Getting my new MP today & need advice re which method to use to restore my old drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by The3rdMan, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. The3rdMan macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008
    Long story short, last week my MP caused two drives to fail - one of which was my bootup disk. I am getting my new MP today in the mail and am trying to figure out which method to use to restore my old drive and all my data.

    I have Time Machine set up on an external drive but the last time I updated was two weeks ago because of other issues with my system (that aren't important to this discussion). I also managed to clone my failing drive. I first tried to repair the disk using disk utility but got the message that it was beyond repair and I needed to save what data I could and format the disk. It took days because the disk would constantly eject while cloning or not mount at all but I finally managed to transfer over what data was left (which I think was all of it, judging by the size of the transfer). I formatted the disk and disk utility now says it is fine (which was surprising because the two other drives I had fail on me cannot even be mounted).

    So should I risk using the cloned disk to restore my system on the new MP or just use my two week old TM backup to do the job? Id hate to lose the data and other changes I made over the last two weeks but not at the cpst of installing an unstable copy.

    *As a side issue, how safe is it to use my reformatted disk? I would only be using it for a third backup of my media but before I erased it, it wouldn't even mount half the time and would freeze most of the time it did mount. Did erasing and formatting take care of the issues or will it always be unstable?
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Personally, I'd opt for a clean install, and manually install your apps then use TM to restore your data. That's just me but you'll have a clean machine free of cruft going that route though it requires more work on your part.
  3. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    I'd run Migration from the Time Machine backup, then mount the clone & pull over any more recent data that you need.
  4. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    It depends on the actual underlying reason for the failure.

    It could be just a software and/or usage problem that was introduced and went uncorrected. If uncorrected, certain types of file-system corruption can eventually lead to uncorrectable data loss. The corrupted data propagates, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, as changes are made over time.

    However, if the hard disk is starting to fail, then that will only get worse over time, and you'd be trusting your backups to a degrading disk. Not even a SMART test can identify some disk failures. Usually the disk starts getting errors, which it can recover from after re-reading. But eventually re-reading doesn't work (fails after N attempts), or takes too long (every block must be re-read 20 or more times to succeed).

    Unfortunately, you didn't describe any symptoms of anything leading up to the disk failure, so I have no idea which of the above is more likely. Even with detailed symptom description, all anyone can do is make a guess.

    If you're willing to trust backups to guessing, then go ahead and reuse the disk. If it's only a third backup, though, I'm not sure I see the point. The reliability is questionable, and all your other backups would need to fail first, before you had to fall back to... a questionable backup. I'd want my backup-of-last-resort to be ultra-reliable, or as far from questionable as possible.
  5. The3rdMan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2008
    So if it was a software issue then I would be migrating it over to my new MP when I restore my old drive's data to it? Can you suggest a tool to diagnose any software issues?

    Basically I would have random freezes until it wouldn't restart. Took it into the Genius bar but all they could diagnose is that the temp sensor on my RAM riser was being wacky. They couldn't even mount the hard drive to diagnose it...which is why Im shocked I managed to eventually clone all the data. I thought it was dead.

    Pretty sure the problems stemmed from a heating issue from new Nemix RAM I recently installed (same thing happened to a macbook pro a year way its just a coincidence) which is why I suspect a hardware problem and not software. But I'd really like a way to figure out if there are any issues with a). the now empty hard drive that disk utility says is fine, and more importantly b). the software from the clone drive I would be bringing over to my new system.

    And my explanation for what I would do with the now empty drive was rather poor. I thought it was trash and I already have TM and have purchased a cloud back-up system so I was thinking Id use this extra 500 GB drive to clone my photo drive for an emergency but that would be overkill...or just in case I ever do need extra storage. I actually don't need it at all...I have a total of 5 TB in a multibay external enclosure and thats only half used. I was really just wondering if this drive should be used at all or just to trash it.
  6. snerkler macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2012
    I didn't realise you could do this, I've always just restored from time machine. How do you just install data from time machine? is this just files and folders etc, or does it recreate your old system, ie put all the data and preferences back to where they were?

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