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ehofmeister 09-29-2010 09:30 PM

Startup drive missing from "About this Mac"

I just successfully backed up and restored my "Macintosh HD" harddrive on my wife's MacBook Pro. It runs OS X 10.6.4 and everything went well, or so it seemed. I used "Backup all files" and "Restore all files" and the both the "Macintosh HD" and the backup HD are partitioned using GUID and Journaled file systems - as recommended. I got no errors - everything went fine.

However, after restoring the backup HD (using erase and restore) to Macintosh HD, when I boot the MacBook Pro (which works fine) and I look at the "About this Mac" tab there is no longer a startup volume listed. When I go into Mac OS system settings and look under startup drive, the startup drive is correctly listed as "Macintosh HD". I have tried restoring twice, but the issue remains.

When I boot directly from the backup HD, and go into the "About.." tab, the backup HD is correctly listed as the startup volume.

Is this an issue? Do you know what is going on?

Thank you for always providing good support (-:



dnanian 09-30-2010 01:32 AM

That seems rather weird - not something I've ever heard of. Are you sure that the internal drive has a name (I assume so given your description of the startup disk preference pane).

Try renaming the drive, renaming it back, then reselecting the drive in the startup disk preference pane and restarting.

ehofmeister 09-30-2010 04:10 AM

Hi again

Yes it does seem weird. The internal drive has a name: "Macintosh HD" and the backup drive is named "Medium HD". The "About this Mac" tab simply does not contain the startup drive item any more, it is completely gone. So this is not like the tab says "Startup volume: and then no name - there simply is not any info at all: below "Memory" the button "More information" comes right up, the startup volume info is totally gone.

I no not know what to do about this. I've tried renaming the drive etc. as per your suggestions, but that did not make any difference. I am running an almost clean installation of 10.6.4 only a few days old. I have iLife + iWork installed + Intego VirusBarrier X6 and a few minor apps, but that is it. I have never seen any thing like this before, and as I say, there does not seem to be any problems, everything seems to be working fine.

However, you tend to think: something must be wrong here, and if Mac OS has partially forgotten about the startup volume, what else has potentially gone wrong, that I cannot see right now - can I trust my backup?

So I don't really know what to do: ignore it or reinstall the whole thing, which I don't really have any time for + then I cannot really trust my SuperDuper backup anymore. I did the backup entirely by the book - no esoteric settings, just a clean backup.



ehofmeister 09-30-2010 05:39 AM

Just tried resetting PRAM and selecting startup drive again: no luck. Tried booting from "Medium HD", erased "Macintosh HD" partition in Disk Utility and doing erase + restore: no luck.

The weird thing is that when I boot from the backup, the startup volume is listed correctly in the "About" tab. The original setup also did list it correctly. Only when I restore it goes missing altogether.

This is really unfortunate, because it makes me feel that I cannot trust my backups anymore, since SuperDuper says that everything is OK, but I can see that something is weird and not right.

I have no more ideas, I think I am going to do a clean install, although that is really, really annoying + how do I know this will not just happen again next time again?



dnanian 09-30-2010 05:56 AM

I think it's pretty clear that things *are* fine on the backup, which can obviously be trusted since it's working properly, right?

The weird thing is the internal. Are you SURE the internal drive is properly partitioned? I honestly don't know what could be going on in OSX where everything's working just fine except for one line in an About box. Does it appear properly if you boot from the internal in "Safe Boot"?

ehofmeister 09-30-2010 02:02 PM

Thank you for the quick replys (-: and yes, I am VERY confident that the partition is done the right way. I have one single partition on the internal drive, formatted as "Macintosh HD". It is a GUID partition using the Mac OS - Extended (Journaled) filesystem. I have set it up using Mac OS Setup's disk utility, a process that I have used flawlessly for the past 3-4 years, ever since I converted to the Mac from Windows. I have very good knowledge of Mac OS and Windows in general, and have worked with IT and support professionally, so I am quite confident that I am doing things right.

This issue is really weird, though, as I have tried doing a clean install, since my last post. Prior to this, I did a PRAM reset, a reset of the System Management Controller (SMC) and I wiped the internal drive completely (deleting the partition). Then I booted from the Mac OS Snow Leopard Setup DVD and set up a brand new partition, then installed the system. After a successful installation and a reboot, the issue remains (!). That is really, really weird, I think.

As I wrote before, when I boot directly from the backup, the startup volume is correctly stated in the "About" tab. But as soon as I boot from the Mac itself, it disappears.

I tried rebooting a couple of times after the initial setup, and all of a sudden, the startup volume was correctly stated, so I take this to be some sort of minor issue with the internal "bios" parameters (I cannot remeber what they are called on a Mac).

However, as you say, this must mean that the backup is OK, and therefore I subsequently restored it again, so I wouldn't have to set everything up a new. This again has led to the mysterious dissappearance of the startup volume in the "About" tab, but I have more or less come to the conclustion that this is a minor - although weird - issue, and I don't think I will spend any more time on it. Everything seems to work OK. Do you not agree that this is the best course?

Thanks again for great support!



ehofmeister 09-30-2010 04:14 PM

By the way, the issue persists even during "Safe Boot".

What caused me to be annoyed by this issue in the first place was not really the missing line itself - I don't really care about that - as I said, it was more the uncertainty about what else could be wrong, that I cannot see right now - but as everything seems to be OK, I don't really want to spend more energy on this. It is weird though (-:


ehofmeister 09-30-2010 04:34 PM

I took a look at this discussion

Then I attached a USB-harddrive to the MacBook Pro and voila: the startup disk is immediately showing in the "About.." tab..

ehofmeister 09-30-2010 05:06 PM

Last post for now (-:

The behaviour is consistent: when there is a USB of Firewire drive attached the "About" tab shows startup disk information. As soon as I eject the drives it does not.

I have never seen this behaviour before, but it happened right after I restored my backup and has been consistent ever since.

The fact that it also did happen right after the clean install makes me think that it may actually be a feature: Only when there is more than 1 drive in the system does the "About" tab state which drive is startup drive.

Only, on my 2009 MacBook Pro, which is also running 10.6.4 the startup drive is always stated. However, there seem to be a lot of guys around, who see this kind of behaviour:

and here:

As one guy puts it in the last forum: "You'll only see that startup disk option if there is a network attached or some HD other than the one in your computer that is attached. Thus, it gives you the option of booting from another source. If nothing else is attached, the OS won't display that option in the menu." So maybe that is just it.


dnanian 09-30-2010 05:23 PM

Sounds like that's a possibility (I always have other drives attached, but right now I'm on vacation with just my MacBook Pro, and indeed there's no startup disk listed).

sjk 09-30-2010 05:58 PM


Originally Posted by dnanian (Post 29830)
… with just my MacBook Pro, and indeed there's no startup disk listed).

Same on my MBP, but it's there on my mini (correctly as "Macintosh HD"). I'd never even noticed it before reading this thread.

dnanian 10-01-2010 02:13 AM

Me neither. Learn something new every day. I knew it wasn't SD! itself but had no idea what it might have been!

TMay 10-02-2010 01:26 AM


I am curious about one thing here, and perhaps you can give it a try. The next time you are booted from an "uncooperative" volume (one where that line of text is missing in "About this Mac" could you check two things? In the finder, under the "Go" menu, under "Go Computer" does the boot volume show there? And in System Prefs, under the Startup Disk icon, does it show there? (I am assuming the answer in both cases is going to be "yes," but would still like to verify.) Thank you.

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