard drive require separate partitions?

Thanks again.

dnanian
12-07-2008, 02:49 PM
Do not make the partition the same size as the data: that's a huge mistake. Make a 60GB partition. Your data WILL grow: it always does.

You'll need separate partitions for each volume you want to back up.

mkraft
12-07-2008, 02:55 PM
(each volume can be formatted in a different way)
Do you mean that different formatting can co-exist on the same physical HD (i.e., in different partitions)?

mkraft
12-07-2008, 04:13 PM
Do not make the partition the same size as the data: that's a huge mistake. Make a 60GB partition. Your data WILL grow: it always does.

OK thanks. I don't know whether it was clear that I was responding to the following in Chris Johnsen's post:

If your backup drive is significantly larger than your system drive, you might want to use more than one partition so you can use the extra space for other data (though you will want to back up this other data to some other device if the data is at all important). If you go with more than one partition, be sure to set the sizes appropriately. Make at least one of the partitions the same size as (or preferably a bit larger than) the volume you will be backing up.

Kupe
01-24-2009, 12:29 PM
Great discussion guys- I'm learning lots of cool stuff.

Mostly as a matter of curiosity, does SD care whether a given drive is connected via Firewire or USB? For example, my external Maxtor drive has always been connected to my Intel iMac via Firewire. But the Maxtor does have a USB 2.0 port that I'd always simply ignored. If I were to disconnect it from my iMac's firewire port and connect it to a USB port, would SD see the drive same as normal for the purpose of future backups despite the fact that all previous backups had been over firewire?

And for that matter, if I cloned the drive over Firewire but later tried to boot over USB, would that work? (assuming of course GPT partition, which it is.)

I guess my thinking here is that we are probably seeing the end-of-the line for Firewire, at least in future consumer Macs, so I'm trying to get myself (reluctantly) more knowledgable on USB.

Thanks!

Kupe

dnanian
01-24-2009, 09:13 PM
It shouldn't matter at all.

Kupe
01-25-2009, 11:18 AM
It shouldn't matter at all.

Thanks Dave. Yesterday for the first time I connected my Maxtor backup drive to my Intel iMac over USB rather than Firewire. The good news is my Mac booted off the Maxtor over USB with no problems.

The bad news is how slow USB 2.0 is compared to Firewire 400- at least real-world. I transferred the same large file from my Maxtor to my iMac- once while connected by USB and then switched back to Firewire and tried again. I timed them both to the second, and USB 2.0 was almost exactly one-half the speed of Firewire.

I simply can't believe Apple is abandoning Firewire (ala MacBooks) in favor of a technology that isn't even nearly as good. Sigh...

Kupe

dnanian
01-25-2009, 12:19 PM
Yes, that's one of the big problems with USB, and one of the reasons that I don't recommend it. But, it works... and assuming Apple's abandoning it is probably not reasonable. Then again, the market -- which isn't always smart -- has spoken on this particular issue, and what it said was "we only care about how cheap things are".

iyacyas
01-27-2009, 01:45 PM
Do not make the partition the same size as the data: that's a huge mistake. Make a 60GB partition. Your data WILL grow: it always does.

You'll need separate partitions for each volume you want to back up.

That's what I was wondering. Can I use one physical drive with multiple partitions, each formatted appropriately, to perform full bootable backups for more than one computer. To clarify for all... Lets say I purchase a 1TB OWC firewire drive, then partition it with 2 or 3 HFC partitions each partition would be formatted to correspond with the type MAC it will be used for (ie. PPC or intel). Then I could perform full backups of 2 or more computers on that one drive, and still be able to boot any of those computers from the appropriate partition, should one have catastrophic hdd problems?

dnanian
01-27-2009, 03:27 PM
No, because a partition scheme is global to the drive. You can't partition a drive as both GUID and APM.

mkraft
02-23-2009, 01:05 AM
No, because a partition scheme is global to the drive. You can't partition a drive as both GUID and APM.

Earlier in this thread, it was pointed out that 'partitioning' and 'formatting' are independent.

But since the choice of 'partition scheme' is directly linked to which platform the drive will be used on, what advantage does the ability to use different formatting on different partitions actually provide?

Thanks.

chris_johnsen
02-23-2009, 01:48 AM
Earlier in this thread, it was pointed out that 'partitioning' and 'formatting' are independent.

But since the choice of 'partition scheme' is directly linked to which platform the drive will be used on, what advantage does the ability to use different formatting on different partitions actually provide?

Thanks.

The partitioning scheme is really only dictated by a platform if the device needs to be a boot device for that platform. Otherwise pretty much all systems support MBR and many modern systems support GPT.

Say you were interested in using a single drive to provide full-fidelity Windows and Mac storage (not bootable, just "native" storage). You could use MBR (or maybe even GPT, depending on the age of the Macs and PCs with which you would like to use the drive) with one or more HFS+ volumes and one or more NTFS volumes. The data on each volume would not be readily accessible to machines with "the other" OS, but it would provide full-fidelity storage for both OS types on a single drive.

The goal in such a setup is not sharing data between platforms, but that does not mean that it is a useless configuration. Consider a tech support firm that wants its personnel to be able to carry around a single portable disk that holds the company's normal set of tools for working on Macs (HFS+), PCs (NTFS and FAT32), and Linux systems (ext3).