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Niek 08-30-2006 04:56 PM

Using Migration Assistant and Sparse images
Greetings everyone!

Maybe a silly question, but I'm unable to find a clear answer...

I use a PowerBook G4 1.67 GHz under 10.4.7, and I want to completely reinstall the system software. That means, formatting my internal HD and start again from scratch, so no Install and Archive. But hey, we have Migration Assistant! How convenient! And yes, I have a external FW HD, a LaCie Big Disk. And there is wonderful SuperDuper. So, there shouldn't be a problem.

But, I have several files on the LaCie and I have no room where I can store them temporarely in order to free up the LaCie to use it for a bootable copy of all my programs and data. Simply copying using SuperDuper will erase the LaCie completely.

So now for the Big Question: if I make a complete copy of my internal HD to the LaCie using the 'Sparse Image' option, will I be able to use the Migration Assistant to move all my programs and documents back to the PowerBook after a fresh install of 10.4? And if this is possible, should I use the "Read/Write" or "Read only" option?

Many thanks in advance for your answers! ...and greetings from Holland of course!:)


dnanian 08-30-2006 05:29 PM

I don't believe the Migration Assistant will allow a sparse image as a source, Niek (at least at first boot, because there's no way to mount it). It might allow it to be used when run "after the fact", though, if you mount it and indicate it's "another volume on this Mac".

What I'd probably suggest is using something like iPartition to partition the LaCie "live". I think you'll end up happier. Or, I'd just do an archive-and-install rather than a clean install.

Niek 08-31-2006 01:48 PM

Hi Dave!

Thanks for your quick reply, your answer is very helpful. Maybe borrowing another FWHD might be the way to go. Can I ask you another question?

Why not an "Install and Archive" you ask, well, I have a bit of a strange problem with my machine. My local tech advises me to completely erase and format the HD and start from scratch because of the following problem: every now and then the PowerBook refuses to go to sleep, wonít turn off and wonít mount FireWire HDís. It seems the rest keeps on running smoothly, as far as I can see. It happens randomly, I cannot link it to a specific event ore use of software. It may even occur when just waking up, use Safari for a minute or so and put the machine to sleep again.

After a bit of searching I discovered a statement in the wakeup sequence that has a one to one relationship with this unpleasant behavior. The System log reveals:

[date time] PB-Niek kernel[0]: FWOHCI Error trying to clear PHY ports.

Searching the net learns me this has something to do with FireWire, but not what is really going on. My question of course: what does this mean? And of course, since FireWire is mainly hardware, do I face a motherboard failure?

Yes, Iíve pushed all the buttons: clearing PMU, PRAM, NVRAM, using DiskWarrior, correct permissions, reinstalling the software (Archive and Install, so I did this already), removing tons of pref files, but no result. Apple Hardware test: no problems. Not surprisingly since this error message only appears once in a while.

Do you have some wise words for me? Should I try the "format and fresh start approach" or is this in your opinion indeed a hardware failure? Because in such a case I won't go through the trouble of reinstalling, my best bet would then be a motherboard replacement. (Still at full warranty!)

Thanks again for your answer!


dnanian 08-31-2006 02:13 PM

I'm not sure why your tech is suggesting a full erase and install. It really does sound much more like a hardware issue. I'm not a FireWire expert, so it's hard for me to give you details on what the driver's finding, but if FireWire is signaling (because the ports are raising an interrupt, for example), then you likely won't be able to go to sleep.

What Mac is this?

Niek 08-31-2006 04:38 PM

Hi Dave!

My tech advises this because he wants to rule out software issues. I've told him that I already did an Archive and Install, but he claims such an approach doesn't mean you get a 100% clean system. I don't know wether FireWire software components are NOT being replaced when an A&I is done, but okay, if I'm out of options a complete installation is maybe neccesary but not one of my favorite things to do as you can imagine. It's such a drag! (Is this correct English?)

BTW, I'm using a PowerBook G4 1.67 GHz 1.5 GB RAM. Latest G4 model!

Thanks Dave, I really appreciate your help, you've giving me some helpful tips!


dnanian 08-31-2006 05:01 PM

The entire OS is replaced when you archive and install. The FireWire parts are too. 3rd party components are often left in place, but it's unlikely you have a lot of FireWire related 3rd party components.

Niek 08-31-2006 05:39 PM

Well Dave, as I read between the lines your best bet would be hardware failure. I think I'll go for a motherboard replacement.

You helped me a lot! I'll keep you posted!

Many greetings,


dnanian 08-31-2006 05:45 PM

Good luck, Niek!

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