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sliderule53 02-11-2005 12:22 AM

Removing partitions
 
I just got SuperDuper and a new external 200GB firewire drive and I would like to make sure I understand things before I proceed. I have a nominal 60GB internal drive currently partitioned into four volumes for reasons that seemed good at the time. Now, however, each partition is exactly the wrong size so I would like to move my data off the internal disk onto an empty partition on the external drive, remove the partitions on the internal drive, and then move all the data back to the internal drive. Does this strategy and the following procedure make sense?:

1. Partition new external drive into 3 volumes: ~15GB Sandbox (bootable Safety Clone); a large bootable backup volume; and a separate ~50GB volume for work-related stuff (this is a home system).

2. Copy all 4 internal volumes sequentially to the same initially empty partition on the external drive using “Backup-all files” and “Copy different files from internal volume to external backup” to avoid erasing anything. (Only one of these four volumes has system data so I might be tempted to just drag-copy the other 3 volumes to the external drive, but I gather this might be a bad idea with OSX, is that right?)

3. Use Disk Utility to remove partitions on internal drive.

4. Use SuperDuper and “Backup-all files” to move all the data from the single external volume that was filled back to the internal drive without partitions.

5. Create a Safety Clone from the internal drive into the Sandbox volume on the external drive and boot from that.

6. Do regular Smart Updates to back up the internal drive onto the backup volume of the external drive.

This is a multiple user system with the iTunes and iPhoto libraries currently in a separate partition from OSX so obviously I am hoping these can still be found by their applications after all of this is done with.

And one other question I have is: why does your manual (p.47) suggest putting the Sandbox volume in the bottom partition?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

dnanian 02-11-2005 08:53 AM

Hi, sliderule53. (I miss my slide rule. I can't believe I'm old enough to have used one! Taught me a lot about understanding significant digits, that's for sure.)

Your procedure sounds good, except it's not entirely clear from your discussion where files are in the partitions. With things distributed all over the place, on different volumes, I don't know if the iTunes/iPhoto libraries will be found easily when you move them. iPhoto, as I recall, will prompt you for the library location. iTunes might not... and you may need to re-import the music.

Here's what I'd recommend:

- Name the external drive the same as your internal *boot* drive.
- Do the copying as you're suggesting, but do not repartition!
- Boot from the external drive. When you log in, HOLD DOWN SHIFT.
- Unmount the internal drive(s). (Very important, since the other volumes are present and aliases might resolve to reference those files.)
- Now, check your external volume. Make sure iPhoto is working as expected, and iTunes. The experience on the external drive should be identical to what's going to happen on the internal. Make certain you're happy, but don't do much work, since if you're unhappy you'll want to go back to step 1.

If you're happy, go ahead and do the repartitioning.

Everything else sounds fine.

On p47, I just picked one of the partitions randomly. It doesn't matter if it's first or second or third or whatever.

Hope that helps!

sliderule53 02-11-2005 12:55 PM

Thanks, Dave. I will give it a try this weekend sometime when I work up the nerve and the kids are in bed (so they don't learn any new words!). I'll let you know how it goes.

One other thing that I read elsewhere (Joe Kissell's "Take Control of Mac OS X Backups") in regards to iTunes said that you should "Deauthorize" your computer from within iTunes when you are going to erase and restore from a backup (something to do with iTunes music store tracks playing on a limited number of computers). You then reauthorize after restoring. I guess I will do this unless I hear from you that it is crazy.

Thanks again for your help!

dnanian 02-11-2005 06:27 PM

In general, the iTunes Music Store seems to use things like the machine's serial number to do its authorization, at least with newer machines that have that information available. As such, I don't think it's entirely necessary to deactivate, but it certainly won't hurt.

Let us know how this all goes!

sliderule53 02-13-2005 06:04 PM

Hi Dave,

I am happy to report that, after some finagling, I was able to transfer the data off the internal drive, convert to a single volume, and move the data back. I basically followed the procedure outlined in my first email and modified by your advice. I also checked both disks with DiskWarrior before proceeding. There is nothing quite as exciting as erasing a bunch of your critical data (even with a backup), at least at my advanced age! FYI, here are a few notes and questions on what happened in the process:
- Many of the dock icons for each of four users lost their links during this process, probably because some of the icons referred to applications that were not on the boot partition to start with. It was easy to manually restore the icons.
- iPhoto and iTunes were able to find their libraries again with some help from me.
- I did this process with the external drive having the same name as the internal boot drive as you suggested. They had different drive icons on the desktop, but after moving the data back to the single internal volume with SuperDuper they had the same internal drive icon in the finder window drive pane list. This was confusing and potentially dangerous so I changed the external drive name. Is there any problem with this?
- The first time I attempted to make a safety clone (sharing users and apps) the process failed after the 20GB Sandbox volume filled up before the copy was done. This apparently happened because I had games and music and photo files in folders at the top level of the internal drive, a legacy from my screwy 4-volume organizational system. When I moved these folders into the Users/Shared folder and explained to iPhoto and iTunes what had happened, I was able to successfully safety clone to the external Sandbox drive, using only 4GB.
- Of course, now my internal drive has a different organizational structure than my full external backup so I will backup again when I am satisfied that everything is cool and stable. Will a Smart Update be sufficient here, or should I erase and copy since things have been moved around so much?
- I am now running off the safety clone and everything seems fine. I guess my primary concern is figuring out how to keep the safety clone and the master internal boot volume synchronized. You talk about installing applications first in the clone and later in the boot volume, but it might be problematic to keep track of all new applications in a four-user system. You warn about the dangers of copying your safety clone back over the original system, but it seems like this might be the most efficient way to really capture the changes made to the Sandbox. Any advice here or details on how to do this safely?

Thanks very much for your help, Dave, and your contributions to an excellent program! Now, when you guys fold in scheduling, I will be able to throw away my work copy of Retrospect!

dnanian 02-13-2005 07:11 PM

Multiple points here, so I've edited and snipped some quotes here...

Quote:

Originally Posted by sliderule53
...
There is nothing quite as exciting as erasing a bunch of your critical data (even with a backup), at least at my advanced age!

No kidding! Scary, but not as bad as you might think, eh?

Quote:

Originally Posted by sliderule53
...
- Many of the dock icons for each of four users lost their links during this process, probably because some of the icons referred to applications that were not on the boot partition to start with. It was easy to manually restore the icons.

Exactly right. They were pointing to the old locations.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sliderule53
...
- I did this process with the external drive having the same name as the internal boot drive as you suggested. They had different drive icons on the desktop, but after moving the data back to the single internal volume with SuperDuper they had the same internal drive icon in the finder window drive pane list. This was confusing and potentially dangerous so I changed the external drive name. Is there any problem with this?

Nope. Naming the backup drive something different is fine until you're going to boot from it.

Remember that SuperDuper! won't let you choose the boot drive as the destination of a backup...

Quote:

Originally Posted by sliderule53
...
- Of course, now my internal drive has a different organizational structure than my full external backup so I will backup again when I am satisfied that everything is cool and stable. Will a Smart Update be sufficient here, or should I erase and copy since things have been moved around so much?

Smart Update should be fine, unless there's not enough room... there are some situations where the "new" files appear before the "old" files are deleted. Give it a try... if you have a problem, then use Erase, then copy.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sliderule53
...
- I am now running off the safety clone and everything seems fine. I guess my primary concern is figuring out how to keep the safety clone and the master internal boot volume synchronized. You talk about installing applications first in the clone and later in the boot volume, but it might be problematic to keep track of all new applications in a four-user system. You warn about the dangers of copying your safety clone back over the original system, but it seems like this might be the most efficient way to really capture the changes made to the Sandbox. Any advice here or details on how to do this safely?

As long as you don't manually create aliases from the original drive to the Sandbox, it's safe to clone back. In other words, you should operate entirely on the Sandbox. When you want to update the main drive, you can use Smart Update and "Backup - all files" and clone from Sandbox to Macintosh HD. SuperDuper! will do the right thing... but ALWAYS make sure you have a full backup of Macintosh HD before you do this, just in case!


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