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camner 06-28-2008 05:13 PM

can't boot from underlying volume but can from Sandbox
About a month ago I made a Sandbox, and since then have been booting from the Sandbox and have installed a variety of software updates, including the OS (10.5.3 on the Sandbox, 10.5.2 on the underlying volume).

I cannot boot from the underlying volume ("Macintosh HD"). The grey gear starts to spin, and the machine shuts down. This is, alas, reproducible. To boot off of Macintosh HD I am holding the option key down while booting, and then choosing Macintosh HD from the list of available drives.

I can boot from and work from the Sandbox just fine, which is odd to me, since I thought the "guts" were shared. The Sandbox is of the "shared users and applications" variety.

Is there any way to recover from this situation? I have a backup that is about a month and half old on an external drive, but I really would rather not rebuild everything I've done to my new system since then if I can avoid it!

dnanian 06-28-2008 05:15 PM

I'd make a backup of the original drive, if you don't already have one, to a fresh volume. I'd then follow the instructions in the User's Guide to clone back.

I have no idea what might have happened to the internal, since the OS is not touched, as you might know.

camner 06-28-2008 05:28 PM

Wow, that was a quick reply! Thank you.

Sorry, but I'm a bit confused. The original drive is the one that I can't boot from (but I CAN boot from the Sandbox made from the original drive).

Are you suggesting that I reclone the original (non booting) drive to a new volume somewhere, and then clone back? What am I misunderstanding?

FWIW, I have a clone I made from the original volume shortly after creating the sandbox. That won't boot either (same issue...machine shuts down).

Right now, the only volumes I can boot from are the Sandbox and a month old backup (clone) of the original drive.

What would be the effect, if any, of "copying back" from the Sandbox to the original drive that now won't boot? Is that worth trying? Or are things likely to be sufficiently FUBAR that I should go back to the month old working volume and just rebuild forward from that?

dnanian 06-28-2008 05:35 PM

Yes, I'm suggesting you back up your drive (since that's where all your data is). Then, clone back from the Sandbox to the regular drive, to replace the system that doesn't boot with one that does.

camner 06-28-2008 05:38 PM

OK. Just to be clear (I just reread this in the User's Guide):

To clone back from the Sandbox, I select "Backup - all files" and "Smart Update".

This will NOT overwrite any data files, right? (yes, I WILL make a backup first before doing this!)

dnanian 06-28-2008 05:39 PM

Right, but in case you make a mistake, or something unexpected happens, back up. :-)

camner 06-28-2008 05:58 PM

Will do. I'll report back after I try this.

If the original drive then boots after being cloned back from the Sandbox, can I trust that the drive is in good shape?

dnanian 06-28-2008 06:26 PM

I think so, yes. Of course, I have no idea why it's having trouble at present in the first place.

camner 06-28-2008 07:16 PM

Some other interesting information (possibly)...

1. The machine will not boot in Safe Mode when Macintosh HD is the startup disk; machine shuts down during boot (but will if the Sandbox is the startup disk).

2. The backup of the original disk that also won't boot hangs Disk Warrior during "searching for directory". The "original disk" (Macintosh HD) has no trouble with Disk Warrior (only minor issues, such as missing icons and a couple of link files).

I'm still in the process of backing up....that always takes a while.

camner 06-28-2008 11:28 PM

OK, many hours later, I can report that upon cloning my Sandbox back to the original disk (after making a complete backup of the original disk), the original disk now boots.


dnanian 06-28-2008 11:33 PM

Hey, great to hear. Back it up immediately.

camner 06-29-2008 09:33 PM

Immediately after booting from the "original drive", I used SD! to clone it to another drive. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that there is nothing really wrong with that original drive, because "it boots" isn't the same as "everything is hunky dory!"

Thanks for all of your help.

camner 06-29-2008 11:37 PM

OK, a couple of issues I've discovered:

1. I had installed some new software (VMWare Fusion), with the app on the original disk and an alias on the Sandbox. I created the alias manually, so it wasn't a symlink created b SD! When I copied the Sandbox back to the original disk, it was copied as an alias (pointing to nothing, of course!), so I had to reinstall the software. Not a big deal.

2. When apps permanently in the dock were opened by double-clicking on a file (say, a Word document), a second instance the app appeared in the dock. I needed to delete the old dock apps. Also not a big deal.

3. Office apps needed to "reinitialize" themselves, as if they had been opened for the first time. Also not a big deal.

We'll see if anything else develops!

dnanian 06-30-2008 12:52 AM

Yes, the 'alias' issue is known: an alias is a file, whereas we use a symlink.

Double-dock icons is a bit unexpected, but the Dock's behavior in this area isn't always well defined, unfortunately.

camner 07-15-2008 01:42 AM

Update after vacation
What is really odd is that a variety of aliases on my hard drive (real aliases, not symlinks) now point to a backup drive rather than to my main drive. This is in addition to various dock icons pointing to my backup drive.

As a reminder, I started this thread with a problem booting off of my main drive (with no problems booting off of my Sandbox). To fix things, after making a backup (to an external drive, just to be safe), I copied my Sandbox back to my main drive.

This makes no sense to me. I don't use the backup drive except periodically to make an SD! clone.

I'm really torn between trying to fix bad links as they come up or going back to a month-old SD! backup (after saving my Desktop and Documents folders elsewhere to avoid losing work) and rebuilding things from there. That would be a lot of work, but perhaps safer?

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