Backing Up To Bootable ISO File

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by htg, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. htg macrumors regular

    May 2, 2009
    I want to backup my Macbook Pro and Windows/Ubuntu machine. Here's what I'd ideally like to do: back them up to a cross platform readable file (ISO?), so I can access the data on any machine, be it Mac or PC.

    I could also if I wanted simply boot from the Mac ISO if I was on a Mac or the Ubuntu or Windows ISO if I was on my other machine.

    So the question: How do I do it?

    I tried creating a .dmg image of my Macbook Pro last night, but when I double clicked it it said that no mountable systems were found. Did I do anything wrong?

    Also, I don't want to burn anything to a CD. I simply want to store the three ISO files on an external hard drive.
  2. orvn macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    Toronto, Canada
    You can use Carbon Copy Cloner or Super Duper to clone your drive (while running it) to a destination that's a DMG image on your external drive (or your local drive, if it has enough space).

    Or is this what you already tried to do? If so, why don't you just partition your external disk and copy each of your OS's one-by-one (using Carbon Copy for OSX). Then you could just boot from the partition of your choice through the external drive. No disk images needed.
  3. mfram macrumors 65816

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    I don't think what you're describing is even technically possible. Each operating system wants to boot with its native filesystem. Not ISO. You aren't going to get a "live" boot with ISO on any of the operating systems you mentioned.

    In all cases when you 'boot' from a CD/DVD on each of those operating system there's a special startup sequence where data is unpacked from the DVD onto an internal RAM disks running the native filesystem. Given that's the case, your boot isn't going to see your 'backed up' data. And you certainly won't be able to get to the data cross-platform.

    Either you back up all you data to a CD/DVD using ISO/UDF so that you can read it cross-platform. Or you somehow construct some kind of bootable image on the DVD. You aren't going to get both at the same time.

    Theoretically you could make a DVD boot image with your data on Linux if you worked hard enough at it. But Windows and Mac don't provide any method to do that.

    Having said all that, the multiple boot option is probably best done by having external hard drives that you can boot off of for each OS. Then put your data on a CD/DVD. That's probably the closet you will get to your original request.

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