View Full Version : Not Sure How SuperDuper Fits into This Situation

11-16-2009, 01:42 AM

I've been backing up with SuperDuper once a week for several years now. But I haven't really needed a backup until now, and I'm not sure how to use it.

Long story short, my macbook (snow leopard) froze, I restarted it, and now it won't go past the gray screen (it just spins and spins). I've been going by this support page:


I've done safe mode, reset PRAM, and used disk utility which found nothing. I'm now at Archive and Install, or Erase and Install.

I realize that SuperDuper isn't responsible for mac support and I won't hold you responsible if my macbook blows up, but I was curious if I should go with Erase and Install over Archive and Install since I have a complete copy of my hard drive on an exterior drive thanks to SuperDuper.

And if the answer is Erase and Install, how exactly do I do that? Do I install a fresh OS using Snow Leopard, and then use SuperDuper? Or can I just use the SuperDuper copy and get it on my macbook somehow. Since I've never used a SuperDuper backup, I have no idea how to use it.

Again, I'm sorry I'm so confused, but any help or pointing in the right direction would be very appreciated.

11-16-2009, 08:10 AM
Have you started up from the backup to see if it works? (Hold down Option at power on and select the backup drive.) Or, have you tried simply reinstalling Snow Leopard (you'd simply reinstall, and it should retain your applications and data), given that this sounds like an OS problem?

When you say you've "done safe mode", does that mean you were able to start up in Safe mode?

11-16-2009, 05:13 PM
I have booted up from my superduper backup, and it worked fine. No problem.

I have tried safe mode (I'm just going down the list apple provides for trouble shooting) and it didn't work. It would get to a point and then just stop and return to the spinning circle.

Reading safe mode it said that there was O/I sector failure. I have no idea what that means, but I just was reading your twitter and you made a comment about buying a new hard drive (I believe that was your comment).

So which way should I go? Try and just reinstall OSX (haven't done this), archive and install, or erase and install and where does superduper fit into the whole scheme?

Or am I wasting my time and should buy a new hard drive?

Thanks for your help!

11-16-2009, 07:49 PM
Hard drive I/O errors can be a symptom of an impending serious failure. Console log messages will look similar to this:

Jun 11 20:23:13 isunk kernel[0]: disk0s3: I/O error.

Sometimes they're recoverable errors, but if/when they become irrecoverable heavily increases the risk of data loss.

You could use a third party app Intech's SpeedTools Media Scanner (http://www.SpeedTools.com/MediaScan.html) to scan for and repair any bad blocks (sectors) on your drive, but the cost of a replacement drive is probably less than SpeedTools Utilities would be. I've gotten the OEM version of it when purchasing drives from Other World Computing (http://www.otherworldcomputing.com/) and have used it to find/fix a few bad blocks on a drive that mostly archives EyeTV recordings and other non-critical data I could afford to lose. When my budget permits I intend to replace that drive, hopefully before a catastrophic failure.

But in your case if you're seeing disk I/O errors, along with the other symptoms of flakiness, then I'd recommend replacing the drive as soon as possible. That's preferably for the long-term; repairing bad blocks is typically a short-term workaround.

11-16-2009, 08:39 PM
Thanks SJK. I'm looking into hard drives now.

However, I'd love to at least try and see if reinstalling the OS, since I have the dvd.

So I have the dvd, and I have my backup. Can anyone tell me what the best way to proceed? I've been backing up for several year and now have no idea how to use it.

11-16-2009, 09:14 PM
The best thing to do, really, is to replace the drive, Courtney. Given that you're getting I/O errors, it's just unwise to continue with the existing drive.

11-16-2009, 09:33 PM

11-22-2009, 05:46 PM
The best thing to do, really, is to replace the drive, Courtney. Given that you're getting I/O errors, it's just unwise to continue with the existing drive.

Okay guys. I did as instructed and bought a new HD, installed it, and filled it with the backup from SuperDuper. Thank you SuperDuper!

Everything seems to be fine, except quick look no longer works. If I quick look a picture I get the HUD that shows the size of the picture, but that's it. If it's a movie I quick look I can hear the movie but it once again only shows the HUD.

I did notice while I was using the backup (before I bought a new HD) that it had the same problem; quick look not working.

I have no idea why this would happen. I've been using smart backup for a couple of years now, and quick look has always worked on the OS I was backing up.

I thought it might work itself out through restarting, repairing permissions, time, but it hasn't.

Any ideas?

Thanks again!

11-22-2009, 08:30 PM
Please reinstall the latest combo update for Snow Leopard and see if that helps.

11-23-2009, 07:08 PM
New HD crashed today and my macbook won't boot up. It's even worse than before, just turns itself off.

Disk utility won't even try to fix it, says it has a invalid node structure. I guess it could be a bad HD but with two in row I think it's time for a new mac. The fans only work sporadically, so that could be part of the problem.

Thanks for trying to help guys.

11-23-2009, 09:36 PM
Ugh, sorry to hear that, Courtney. Bad luck...