Formatting my harddrive

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by elliotay, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. elliotay macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2001
    How do you go about reformatting your hard drive and making partitions? What are the benifits of doing this? Just curious if I should do this in my 500mHz iBook running OS X 10.2.1 Thanks
  2. Dave Marsh macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sacramento, CA
    Formatting Hard Drive

    Good question. Back in the olden days when the MacOS wasn't so stable, I typically reformatted, then partitioned my hard drive using the best utility I had at the time, just so I could separate my system stuff from my applications, and my data from both. Then, if (actually, WHEN) the system bought the dust, I wouldn't risk losing any data. For today's Mac HD's, I'd recommend you use only the Apple provided tools. I've read on several forums about people having problems with MacOS X installers not working properly on drives formatted with third party utilities.

    With MacOS X, many would probably argue that partitioning's no longer necessary. However, I still like the idea of separating my data from my system stuff on different partitions. So, on my iBook, I've created three for MacOS X and all its applications, one for MacOS 9 and its applications (and this one is identified for Classic in MacOS X), and one for all my data files. This configuration permits me to reboot into another partition, if my startup partition dies for some reason. It also permits me to run utilities to fix the ailing partition without resorting to a much slower CD startup approach.

    So, how'd I do this? Out of the box I rebooted my new iBook with the OS X installer CD. Once this booted up, I quit the automatically running installer and selected the disk tools on the CD to reformat and repartition the hard drive in the iBook to the sizes I wanted (on my 30GB HD, I reserved 15GB for MacOS X Startup, 5GB for Classic Startup, and the rest for my Data partition). Then I rebooted with my MacOS 9 installer disk, and built the Classic partition up to MacOS 9.2.2 (this involved installing the version on the CD, then running Software Update until I had the latest MacOS 9 versions of everything). Next, I rebooted with the MacOS X installer CD to create the system on the MacOS X Startup partition, again running the Software Update app from completed MacOS X Startup partition until no new updates popped up. When that was done, I rebooted into the final updated MacOS X Startup partition, went into System Preferences and selected the Classic Startup partition for Classic to use.

    Next, I installed all the applications I used in MacOS X and MacOS 9 on their respective partitions by booting into those partitions and running the appropriate installers. I then copied over the network the data files I wanted from my desktop Mac to my Data partition. (In MacOS 9, I actually just copied the appropriate apps folders and their respective Preferences files from the System folder on the desktop Mac over the network. For MacOS X, I actually ran the installers, since I'm not sure where everything goes. As an aside, I'd recommend that you NOT move your applications around in OS X...leave them where the installer puts them. That's, of course, not ever necessary in OS 9.)

    This setup permitted me to run Norton Utilities Disk Doctor and Speed Disk from the OS 9 partition to clean up and repair the OS X partition, and vice versa. In spite of what a lot of people say, the hard disk gets VERY defragmented in OS X, and I like to keep it tuned as well as possible to get the most out of my laptop. I run Norton Utilities every week or so just to keep everything clean. And yes, Norton does find and repair stuff every week, even when everything seemed to be working just fine.

    I've taken this whole process one step further by creating a Firewire HD with a MacOS X startup partition, and a bunch of empty partitions to use for backups. Then I plug the Firewire drive into the laptop, reboot from the Firewire HD, run Norton from there, then run Retrospect Express to create duplicates of each partition on the iBook respectively on each of the empty partitions on the Firewire HD. This gives me the emergency backup I'd need if my iBook is ever stolen or its HD is physically damaged.

    I hope this helps.:D
  3. Pepzhez macrumors regular

    Jan 23, 2002
    I too have an OS X partition on one of my Firewire HDs, which is useful both as a backup and a great way to experiment with new software (especially *nix apps).

    Here is a fantastic, free utility to clone an entire OS X setup to another HD:

    With Carbon Copy Cloner, you can duplicate your entire HD onto another in about 10 minutes or so. Just make sure you run a disk utility (repair signatures, etc - and it's a good idea to optimize also) on your newly cloned OS X partition afterwards. This utility also works equally well cloning OS 9 and Linux drives.

    I heard about Carbon Copy Cloner from a student at the university I teach at. He spends his days in the Mac labs, copying entire HDs onto his ipod with the aid of this app. Not that I'd recommend doing that! (And, no, I don't own an ipod either ...)

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