Backing up HD in preparation for Tiger-Leopard upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Paulyboy, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Paulyboy macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2007

    I have a 1st generation 24" iMac running OS 10.4.11 with a 250GB internal HD that's around 90% full. I just bought an Iomega UltraMax 500 GB Desktop Hard Drive FW 400/USB 2.0 and a copy of OS 10.5.4.

    Before I upgrade I'd like to clone my HD and put the clone on the Iomega drive just in case the Leopard installation/upgrade has any issues.

    After the installation/upgrade is complete I'd like to use the Iomega drive with Time Machine. Should I then just delete the clone on the Iomega drive so Time Machine has the entire drive to work with or keep it? Ultimately I wouldn't mind using a small portion of the Iomega drive to free up space on my internal HD for a Windows partition. Time Machine would still use most of the Iomega drive.

    Finally, it seems my choice of cloning software is Retrospect Express (included with the Iomega drive), Carbon Copy Cloner, or SuperDuper. I already tried doing it with Disk Utility and it didn't work even though I've successfully verified and repaired both disks. Kept getting the same error message.

    I'm new to all of this which is why I'm asking. I've never actually installed a new OS. I've always gotten new OSes with new Macs I've purchased so never had to do anything but use Migration Assistant.

    If I understand correctly I could use Migration Assistant with a cloned startup disk after perfoming a clean install of Leopard and that would restore everything back onto my startup disk into Leopard?

    However, I might just do a basic install. Either way cloning my startup drive first seems like the safe thing to do.

    Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)

  2. kainjow Moderator emeritus


    Jun 15, 2000
    I've never used Migration Assistant, so I wouldn't know if that'd work or not, but as for cloning your HD, SuperDuper works great. I've been using it for backup for over 3.5 years and it hasn't failed me once.

    When you install Leopard you don't need to wipe your drive. You can just do an upgrade and it'll give you a new System folder but just update your Users folder and Applications. That should work fine unless you specifically want to start with a clean slate.
  3. sixfingeredman macrumors newbie

    Sep 19, 2008
  4. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Well you have a lot of questions but it is good that you are asking first! ;)

    So the first thing I would say, naturally, is something you did not ask about- that being how is the Iomega drive formatted (select the single partition on it in the left column in Disk Utility and look at the information that appears at the bottom of the window).

    It is not uncommon for drives to come formatted for immediate Windows use so it may well read that the format is NTFS or FAT32. If so, then select the device in the left window (the line above the partition) and check the "Partition Map Scheme" in the info at the bottom this time. If it reads "Master Boot Record" it is a Windows partition map which is normal if the format is NTFS or FAT32.

    If that is the case, you need to select the device, then use the Partition tab to erase and repartition it to have a GUID partition map (selected in the "Options" button at the bottom) and a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.

    Ok so now onto the routine that would probably work best in this situation. I think you would be best served by simply cloning your internal onto the Iomega with Carbon Copy Cloner. SuperDuper can do a full clone in the free demo mode, but is limited in some other functions if not paid/registered so that is one reason I am suggesting CCC. CCC is donation-ware so is unlimited in the free mode (but I would sure recommend a little payment to the author for his work!). Personally I am not a fan of Restrospect (both the full and Express versions) after having it let me down several times.

    So you make sure your Iomega is formatted and has the right type of partition map- so then fire up CCC and do a clone. The best thing before you continue is to test the clone- by restarting your Mac and holding the Option key right after you hear the startup chime until you see a grey screen come up that should list your internal drive and the Iomega since that screen lists all bootable devices attached to your system. Select the Iomega and see if it boots correctly with it. Assuming it does (and you mess around with it a little to double check) then you can be fully confident that you will be covered should anything blow up in your face in the upgrade process.

    As far as the installation type, while I do sometimes use an "upgrade" type I am really more a fan of a clean install (the "Erase and Install" type in Applespeak) since the upgrade type has far more points of potential problem spots in the end. I really don't think you have enough free space to consider an "Archive and Install" type, so will skip that. A clean install will make sure that only the files you need are installed, and yes you can use migration assistant to move stuff back over from a clone on the external since it will see that as a separate drive.
  5. Paulyboy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2007
    Thanks for your detailed suggestions. :)

    The Iomega external drive was already Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format with an Apple Partitition Map partition scheme. But it is still good to know this because now I know how to reformat it after I erase the drive so I can use it with Time Machine. I'll probably make a seperate 50 gig partition on it to free up space for a potential Windows partition on my internal drive. If I use Bootcamp will it erase my entire internet drive just to make a small Windows partition? Or do I just have to make sure my internal drive has enough free space and the Windows partition would just be created on that?

    I successfully used CCC To clone my internal drive (startup disk) onto my external drive. Unfortunately the external drive doesn't seem to boot but everything looks like it's on there and applications run off of it and so on. I can select is as the boot disk on startup but it just kind of hangs shortly after that. I don't know why it won't boot but since everything is on there I feel confident that I have a good (very) temporary backup.

    I'm probably going to use the "Upgrade" option. It's clearly the easiest and I want to spend as little time as possible getting everything working. I realize a clean install is the most efficient method but I have much I need to do so need to get up and running quickly. I recently went through my home and application folders and cleared out tons of junk in preparation for this so I think the "Upgrade" option will work fine.

    Thanks again. :)

  6. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    Clone your drive.
    Upgrade to Leopard (couldn't be more easy).
    Setup Time Machine on your external and erase the drive completely.
    If any problems in the future you can restore from your last Time Machine backup.

    Seriously, its all so easy to do.
  7. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Just a couple more notes- actually you answered your own question regarding the boot problem. Your drive has an Apple Partition Map as you noted, but that is only good for booting older PowerPC based Macs (see the attached pic of the box that pops up when you choose Options in the Partition tab of Disk Utility for details). You can see from that why I originally said you need a GUID partition map for your 1st gen, 24" iMac since it is Intel based! ;)

    A couple of quick notes about Boot Camp- first off, yes it needs to be on your internal drive and no it will not erase your existing data when the Boot Camp Assistant sets up the Windows partition, but you will need to create adequate space on your internal!. Apple's Boot Camp Support page is a great source on info, including a good downloadable installation guide BTW.

    Now one thing about your upgrade choice (which is fine and I realize why- which is the same reason I have used it at some points) that could affect the success of your Boot Camp assistant after you upgrade to Leopard. When the Boot Camp Assistant runs, it requires a block of disk space on your drive the size of the partition you tell it to make but it needs to be contiguous space- that is, one continuous block of free space.

    The reason I bring that up is that since your drive is now so full, erasing enough files to free up enough space is not really going to be enough, since the space freed up will be all over the disk. While under normal use that is no problem, it will not be all in one block like Boot Camp needs.

    So the simplest way to get it all back (without using a commercial program like iDefrag which has its own dangers) is to do what you have done so far by creating a bootable backup (after fixing the partition map problem noted above), booting from it and then erasing your internal drive and restoring it from the backup before upgrading. This will probably lead to a smoother upgrade too, BTW. Since you have erased the internal and restored it from the backup, the files will now be in order and the free space will be one blg block-- and Boot Camp will be happy! :)

    One last thing- when you are repartitioning your external as you will need to in order to correct the partition map, you might want to consider making two partitons while you are at it. One the same size as your internal drive to KEEP a backup of your internal (which can be updated periodically with CCC after you do the upgrade and it is running well) and a second for Time Machine backup. A lot of people recommend a dual headed backup scheme for your most important data (which in your case is your whole internal) for two reasons: first TM is not infallible and second because having a CCC clone would allow you to boot from it and get right back to work without missing a beat (if you keep it up to date) should your internal drive fail and you are waiting for a replacement. You cannot boot from a Time Machine backup, so that alone makes maintaining a CCC clone a really good idea!

    OK so I lied- that was more than a couple more notes, but I hope it helps anyway! :eek:

    Attached Files:

  8. Paulyboy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2007
    If I change the external to a GUID partition map will that erase the disk and force me to clone my internal drive all over again?

    Ugh, I didn't think this would be so complicated. Actually I understand everything you've saidt pretty well but I have to wonder what non-tech savvy people do? Probably just insert the Leopard DVD, hit "Upgrade" and that's it. :)

    Thank you so much for all your help. :)

  9. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Hi- Yes, unfortunately changing the partition map as you need to does erase the disk in the process of the change. :( Sorry- no way around that. Should have made that clearer in my explanation now that I look back on it.

    As far as what non-tech-savvy people do is to just go ahead and try something and then seek help to fix it when it fails! ;) Since you were asking some reasonable questions ahead of doing something, I think you should get a good explanation to help you avoid problems ahead of time- and a chance to learn a little more about why certain recommendations are made too! Big shock here-- I used to teach. :D

    Now keep in mind that I was just telling you a way to avoid what I am pretty certain will be a problem when you run the Boot Camp Assistant after your upgrade, given your current drive fill level and such. Don't take that as a certainty- there is a slim chance that Boot Camp Assistant may be able to make the partition right after upgrading. My money is on no though, so wanted to give you a way ahead of time to make sure it would work right if you chose that path!

    You can just go ahead and update (after you have fixed the partition map problem and re-cloned and tested your clone that is- that part is not optional!) and try BC. If it works, great- but if it doesn't (and gives you an error message), then come back and let us know and we will suggest fixes at that point! Good luck with the project- now off to fix the partition map and get your drive cloned again!
  10. Paulyboy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 26, 2007
    My upgrade to Leopard looks like it worked flawlessly. Everything seems to be working and nothing is missing. Since I don't need to use Windows right away here's what I've decided to do with Bootcamp and that potential partition map problem. After much research I found about these two methods and either seems to be the best suited for me:

    1) Using Disk Utility, shrink your main drive by the desired windows partition size. Click the Physical Drive, select the Partition tab, and resize the main partition by dragging the corner of the graphical partition representation. Click apply. This operation may take a long time, because it moves all the files at the end of the drive to other places on the drive.

    Even though you now have free space at the end of the drive, Boot Camp Assistant will not use it (it wants to resize your main partition).

    2) Now use Disk Utility to expand the main drive to fill the entire disk. This effectively reverses the change you made in step 1, but no files are using the space at the end of the drive anymore. Click Apply. This should go faster than step 1. Close Disk Utility.

    3) Using Boot Camp Assistant, create the Windows partition. Choose a partition size no larger than the amount you shrunk your main partition in step 1. Your Windows partition will finally be created.


    Back up your HD using Time Machine. Boot from Leopard installation disk and format the entire HD (OSx format). Run Boot Camp from Leopard Installation disk and create the Windows Partition and Install Windows. Once that is done then Boot From Leopard Installation disk again and restore the OSx parition with the Leopard backup that you created via Time Machine.

    Both of these methods seem pretty reasonable and people have done them successfully. So I ended up making only one partition on my 500 GB external drive letting Time Machine use that entire drive. I have an older 40 GB external drive that I don't really use for anything anymore so I decided if I want to use Windows I'll use that drive to create more space on my internal drive for the Windows partition. Then I'll use one of the two methods listed above to clear the partition map for the Boot Camp installation.

    Thanks to you I would have never known about that potential partition map problem and never researched it. After reading so much about it, including what you said, I have to agree that I think it's likely there would have been a problem. So thanks again. I've really learned a lot and this knowledge should come in handy in the future. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  11. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Can I throw in a relatively short one here? ;)

    Glad to hear the upgrade went ok first off- that is good to hear!

    As to the additional methods you researched, it just shows there is more than one way to do anything on a Mac! Of the two methods you mentioned I would certainly be far more likely to want to rely on trying the first method, and not so much on the second but wanted tell you why.

    The first method in theory will work, but you may very well not be able to shrink the main partition adequately in the first place due to a message along the lines of "certain files can not be moved" (I can't remember the exact phrase but that is close) in regards to a few very large system cache files, but again that is conjecture based on past experiences. ;)

    The second method would be far more concerning to me and I personally would not use it. The reason I say this that Time Machine is, ummmmm, "quirky" in its operation. Since you cannot test a backup in Time Machine due to the fact that you cannot boot from it to try it, that combined with the "quirks" would not give me any confidence that the restore to your internal disk could be done successfully from a TM backup. The CCC clone variation of this that I suggested (which is quite similar) would be far safer since you can boot directly from the clone to make sure it is a valid working backup before you move on to the next step. SO- just substitute CCC for Time Machine in that process, add a step to test the backup before proceeding, and it would then become my first choice of the two methods you described. ;)

    Anyway, good luck with the rest of the process whichever way you do it later! Hope all goes well. :)

Share This Page