After restoring Sierra backup with SuperDuper! I can't edit Safari prefs

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by EugW, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. EugW macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    So this has happened multiple times now, and it's very strange. But it's such a minor inconsequential thing.

    Every single time I clone a drive with SuperDuper! I can no longer edit the Safari preferences on the new cloned drive. For example, I cannot change the home page. It just refuses to change. I read online you can correct this by deleting the plist preferences file, but sometimes the file is not even there.

    Safari works fine otherwise. This seems rather drastic, but each time I've simply just gone into recovery mode and reinstalled the OS. Fortunately, on SSD machines, it goes quickly, and the data is preserved too. Then after that, no issues.

    Is this a permissions thing? If so, how to correct it? I note that there is no way to fix permissions in Disk Utility anymore. Is it a problem with SuperDuper!? I am running the latest version. Would Carbon Copy Cloner work better?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Just a thought, might help, might not, but:
    I would search for, and then delete, as many Safari ".plist" files as you can locate within your home folder.
  3. treekram macrumors 65832

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    It would help to know what computer you're cloning from/to. Your signature indicates you have two new 2017 Macs. You shouldn't clone from any older Macs to these new Macs at this point. It's probably OK (but not for certain) to clone between your two 2017 Macs. Likewise, cloning from these two new 2017 Macs to an older Mac should be avoided at this point. If you're taking a cloned external disk and cloning back to the original computer, it would help to understand why you would do this (multiple times?) if your drive hasn't failed.

    If you perform the cloning operation while apps are open, that may cause a problem because there may be open files. If that's not convenient, you'd have to find out if CCC is better than SuperDuper! at mitigating these issues.

    Also, if by chance, you're cloning to an active system drive, that shouldn't be done as well unless you're just selectively copying as opposed to cloning the whole disk. I wouldn't think that SuperDuper! would allow that but I'm not familiar with how it works.
  4. EugW thread starter macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2017
    I had an old 2010 Core i7 870 iMac, running Sierra 10.12.5, build 16F73.
    I then got a new 2017 Core i7-7700K iMac, and it came with Sierra 10.12.5, but it was build 16F2073.

    Using SuperDuper!, I cloned the 2010 iMac's drive to a backup, but that backup would not boot the new 2017 iMac, because of the new build version required.

    So then what I did is use Migration Assistant to transfer the data from my 2010's backup over to the 2017. Everything worked fine, but I could not change the home page of Safari. Furthermore, there was no plist for Safari to be found, so I couldn't delete that plist file either. (Everything I found online that described how to fix this issue in Safari centered around deleting the plist file.) Eventually, I just reinstalled macOS and everything was fixed.


    I used the 2017 iMac for a week and then decided the i7-7700K was too loud under load, so I prepped it for a return. I cloned that 16F2073 build of 10.12.5 onto a backup drive again, and re-cloned that backup back to the 2010 iMac. Again, this was using SuperDuper!. Again, everything worked fine, but I couldn't change the Safari homepage.


    Then my quieter 2017 iMac i5-7600 arrived one week later. I then re-backed up the 2010 iMac (since it had been in use for a week) to a backup drive, and used migration assistant from that backup drive to get my data onto the new 2017 iMac i5.

    Again I couldn't change the Safari homepage, and there was no plist to be found. So again I went into recovery mode and reinstalled macOS, and now everything is perfect.
  5. treekram macrumors 65832

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    If everything is working fine and you're just looking for an explanation - I would say something in the clone to the 2010 iMac was the issue. The OS build on the new 2017 Mac's wasn't meant for the older Macs. That's not to say that it wouldn't work, but there could be issues. Once there's a Sierra update (10.12.6), then the possible issues will be minimized. It could also be a bug in the Migration Assistant.

    Going forward, if you need to return the computer, even after the Sierra update, the most reliable way to do the clone is to boot from an external disk and then clone your internal disk to another external disk. That's not to say cloning from an active disk to an external disk won't work, it's just there's less chance of issues of you're cloning from a disk not running an OS at the moment to another non-system disk.
  6. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    Have you tried migrating from a Time Machine backup?
  7. panjandrum macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2009
    United States
    I am now encountering this same issue with every system I've used Migration Assistant to migrate over the past 4 weeks or so. Until recently I thought somehow a restriction had somehow been turned-on in Profile Manager (education environment), but that turned out not to be the issue as it has now impacted two un-managed systems unrelated to said educational environment.

    Basically, to reiterate the OP's issue: Migrate a user from one machine to another either directly, or from a Time-Machine backup, and it will not be possible to change the Home Page or default Search Engine in Safari. In my case I've also used Carbon Copy Cloner in one case, with the same result. This is happening both under Sierra and High Sierra. I have tried an "in place" reinstall of the OS - which also doesn't fix the issue.

    My current fix? Unfortunately, as is happening far, far to often over the past several years, I've simply moved away from Apple's increasingly unreliable software - switching the default browser on those systems to Firefox.

    Still, if anyone has a fix I'm sure those of us seeing this issue would be happy to hear about it! Thanks!

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