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steve112 08-30-2005 10:12 PM

Questions from another newbie trying to get it right.
I am brand new to SuperDuper!, having used Retrospect and Carbon Copy Cloner in the past. I have studied the user's guide and followed a number of threads on this forum, so I think I understand what SD! will be doing. But, before I start erasing and partitioning drives, I wanted to run by you my proposed backup strategy. Better safe than sorry.

I have a Dual 2.5 Ghz PowerPC G5, running OS X 10.4.2, with two internal hard drives, both of which are nominally 250 GB. The first drive is called Steve's G5 HD, and at the moment that is my only bootable drive. The second internal drive is called Steve's 2d G5 HD. My plan is to erase and partition this 2d drive into two partitions: 1. perhaps 225 GB to be used as a bootable backup for the first drive; and 2. the balance of 25 GB for the Safety Clone (or Sandbox).

In this connection, one question has been puzzling me. The user's guide states that it is very important to reboot from the Safety Clone. Does that mean you continue to use it as your start up disk until such time as you are satisfied that none of the new installations are causing a problem? And at that time you reboot from Drive 1 and install the new applications, updates, etc., on to Drive 1. I think that is what it says to do at page 25 of the user's guide, but some of the language was slightly ambiguous.

In addition to the two internal drives of the G5, I have a 500 GB La Cie External FW Drive that I have been using as a redundant back up for the G5 Drive 1, as well as for backing up a PowerBook and a G4 desktop. It seems to me to make sense to have a redundant back up of this type, that can be moved to a different location if one is going away, etc. So, I am planning to partition this drive in to enough partitions to cover the PowerBook and the G4 desktop and some data storage, as well as two partitions for the G5 Drive 1, one of which will be for a regular backup and the other for a Safety Clone of that drive. Does that make sense? Are there any potential problems that I should keep in mind in connection with naming these partitions? I recall, I believe, reading in the user's guide that the original drive and the backup should have the same name. Wouldn't that be confusing? Perhaps I misinterpreted whatever I read.

I apologize for being so long-winded. Thanks for your willingness to take on such questions. It's one of the important reasons why I decided to give SD! a try.


dnanian 08-31-2005 08:43 AM

Hey, Steve: welcome! No problem being long winded: let's see what you've got planned.

25GB seems like a lot for a Safety Clone, although you certainly have the space. You can create a "test" Safety Clone to see how big you really need the partition to be and -- if you have a lot of Apple's Pro applications, you might be able to share more of their templates and data to save some space. But, given the disk space you've got, it's probably not necessary! :)

To use the Safety Clone properly, you definitely want to use it as the startup volume. If you don't, the changes made to the OS by software updates and application installs will happen to the "real" volume, and not be isolated to the Sandbox.

In general, you don't update the main volume until you're sure you approve of the changes made to the sandbox. Updating the volume can be done by reinstalling the applications and updates to it (after booting back to it, of course) or -- if you're confident -- you can do something called "cloning back".

I allude to the latter in the documentation, but because it's got a high potential for error, I consciously didn't explain how to do it. It's not hard, though -- you just have to be careful. To do so:
  • First, make a backup of the original volume, in case you do make a mistake.
  • When booted from the Sandbox, run SuperDuper!
  • Choose the Sandbox as the source, and the original volume as the destination.
  • Choose "Backup - all files" as the script. Do not use Safety Clone, or any other script. Only use "Backup - all files".
  • Choose "Smart Update..." as the During Copy option. Do not use any other During Copy option!
  • Review your choices. When you're sure they're right, click "Start Copying". When it's done, the original volume will be updated to the state of the Sandbox.
  • Finally, reboot from the original volume. Verify that things are as expected, and then use SuperDuper! to update the Sandbox as normal. (This will convert any new applications to Shared applications, etc.)

One additional caveat: if you created your own "connections" between the original volume and the sandbox using Aliases, those will not be updated properly. You'd have to literally create a manual alias from something on the source volume to the same location on the destination to have this happen. As long as you didn't (most people don't), you should be set.

(All that said, what part of p25 was ambiguous?)

For the External, are you suggesting a partition to back up the Safety Clone itself? That's typically not necessary, as anything done to the Safety Clone can be easily re-done to the original... and there's no user data on it (as long as you don't store User data outside the standard "user" places, of course).

We generally recommend that -- before you boot from it -- a backup volume should be named the same as the source. This is because aliases resolve to a volume by volume name, then path: if the boot volume isn't named the same as the original, and the original volume is available, the alias will resolve to the original volume, not the copy.

Naming the volume the same allows those aliases to be resolved properly.

Hope that helps... and see? Your question wasn't nearly as long winded as my answer, and I didn't even quote! ;)

steve112 09-05-2005 03:21 PM


I am only now responding to your reply because I have been working with SD! to see if that made things clearer in my mind. It has, but I still have some questions.

1. Naming the backup volume. I questioned whether naming the backup volume the same as the original volume wouldn't be confusing. You explained that "we generally recommend that -- before you boot from it -- a backup volume should be named the same as the source" in order to allow aliases to resolve properly (by which I believe you mean to the backup volume). And on 6-12-05, you gave a similar reply to an inquiry from rayc 325: "The basic rule is this: If you plan on booting from a copy, and the original drive is going to be available, name the copy the same as the original (unless it's a safety clone)."

I guess my further question comes down to this: Is the snapshot on page 11 a little misleading? It shows making a copy from Macintosh HD to Backup, and that the system will reboot from Backup. But if you were trying to avoid the alias problem, wouldn't the destination volume have to also be called Macintosh HD? And when you do that, the text in "What's going to happen?" becomes confusing because all the references to Backup become references to Macintosh HD. And it gets even more confusing when you have redundant backups, such as on an internal HD and on an external FW drive. It's a little unnerving when you're worried that you are going to make a mistake.

Similarly, if you go to Startup Disk window under System Preferences, or to the on-the-fly window that you get when you hold the Option key down while rebooting, it becomes sheer guesswork when you try to select the start up volume because the original volume and the destination volumes are indistinguishable. I tried to solve this by assigning different color labels to the different drives, but they quickly changed themselves so that all of the drives had the same color as the original.

2. How to use the Safety Clone when upgrading from Panther to Tiger. I am preparing to install Tiger on a PowerBook, and have already created a bootable backup of the original Panther volume on a partition on an external FW drive. I have also created a Safety Clone of the Panther drive on a separate partition on the external drive, and at the moment that is what I am booted from. I have assumed I should reboot to the original Panther drive before installing Tiger. But then it occurred to me that perhaps I could install Tiger leaving the system booted from the Safety Clone, and that there might be some advantage in doing so. What would you advise me to do?

3. Ambiguous language on p. 25? It wasn't a big deal, but in the third sentence of the 2nd paragraph on that page I wasn't always sure what "it" was referring to: When you want to add [one of] those [more complex applications] to the original volume, you select [it] [the original volume] as your startup drive, restart your Macintosh, and install [it] [the more complex application] using its installer.



dnanian 09-05-2005 03:32 PM

Hi, Steve.

This isn't going to help, probably, but here's the thing: it's hard to know what systems are going to have problems with the drive naming, since it's entirely dependent on the programs you're running, and their behavior. If your set of apps makes use of aliases that cause this kind of trouble, then you need to name the backup the same as the source when you boot from it (and the original drive is available) if you want to guarantee that everything you do after boot is occurring on the backup.

Think about it: what might happen, in the "Backup" case, is that some aliases will be pointing at the original drive. But, if you're just testing your backup, that's OK: it's not a big deal if a file is opened on the original, since you're just testing things out.

In the case of a profound failure -- when you *really* need to boot from the backup -- it's likely the original volume won't be there. As such, the alias thing won't be a problem!

The biggest issue occurs when something at startup requires the volumes to be named the same. This is rare, but I've seen it with older versions of Norton Personal Firewall and some other stuff. In that case, the drive won't boot at all named something other than the original.

In that case, it's necessary to name it the same as the original, or you can't boot.

So, it's a big case of "it depends". To simplify things, I'm suggesting to people that they name the drive the same as the original if they want to boot from it. It might not be required in all cases, but to explain the whole thing (as in the above) in every case, and diagnose every person's individual setup, would be difficult (and confusing). If there's a problem that might be attributed to this kind of thing, it's the go-to first step toward fixing the issue.

I know that's less "obvious", but do you find it any clearer?


If you're concerned about needing to revert from Tiger back to Panther due to potential issues with Tiger, then you can install it on the Safety Clone and check it out first. Note, though, that there are some "data storage" incompatibilities between Panther and Tiger, especially with regard to iCal and Mail. See the FAQ about Tiger Compatibility for more information.


Finally, I'll check out the part of the manual you're referring to, and see if I can make it clearer: thanks.

steve112 09-05-2005 03:44 PM


Wow! That was indeed a fast response. And it was very helpful. Thanks again.


dnanian 09-05-2005 03:52 PM

No problem, Steve. I wish I could be more cut-and-dried, but it's not that simple!

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