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Matt 02-21-2005 06:27 PM

Backup Strategy for new Mac Mini User

As I am now into my 3rd day as a mac owner...I have been looking for a backup strategy/software as my mini is to be the hub of my photo/mp3 libraries.

I have the mini with the 80 gb harddisk..which currently has about 20GB of mp3s on it. So i had a couple of questions about SD which I hope you can help with.

So my initial plan is to buy a external firewire drive.. probably a 160gb. Partition the drive into 2 sections, one 80GB one for complete backups and another for the sandbox.

So eventually after following the manual I should be booting from the sandbox on the external drive and sharing various items on the host drive. How can I find out which areas are shared and which are not ? I presume directories like music/photos/movies are left as shared?

For applications are all non apple apps then just shortcuts back to the main drive ? If you drag a shortcut to the trashcan on the sandbox..are you just deleting the shortcut or wil it try to uninstall the app ?

When running aliased apps are they using the system area of the sandbox or the main drive.. I am a bit confused as to the domain of the shared apps when they run. Are areas like the library considered shared or copied.

Also if I create new directories like magazines within my home area are they picked up as shared data or would I have to customize the scripts to include exclude those ?

Hope that ramble makes sense.. my last question was whether there would be any issue with using 2 firewire drives and for example "SoftRAID" to set a mirror which I could then partition and use superduper for a backup and sandbox, thereby doubling my redundancy?

Looking forward to trying this out :)



dnanian 02-21-2005 06:38 PM

Hi, Matt -- welcome to the Macintosh! Here's hoping you love it.

A few things: first, the Safety Clone need not be as large as the main drive. 8-12GB or so should do it, because the vast majority of the data remains on your original drive, and is shared. To answer the questions about that sharing...

- All items under /Users are shared, so that includes Movies, Photos and the like. Any folders you create in here while on the Safety Clone are being created in the original location, so they'll be there when you boot back.

- Non-Apple apps are just shortcuts back to the original... shared. If you delete the shortcut, you're only doing that, nothing else. Any applications you install while on the Safety Clone will be isolated to that clone, if installed in the non-User area (i.e. in the normal locations).

- When running applications, they're using the system on the Safety Clone, even if they're shared.

- /Library is considered copied (although the iSync data in there is shared). We'll be making a change in the future to also share the OpenBase folder there, which -- surprisingly -- is where OpenBase stores its data.

- If you create new directories, as explained above, they're picked up, because they're really being created on the original drive.

I don't think there are any issues with using SoftRAID, as long as SoftRAID now supports booting, as I believe it does.

Hope that helps!

Matt 02-21-2005 06:45 PM


Wow that was quick.. :)

So for a app which you dragndrop.. if I dropped it into a user directory i.e not applications I would be installing it on the main drive just like a directory I had created ?

I presume for a dnd app then normally they do not create any external files ? Or if they did the files would be kept on the sandbox.. even though the exe is on the main drive....(hopefully I have got this right.. :) )



dnanian 02-21-2005 07:21 PM

Yes, if you dropped it in Users it would be on the main drive *except* if it auto-installed things into the "system space".

It's hard to know if an application creates external files, of course. But if those files went into the system space the boot drive is the Sandbox, and they'd go there.

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