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sgmorr 03-11-2010 05:42 PM

Problem Booting From a Clone on a Firewire HD
This is a bit of a complicated question. I use SuperDuper to make and maintain a bootable clone of my iMac's HD on my OWC Mercury Elite 1 TB peripheral HD connected with FW 800. Works fine. After updating my clone weekly (I also use Time Machine daily just to be clear about my backing up!), I usually do a test boot from my clone by selecting "restart" and then holding "option" at the gong until I get to the screen that gives my a choice between Mac HD and Clone. So far, so good. Works every time.

Today, I got the idea to try booting from Clone starting with my iMac being shut down. My OWC was powered on of course. So I powered my iMac on with the power button, then held "option" at the gong and it took several minutes for start up to occur. I never did get the screen giving me the choice of Mac HD or Clone, but finally arrived at my Desktop (several minutes longer than a usual start up).

Curiously, I went to the Apple menu and chose "about this Mac" and the little screen showed Mac OS X, the processor, the memory, but it DID NOT show the startup disk as it usually does. Usually, of course, it will show startup disk as "Mac HD" and if I'm booted from my clone, it will show startup disk as "Clone."

I thought this was curious so I just did a standard restart again (without holding "option") and all I ever got was a solid gray screen after five minutes. I was a bit shaken but I finally decided to depress the power button and the iMac shutdown. I disconnected my FW drive for good measure and powered my iMac back up and it started normally. I verified my internal HD with Disk Utility and it was fine. I reconnected my FW drive, it mounted normally on my Desktop and I successfully booted from it by restarting and holding the "option" key.

Question: did I not follow correct procedure in attempting to startup from my FW clone when my iMac was powered off initially? Should this be possible? After all, you would want to be able to do this if your internal HD had failed, correct?

Seems like I was able to do this with my old G4 iMac, Tiger, and a peripheral clone just fine.

dnanian 03-11-2010 05:48 PM

I have no idea what happened here. It sounds, to me, like it started up from some other drive that was running a version of OSX earlier than 10.4.6 (which, as I recall, is when the startup disk started being listed in the "About This Mac" panel).

Why it didn't even give you a menu when you held down "Option", though, I can't say. That's a ROM/Firmware feature, and it certainly should have!

sgmorr 03-11-2010 05:53 PM

Thanks Dave, but there's no other drive in my iMac or connected to my iMac except the internal HD with Snow Leopard and the OWC Mercury Elite drive with a Super Duper clone of my internal connected with Firewire 800.

I guess I should give it another try. If I start with my iMac shutdown and with my peripheral drive powered up, and then power up my iMac and hold down the option key just as I hear the gong it theoretically should work, right? In this scenario, when should I release the option key?

Thanks Dave.

dnanian 03-11-2010 05:54 PM

I can't think of any reason why the "Startup Disk" would be suppressed unless, perhaps, OSX doesn't put it there when there's only a single drive attached. That hasn't been my experience, though.

You should hold down Option from power on all the way until you get the menu, in general.

sgmorr 03-11-2010 06:55 PM

Could it have anything to do with using the Apple wireless keyboard and wireless Magic Mouse?

dnanian 03-11-2010 07:36 PM

If this is a relatively early Mac, yes.

sgmorr 03-11-2010 09:55 PM

No Dave, it is a current 21.5 inch Intel inside iMac running Snow Leopard. Do you think it would hurt anything to try a "cold boot" again with option key down and see what happens? I guess I could also pull out an old USB keyboard and see what happens with that.

After all, this would only be a problem in an emergency type situation when something has gone wrong with my internal HD and I needed to "cold boot" the iMac using my clone. But I'm curious now to know what my problem is, if any.


dnanian 03-11-2010 10:03 PM

A wireless keyboard should be fine with a recent Mac. I don't know what went wrong here, as I said - doesn't make much sense... you should always get a menu!

sgmorr 03-11-2010 11:11 PM

Thanks Dave. I did some research on Apple's support site and I found a support artcle about Startup Manager and it says to hold the option key down as soon as you either power up with the power button or hit restart from the Apple menu. This may be a change from my previous experience with PPC Macs when I was always under the impression that the time to hit keys during startup was right when the "Mac Gong" sound happens.

Maybe I just need to press option sooner. Hmmmmm.

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