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goldenband 03-22-2010 02:03 AM

Will booting from a different computer eventually corrupt my cloned drive?
I have a 15" PowerBook G4 (1.5 GHz), which is my main machine both for professional work and personal use. Unfortunately, it has a hardware defect in the GPU, and needs to be repaired, which could take as long as a month.* The internal hard drive of this computer is my main work drive, and I back it up regularly with SuperDuper to an external FireWire drive. I'm running Tiger (OS X 10.4.11).

While my PowerBook is out of commission, I was planning to use my other Tiger-capable machine, a "Mystic" dual-processor G4/450 MHz tower that was given to me late last year. This tower can boot from the external FW drive where I keep the clone of my PB drive, and as far I can tell, all my programs work normally (though the tower doesn't have wireless Internet or FW/800, and has a lot less RAM).

My tentative plan would be to run a full backup of the PowerBook drive to my FW drive before sending the PowerBook off for repair. While it's away, I'd boot the G4 tower from the cloned drive via FireWire, and keep working normally. Then when my laptop comes back, I could either manually copy the files I've been working on, or use SuperDuper to update the PowerBook's hard drive, using the clone as the new master.

Ideally, I'd rather just use SuperDuper to copy over whatever changes I've made, via Smart Update. However, I'm concerned that booting from a different machine (albeit with the same CPU type) might somehow corrupt my cloned drive, either by messing up the system settings or by befuddling the copy protection on some of the software I own (mostly music- and audio-related programs).

When I tried it, there didn't seem to be any problems, and the G4 tower didn't act any differently from my PowerBook -- it felt like I was still on my main machine. But frankly I was shocked that the G4 tower would boot from the cloned PB drive at all, given the hardware differences between the two machines.

Am I crazy to consider "reverse-cloning" my original drive? Or is this whole scenario a non-issue? Any advice is much appreciated. Maybe I should just plan to copy all the changed files manually, but that's messy and could pose its own set of problems.

*(The solder balls under the chip need to be reflowed or reballed, and so I'm disassembling the PB and sending my logic board off to Arizona in hopes of a fix. I'm told the odds are only about 70%, but it's a lot cheaper than a new logic board, and will be a lot easier on my eyes -- right now my screen is covered with video noise, whether or not I use an external monitor...)

dnanian 03-22-2010 09:04 AM

This is something OSX is designed to do, and you should be fine. I can't say that your copy protected applications will continue to work, of course, but if they fail it would be due to their own copy protection 'locks', not due to some sort of 'corruption'.

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