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martin42 01-02-2007 07:18 PM

Macbook + Lacie FW drive: Can SuperDuper images be made bootable?
Somewhat confused about this topic, despite other threads here!

I have a white Intel MacBook, with a 300 GB Lacie Firewire drive storing sparse backups of the internal HDD. Disk Utility says the Lacie drive has "Apple_partition_scheme" with the volume on it having "Apple_HFS" format.

This is all working sweetly, but the Lacie drive doesn't seem to be bootable (Alt/Apple/Shift/Rubout does nothing - does it work on Macbooks? - and the Lacie drive doesn't show up in "System Preferences" / "Startup Disk").

Thanks to Shirt Pocket's timely support during an HDD upgrade last month, I do know that I can successfully restore a backup by booting from the MacOSX DVD, getting to a command shell and using 'asr' (sadly the Disk Utility on the MacOSX DVD has a broken 'Restore' tab otherwise the 'asr' trick would not be needed). So the vital stuff is all covered OK: it just seems a bit fiddly.

I'm just wondering whether there are any better options. Specifically, can I build the Lacie drive in some better way, so as to make it directly bootable for a speedier recovery another time? Or doesn't that work on intel Macbooks?

e.g. if I remove my internal HDD, boot the MacOSX DVD, then wipe the Lacie drive and install a minimal MacOSX system on it, will that do the trick? If so, are there any gotchas to watch out for, or is there a better way to go about all this?

Thanks in advance!

- Martin.

dnanian 01-02-2007 10:39 PM

Why not copy directly to the drive, Martin?

martin42 01-03-2007 02:42 AM

Because that only gives me one snapshot, not thee or four...

But maybe I could do it both ways. I could divide the Lacie drive in two halves: one matching the size of the internal HDD, and one for the rest. I could then use Super Duper to image the HDD to the first partition regularly, whilst storing occasional spare images onto the second partition and/or to a network share. Presumably the Lacie drive would then be bootable.


- Martin.

dnanian 01-03-2007 11:00 AM

You can have as many copies as you have space for, as you said: just partition the drive (or use images). And, yes -- the first partition would remain bootable.

martin42 01-03-2007 12:32 PM

So, the key thing is to send my routine backup directly to the first Lacie partition (not to an image) so that the Lacie can be used immediately in the event of my main hard disk crashing.

Many thanks,

- Martin.

dnanian 01-03-2007 01:02 PM

Bingo! I think that'll work best.

martin42 01-04-2007 05:50 AM

Success! Very impressive speed too :-)
Just to confirm that this works on sweetly on my MacBook. Here's the full gen for any other Macbook newbies here:-

1. Using Disk Utility, I re-partitioned the Lacie d2 300GB Firewire drive using the GUID partition format (press the Options button). I made two partitions, both HFS format. First partition was just slightly more than the size of my internal hard drive; second partition was for all the remaining space. I named the two partitions LACIE_BOOT and LACIE_DATA so that I'd know which was which when they appeared on the desktop.

2. Using Super Duper, I did a full backup directly to the first Lacie partition (not to an image).

3. Rebooting the MacBook while holding down the 'alt' key (old Powerbook users call this the 'option' key just to confuse you!) results in a boot menu showing two devices: the internal disk and the Lacie disk. Booting up off the Lacie disk is simplicity itself. You can tell it's working because you can hear it clunking away, whereas the internal laptop drive is pretty well silent.

For the record, the full backup of my 160 GB drive (which is about 60% full, including three big Parallels VMs) took just 1 hour 20 minutes. I then tried the Smart Update mode, which took just 5 minutes! OK, this hardware isn't exactly slow, but SuperDuper is a pretty impressive piece of software.

PS: I did turn off background anti-virus checks before kicking off the backups: that probably helps a lot.

4. One thing you might want to do from your normal boot system:

sudo mdutil -i off /Volumes/Lacie_boot_drive

This will stop Spotlight messing around indexing the Lacie drive after making the image or updating it. Not that this matters: it just means your Lacie drive will rattle away for half an hour after a smart update has finished.

Anyhow, given that Smart Update only takes 5 minutes, I'll be backing up more often now.


- Martin.

dnanian 01-04-2007 09:20 AM

Hey, Martin. Don't use mditul to turn off indexing, actually, Simply add the drive to the Spotlight Preference Pane's Privacy tab. Turning off indexing doesn't turn off search -- privacy does.

martin42 01-04-2007 09:36 AM

Got it! Thanks again.

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