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DrDan in MA 02-09-2006 07:39 PM

Account privs & SD!; crash recovery with .DMGs?
On our new Mac Mini, my acct has Admin privs, and my wife is a "normal user." She can't install to /Applications w/o my password, and can't see any of my ~/Users/Dan/* files except my /Public and /Sites folders. When I'm logged in there, I can install to /Applications -- but can't see any of Users/Deb/'s files except /Public and /Sites.

Questions on behalf of my wife, whose Mini I'm backing up onto my Ti-PbG4's ext HD:

(1) "SD! seems to work fine when run from Dan's login on the Mini. He's got Admin rights there; I don't. Given that Dan only "sees" my /Public and /Sites folders and can't see my 'Private' folders, can SD! run from his acct make a backup of my entire acct?

(2) And assuming that the answer to (1) is Yes, does SD! need to be scheduled and run from an Admin rather than a 'garden-variety' user like me? If I can run it, will the disk image (or smart update) SD! writes when run under MY account on Dan's ext HD contain not only all of my account on the Mini, but all of his as well?"

(3) and finally a question on my own behalf. I see the .DMG files (sparse image files) that SD! creates and "pushes" across my LAN to my Ti-PbG4. They can, of course, be mounted and they look for all the world like a "normal" .DMG file in behavior. I've read thru the neighborhoods of all occurrences of "disk image" and "target mode" in the SD! manual, but I still must confess I don't know exactly what I would do if the Mini crashed and needed to be restored from a backup .sparseimage file on my ext HD.

I've seen how to make a "sick, unbootable Mac" find an ext HD with a bootable image and boot from it in Target Disk Mode. So what do I do if the Mini becomes unbootable or its data become corrupted? Do I detach my ext HD, make a direct FW connection between it and the Mini, and boot holding down T? Will the Mac then "find and offer me" all available bootable partitions and also all bootable .sparseimages [within folders in other partitions], and let me select which one to use -- and thus, using the SD! on the chosen part of the ext HD, push a complete copy back to the "sick, unbootable (or file-corrupted) Mac"'s HD? Is the answer to this question somewhere in the Manual? If so, a pointer is all that I need, I guess... TIA

dnanian 02-09-2006 10:11 PM

To answer:

1) Yes.

2) It doesn't need to be scheduled from an Admin user, but it needs to be unlocked by an admin user. That user doesn't have to be logged in, they need only specify their name/password.

3) Well, remember they're Sparse Images. And if you want to restore the image, yes, connect directly, boot from your Tiger install DVD, then use Disk Utility (in the Installer menu) to mount (File > Open Image...) and restore the data.

DrDan in MA 02-09-2006 11:52 PM

Perfecto! :D

Thanks again. Wow, whatta product. If I had stars to hand out, you'd get six!

dnanian 02-10-2006 07:51 AM

I'm holding out for 10!

DrDan in MA 02-14-2006 08:17 AM

Well here I am with my HD on the Ti-PBG4 having become unbootable. Gotta replace that freakin HD ASAP I guess because this is the second time in a month that's happened.

Fortunately (thanks to you guys) I have an ext LaCie HD with two partitions, one of which has a SuperDuper backup (not a sparse image, but a full copy because it was directly connected via FW) of that disk as of Mon 13 Feb at 0300, which will be fine -- I believe it was done prior to any difficulties on the Ti-Mac's HD. That Mac runs 10.3.9 so the duplicated contents will boot as Panther when it is eventually restored.

Going over the restore drill prior to my SECOND question...

So what I do next is to stick a bootable CD into that sick Mac's drive, boot again while holding down the C key so that it reads the drive first, and bring up the OS therefrom. Since the ext HD is already connected to that machine, its Finder will "see" the two ext partitions (there's another with a "sparse image" of the Mac Mini that I'm writing this on).

All's I've got to do next is to

* view three logical disks available on the desktop of the Ti-Mac as booted from the CD. One will be the internal one (that's become unbootable, but which I hope will still be visible on the desktop -- if I can't see it, I'll just have to get that new HD ASAP), and another two partitions of the Ext LaCie HD.

* Start up the copy of SD! that's on the ext partition having the backup corresponding to the Ti-PbG4's HD,

* Tell it to copy the disk image it's running on BACK ONTO the internal HD of the Ti-Mac itself (which will effectively wipe that HD clean before writing the contents of the full SD backup onto that internal HD)

* Allow SD! to make the copied image bootable (thus hopefully restoring bootability to the Ti-Mac) and then

* Remove the CD from the Ti-Mac and allow it to boot normally from its internal HD.

Question ONE: Do I have this scenario right? Corrections welcome.

Question TWO: I'm having trouble locating the Panther CDs that came with the Ti-Mac. I have the set that came with the Mac Mini, which are Tiger. So I may not be able to use a 10.3.* CD to boot from, which is the OS level that's on the disk image that corresponds to the Ti-Mac's last OS level. Can I boot with the Mac Mini's bootable TIGER CD, use it to discover the ext HD partitions, and run SD as described above, thus recreating a bootable PANTHER OS and disk contents? Or must I only boot-from-CD using a PANTHER-specific CD?

TIA for any corrections and advice, as usual...

dnanian 02-14-2006 09:26 AM

If you want to start from CD, you'd use your Tiger/Panther CD/DVD to start the machine. Then, choose "Disk Utility" from the Installer menu. (NOTE - if you're dealing with Panther, you must NOT use the Tiger DVD to restore Panther. Use the other technique below.)

With that, I'd first erase *and zero* the internal drive to clean it up. Then, use the "Restore" Tab to restore from the external drive to the internal.

If you want to use the Tiger DVD, you'll need to upgrade to Tiger. To do that, also do the Disk Utility erase and zero of both data and free space. Then, clean install Tiger to the drive. When it prompts to migrate data/applications from an old mac, point it at the FireWire drive. It'll import your applications and settings.

Finally, you can also try erasing and zeroing, then booting from the LaCie and using SD! to copy back.

DrDan in MA 02-14-2006 10:15 AM

Thanks Greg -- some followups if you will, in boldface. Writing from work, so pls pardon any disjointedness

If you want to start from CD, you'd use your Tiger/Panther CD/DVD to start the machine. Then, choose "Disk Utility" from the Installer menu. (NOTE - if you're dealing with Panther, you must NOT use the Tiger DVD to restore Panther. Use the other technique below.)
OK. Best find the Panther CD then. :-)

With that, I'd first erase *and zero* the internal drive to clean it up. THAT's gonna take some nerve, and confidence that the SD! backup will go. Then, use the "Restore" Tab to restore from the external drive to the internal. I'm vaguely surprised at this -- not using SD to write back onto the HD? Well OK.

If you want to use the Tiger DVD, you'll need to upgrade to Tiger. To do that, also do the Disk Utility erase and zero of both data and free space. Then, clean install Tiger to the drive. I'm guessing it would be "bad form" -- or much worse, because of HW specificity -- to attempt to upgrade my Ti-Pbg4 to Tiger by using the disks that came with the Mini...? Happy to buy a fresh copy if need be; I'm ultimately gonna buy a new laptop that's already supplied with Tiger, anyway. So... will it work if I just use the Mini's disks? (I'm betting not) When it prompts to migrate data/applications from an old mac, point it at the FireWire drive. It'll import your applications and settings.Got it. Sounds like this will do the Right Thing.

Finally, you can also try erasing and zeroing, (after having booted from what? Hate to sound dumb but there it is) :-) then booting from the LaCie and using SD! to copy back.Could I try this, having booted the PB from the Mini's Tiger CD, but not having tried to restore the PB's hard disk from it, or to install Tiger on the PB?

dnanian 02-14-2006 10:19 AM


You're right, of course, that the Tiger discs that came with the mini aren't licensed for use with your PB. But you can go buy a copy later (really do it, of course), and use it now.

You can erase-and-zero with the install CD/DVD OR by booting from the LaCie first. I'm just concerned, if the LaCie isn't named the same as the internal, that aliases will resolve to files on the internal drive and make it hard to erase.

DrDan in MA 02-14-2006 11:52 AM

Again thanks for the coaching, Sensei... (writing from work , pardon dis-jointedness)

Glad to hear that the Mini's Tiger boot disks will WORK as things to boot the Ti-book from (I was worried that they might be Mini-HW-specific. Natch I will be buying a legally licensed copy of Tiger.

The LaCie partition holding the Ti-PbG4's disk contents is called something like backTI-HD74Bg and the internal HD is named something like TI-HD so their names are different. The files on its backup partition are, of course, named exactly the same, but their aliases might well point back to the base HD, which I suppose (by what you point out) is a Bad Thing.

So I guess the safest procedure you're recommending is to boot with either the Tiger or the Panther CDs, somehow use either of thoseCDs to zero out the internal HD (is that via Disk Utility or via Restore without archiving old files, which will fmt the Ti-book's HD?), then boot with either a Panther or Tiger CD, use Disk Utility to see the ext HD, and then run SD! from that partition to copy its own image back to the Ti-Book's HD... Do I gots that right or should I just re-read what you said earlier (sometimes I get so lame-o when tryin g to work and post into tech BBSes at the same time) .

dnanian 02-14-2006 12:06 PM

My comment on the mini's disks assumes that the disks aren't the ones that shipped with the mini as the configuration CD. Those tend to be locked to the machine type (even though the OS on them will work with anything).

Before you erase the drive, try booting from the external just to make sure all is OK. Then, do your erase...

DrDan in MA 02-14-2006 03:36 PM

Sorry about the "Greg", Dave -- I am dealing with two helpful souls at the moment, one in the Apple help boards by the former name. Senior Moment!! :o

DrDan in MA 02-15-2006 03:18 PM

Well, I found my Panther install disks, and my Ti-PbG4 weirdly regained the ability to boot. (Not that I believe this will last... gonna replace that puppy ASAP).

The Laptop was of course bootable off of the Panther install CD. This where I temporarily forgot the instructions you so kindly repeated, Dave... :)

So, right after I found I could boot from the Panther CD, I started up the laptop while holding down the OPTION key, and got to make the usual (rather cryptic-in-the UI, ain't it! But at least it's internationalized already) choice between booting from the internal HD or from the ext HD partition into which SD! had copied it a couple days back at 3AM. Lo and behold, I could miraculously boot from the ext HD, and (forgetting the need to use the Panther CD in my eagerness to restore the internal HD) I called up the Disk Utility on the ext HD and used it to

* erase the internal HD of the Ti-PbG4, and then to

* restore the ext HD partition back onto the internal HD. (This process took about 3 hours.

I must have remembered a smidge of the instructions, because I found myself wondering, as the copy-time wore on, whether the fact that I was USING the image I was copying onto the Ti-book would mess things up.

Well, apparently not so much -- at least at first glance. I was happy to see that everything that had been on the ext HD was now on the internal HD -- but when I tried booting the Laptop, I saw something I hadn't seen in years -- the folder-with-a-questionmark-on-it signifying that that disk wasn't bootable!

So that's when I remembered that I should have been booted from the Panther CD instead of from the ext HD that was going to be the source of the copying. I immediately shut down the Ti-PbG4-booted-from-the-ext-HD cleanly, using the Apple menu's SHUT DOWN option.

So just now I booted from the Panther install CD, called up the Disk Utility, and had it look at the various disk images it could "see" and gather info on.

There was the Panther CD, which it said was bootable...

There was the ext HD image of the Ti-PbG4 that was stored on my ext HD, which I had successfully booted from; Disk Utility reported THAT as bootable also.

What stopped me in my tracks, however -- and the first thing I'd like your comment on -- was that Disk Utility reported that the internal HD was ALSO bootable, even though I had failed to boot successfully from it only a few minutes previously. (I had only tried and failed once because that's when I remembered that I should have copied after having booted from the Panther install CD, erased the target, and then restored to that target.)

So, (1) any idea why Disk Utility would report the internal HD as bootable even though it failed to boot normally?


(2) Now that I'm in the midst of another 3-hour restore using as the SOURCE the ext HD after I ran my Laptop off of it for a few hours earlier today, thus possibly changing that image, and using as the TARGET my internal HD-- is there any reason to expect that the restored copy onto my internal HD will be unbootable?

FWIW, in closing: Now that I've "gotten the hang of" Disk Utility, it makes lots more sense to me how this is used in conjunction with SD! to recover from mishaps.

dnanian 02-15-2006 03:24 PM

Well, I can't explain why you got the "No bootable volume" folder, other than perhaps your external was set as the boot drive, and you had disconnected it...

DrDan in MA 02-15-2006 03:39 PM

Well the ext HD was never set as the boot volume (I've read about doing that, but can't remember how and didn't in this case) and it was hooked into my Ti-PbG4 via FireWire as per usual. Weird.

But that's "bygones" as they say. Esp. since that volume as it once existed is now erased and getting restored-onto by Disk Utility, from the SD-produced backup copy of a couple days back, that I was using for a few hours while copying that selfsame image onto the internal HD.

The important question (that I will have an answer to in a couple-plus hours) is "will the internal HD be bootable after being restored properly (after having booted from the Panther CD) onto from the ext HD, despite my having booted from that ext HD and done the first restore from it and otherwise used it for some hours earlier?" I'm gathering, from your answer, that it'll be OK, and that your answer to (2) is "No, there's no reason to expect that it'll be unbootable."

Film at 11! :D

OBTW thanks again.

dnanian 02-15-2006 03:43 PM

It should have been bootable the first time, Dan. It's likely it wasn't because it was erased, and wasn't recognized by OpenFirmware; possibly option-booting would have found it. Hard to say now... we'll see what happens when your restore finishes.

DrDan in MA 02-15-2006 04:01 PM

... "possibly option-booting would have found it" ... I guess I was groping in that direction too; right after I got the ?/envelope response I tried to boot again with OPTION held down; but this time, instead of being offered both the internal HD and the ext HD which SD! had created earlier, as had once been the case... after I'd restored (incorrectly) to the int HD, OPTION-booting offered me only the ext HD which I had been booted from while restoring that same image to the int HD.

But now we'll see, won't we... one hour down, a couple-ish more to go... :)

dnanian 02-15-2006 04:09 PM

OK, Dan. I don't know why that would be the case (I've done this a lot), but there must be something here that I can't see.

DrDan in MA 02-15-2006 06:13 PM


dnanian 02-15-2006 07:32 PM

Glad it worked, Dan!

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