View Full Version : How do I actually make use of a back up of only user files?

12-30-2009, 11:28 AM

Using SD I made a backup of my user files (using the standard SD script called "Backup - user files") into an image file (on a network drive).
I had an idea that it might be a good idea to have a backup the day I make a mess out of my current user account - or if I'd at some point like to move the account to another boot partition or another computer.

Then I wanted to check that I actually can use the backup I just made.

I never came to think of a straightforward way to do this with SD, so my first idea was to use Migration Assistant.

I might be wrong (and I hope I am!), but it seems that Migration Assistant can only see data that is on a volume with Mac OS X installed - and where the data is an integrated part of that installation. So no luck.

How is it, can SD restore these files intelligently back to the original drive?
Or can SD transfer them to another Mac OS X installation (preferably the same version of Mac OS X as the original drive)?

If this is possible, which steps should I take to accomplish these tasks?

On the other hand, if SD can't do this either, surely there has to be another way than try to copy them in the Finder??


12-30-2009, 01:10 PM
You can sort of integrate them by deleting an existing user folder and then using "Copy Different" or "Copy Newer" to integrate them into an existing install, but the typical case would be to copy what you need back with Finder.

Generally, you should use "Backup - all files". A secondary backup - user files can be useful, but recovery is more difficult as you've seen.

12-31-2009, 04:31 AM
OK, thanks. That's really a shame.

BTW, is there any _technical_ reason why SD couldn't be able to accomplish this?

The only "sort of half way solution" I can think of at the moment is to:

- have an OS X installation on a USB memory stick
- use Migration Assistant to copy my user account to the USB stick
- use Migration Assistant to "restore" my account to the original computer if needed, or to move it to another computer.

And that brings us to a new problem:

Does someone know a magic trick to make a USB stick bootable under Snow Leopard?

I've had OS X installations as well as bootable clones of Mac OS X Installation DVDs on USB sticks many times, but I have never succeeded in having a 10.6 installation on a stick and actually boot from it.

I think it all comes down to the fact that using 10.6 I've never succeeded in enabeling owners on the stick:

Making a clone of the Mac OS X Install DVD onto an USB stick with SD does not end up with a USB stick with owners enabled. (Check with Disk Utility.)

Why is that?

And removing the tag for "Ignore ownership on this volume" in the Get Info window for the USB stick does not do the trick either.

So, does anybody know how to enable owners on a USB stick (via the terminal, or any other way) in Snow Leopard?

- - -

This used to work in earlier versions of Mac OS X, but not in 10.6:

"Open up Terminal.app, and enter the following command:

sudo /usr/sbin/vsdbutil -a /Volumes/iTote

Be sure to change the name of the volume (iTote) to correspond to the name you gave your flash drive when you formatted it."


- - -

Or is it just the sticks that I've tried that don't support booting under 10.6?

Any succes stories?


PS. It's not my intention to use this forum for off topic discussions - I feel this topic IS very much related to SD!

12-31-2009, 09:00 AM
There's no particular technical reason why SD! couldn't copy an isolated User folder backup into another separate install (save for the obvious potential problems with unmatched UIDs, ACLs and the like), other than it adds complexity and a whole raft of confusion.

I've successfully done an OSX install to a thumb drive under 10.6... while that's different than copying the DVD, it's also more useful in most cases.

01-02-2010, 05:41 AM
OK, thanks again.

How does Migration Assistant handle UIDs and ACLs etc?


01-02-2010, 10:16 AM
It's supposed to do the right thing (although you need to ensure you're doing the migration at first boot, otherwise you may end up with a different UID, which is bad).

01-02-2010, 10:21 AM
Ouch! I didn't know that!

02-14-2010, 11:00 AM
I'm still stuck with this:

How do you enable owners on a USB stick with Terminal or otherwise in Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later?

(See above for details as needed.)



02-14-2010, 11:25 AM
Partition and format properly with Disk Utility (GUID/Mac OS Extended (Journaled)). Owners should be on at that point, if not use Get Info to turn them on (I didn't need to).

02-14-2010, 02:59 PM
Yeah, as I wrote earlier, I tried all that without any luck, check post #3.

In 10.5 you could also use this termional script:
sudo /usr/sbin/vsdbutil -a /Volumes/VolumeName

But as reported it doesn't work in 10.6, because of changes made to all sort of things, I'm told.

Any other suggestions?


02-14-2010, 07:57 PM
No suggestions, no. I swear I've done this myself without any problems, so I'm not sure why it's not working for you - a USB stick shouldn't be any different than, say, a USB drive.

02-15-2010, 01:08 AM
OK, thanks anyway.

But there has to be a way to "force" enable owners in 10.6 (other than in Get Info), like in 10.4 & 10.5 via the Terminal, don't you think?
Doesn't aybody know?

Or could it be that the culprit is the USB stick itself?
I've tried all 4GB (or greater) sticks I have, also the one I've ben using succesfully with 10.5.
But no luck in 10.6.
Something in my sticks that prevent them from working as a boot volume?


02-15-2010, 10:35 AM
I really don't know... perhaps Apple is trying to prevent Hackintosh install by doing this?

02-15-2010, 02:42 PM
But you suceeded in doing it.
What brand, model, size of stick did you use?


02-15-2010, 03:02 PM
As I recall it was a Sandisk 16GB cruzer.

02-15-2010, 03:20 PM
OK, thanks.
I haven't tried that. But I will.