How do I create a bootable external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by dena258, Dec 16, 2007.

  1. dena258 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    #1
    I have an iBook G4 running 10.4.11. I have been having trouble starting it up and disk utility says my hard drive is failing. I just bought a Maxtor external firewire hard drive. I don't understand that much about computers and some of the discussions I've read about partitions etc are totally confusing to me.

    Can someone tell me in easy terms, step by step, what I need to do to be able to boot my laptop from my external drive? If (or when) my hard drive dies on my laptop, will I be okay just running my computer from the external drive?
     
  2. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #2
    First of all, do you have all of your important/vital information backed up? That is your first priority.

    You can create an exact clone of your internal HD using Carbon Copy Cloner, and this will be a bootable copy. You just plug this drive in, and hold the "option" key during startup. This will allow you to select which drive to boot from.

    In theory, yes, you could just use your laptop this way, but still remember to keep backups.
     
  3. JudasX macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    #3
    SuperDuper is your answer

    Dena-

    You better backup your harddrive quick. The guts of your computer don't sound too healthy. To do this, I would strongly suggest against partitioning. Usually, partitioning just results in the user wishing they had more drive space on a partion slice, followed by re-backing up their work to a new partition while expanding the old one.

    Forget that.

    I say for ease of use, go check out SuperDuper! by shirpocket, which is awesome backup software. It's easy and I find more effective than carbon copy cloner. Do this and it will make a perfect bootable backup of your computer.

    If you want to go crazy in the future, check out backing up to a sparse disk image, that way your backup can fluctuate in size and you still have a "partitioned" hard drive.

    JudasX
     
  4. dena258 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    #4
    Thanks to both of you for replying so quickly. Yes, I have backed up my important files.

    But now I'm just a little confused between using Carbon Copy Cloner and Super Duper. I was just reading about both of them, CCC seems like a full version while SD is a trial version, which you can upgrade to the advanced features for $27.95. Will they both serve my purpose? Is one better than the other? Or is it just a matter of personal preference?
     
  5. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #5
    Both seem equally popular around here. Personally, I have not used either, so my advise is based purely on experiences from others.

    You are right, CCC is a full version while SD is a trail version, although the trial version of SD is comparable to the full version of CCC.

    ...Basically, I don't think it matters.
     
  6. JudasX macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    #6
    Well...Personally I only use the trial of SuperDuper! because I am constantly toying with a sparse image backup. I have no need for the full version of SD! because it just takes some patience to erase and rewrite 50GB of hard drive space.

    As far as superiority is concerned, I have heard from multiple sources that SD is better. CCC has been known to be slower, and less accurate. I personally have had hidden files turned invisible, and I really just like the simplicity of SuperDuper! Plus, the SD forum is extremely helpful and responsive.

    But don't take my word...check this site out:

    http://blog.plasticsfuture.org/2006/04/23/mac-backup-software-harmful/

    give this guy some credit for the work he did testing the backups. he was really thorough! hope it helps
     
  7. dena258 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 16, 2007
    #7
    So basically, I just download either CCC or SD onto my laptop, then clone a copy of it onto my external hard drive. Right?

    I just have one other problem I didn't mention. I don't know if I can restart my laptop by just holding down the option button to select the startup drive. The only way I could start it today was by resetting the PRAM. I'm afraid if I turn it off at this point I may not get it going again. Can I select the startup drive by using the System Preferences and clicking on "Target Disk Mode" ?

    Once I have the external as the startup, it woh't matter if my laptop's hard drive fails, will it?
     
  8. SawTooth500 macrumors member

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    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    Florence, Arizona
    #8
    Almost sounds like the PRAM battery is going bad.:D:apple:
     
  9. heatmiser macrumors 68020

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    Dec 6, 2007
    #9
    Yes. I use CCC, so I'd recommend that, but yes, that's the procedure.

    Yes--but be prepared for that not to work if your computer has startup trouble. In either case, you should just hold down the option key while booting to select the external.

    No, as long as the rest of your hardware works.
     
  10. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #10
    One thing that no-one has mentioned yet is that to make a bootable drive for a PPC Mac, it's got to be partitioned in Apple Partition Map.

    Once partitioned that way, it will not be bootable for an Intel Mac until erased and partitioned in GUID Partition Table scheme.

    These options are in Disk Utility>Partition>Options along with Master Boot Record...
     
  11. Butthead macrumors 6502

    Butthead

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    #11
    Depends on what we mean by 'start'. I cannot recall all the troubleshooting I did a few weeks ago before I gave up on my Pismo after installing a new RAM module from local Apple reseller (heh, maybe I shorted out the CPU daughter card, with static electricity, or the hundreds or so micro sized gold plated pin contacts were lose for the CPU daughter card socket?) and just ordered a TiBook to replace it. You can boot to a certain point in the startup procedure, even with a HD not installed (forget how far you get, but basically on my Pismo, I had the system booting up and then shortly thereafter it would freeze and shut down like the power supply wasn't working), I disconnected my Pismo HD (every easy to do on that model, not so on later models) and tried holding down the option key to get a flashing folder ? icon, but I could not get farther than the startup chime sound. Transfered the 133Mhz RAM module from the Pismo to the TiBook, so I know I did not kill the RAM with static electricity installing that, something else like logic board failure or PS failure was keeping it from starting up. Meh, I needed to upgrade anyway, Tibook is so much nicer than the old Pismo, much brighter screen, just fan runs almost all the time with a 1Ghz G4...this will last me until OS 10.6, then I have to give up booting into OS9.2.2 (yeah, I have issues).

    Could be, but OP says DU says HD is failing...which may, or may not be accurate :) If it is in fact a HD failing, installing a new one is a nightmare proposition compared to other models...basically you have to do a full tear down of the system to get at the HD. Better to have an authorized Apple repair facility do this install. Unless you never plan to use the iBook for it's portability, you are going to want to have a bad internal drive replaced.

    Guild to DIY ibook HD replacement, read it and weep:

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/iBook-G4-14-Inch/Hard-Drive-Replacement/84/15/

    But the OP has a PPC G4, can you select an GUID Partition scheme from DU when on a PPC, or does DU determine if your system is a PPC, and only allow APM?
     
  12. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #12

    For internal drives, I'm not sure for kinda obvious reasons, because why would you want to setup an internal drive with OSX on it that you couldn't boot? In other words, I haven't tried. ;)

    But for externals, you certainly can access all three options from Disk Utility, unless Tiger for PPCs is restricted in some way. Found this out the hard way once, when I couldn't boot a cloned drive on someone's Intel iMac because it was partitioned Apple Partition Map, even though the Intel OSX install, apps etc, and all cloned over perfectly.

    This is valid even if the drive only has one partition on it, by the way.

    So, just a word to wise.
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303220
     
  13. Hicks. macrumors regular

    Hicks.

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Quick question if I may; am I right in thinking that you cannot boot from a USB external hard drive?

    Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but I'm starting to worry about my own backup system reading this thread!
     
  14. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #14
    Only if you have a PPC Mac. Otherwise, you can.
     
  15. Hicks. macrumors regular

    Hicks.

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    Great so I can boot up and restore from a standard SuperDuper backup (using my usb passport hard drive)! I think i'm gonna ditch time machine...
     
  16. dena258 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    #16
    I just used Super Drive to try and back up my laptop's hard drive onto the Maxtor One Touch external. I set up the Maxtor following their directions which automatically put a HFS+partition on the Maxtor.

    It all seemed to be going fine, but about a half hour in I got an error message which read as follows:

    Error/SDCopy:Error"Invalid argument" encountered while setting HFS meta data for /Volumes/OneTouch4/Applications/iSync.app/Contents/Resources/French.lproj/iSyncHelp/gfx/iscic.png of type:8


    On the Super Drive window it said:
    Failed to copy files from iBook to One Touch4
    105,817 of 337631 files evaluated, 103,369 files copied. Effective copy speed 4.64MB/s 6.53GB evaluated, 0.00MB already up to date, 6.47GB copied.

    None of this really means anything to me except that I realize it didn't work. Any ideas of where I go from here? Do I try CCC? Do I erase what was already copied on my Maxtor?
     
  17. heatmiser macrumors 68020

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    Dec 6, 2007
    #17
    I would (to both questions).
     
  18. dena258 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 16, 2007
    #18
    Since Super Drive was open I decided to just try it again, this time it only got to the second step and I got an error message that said "Failed to repair permissions on iBookHD" What does this mean and is there any way around it?
     
  19. dena258 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    #19
    I just used CCC and it also did not work. I got the big exclamation point error message that said Device Removal The device you removed was not properly put away. Data may have been lost or damaged etc. This might have happened the first time with SD. I thought the copying would take a while so I went to do some other things and when I came back the other error message was there. The Device Removal error message didn't stay on the screen that long so I might have missed it the first time.

    The drive was not disconnected, the firewire is still connected between the iBook and the Maxtor, the Maxtor light is still on etc. Nothing was touched or moved during the backup.

    The last 2 error messages on the CCC log were:

    An error message occurred while copying/var:No such file or directory
    copy/SourceToTarget: The file-level copy failed., Error code:140

    CCC failed to remount the volume that was previously mounted at/Volumes/OneTouch4., Error code:-36

    Any ideas where I go from here?
     
  20. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #20
    I'd restart and try again--without doing anything before you try (no other programs, etc; just opening the backup prog and using it).
     
  21. bonk macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    #21
    new startup disk in a mac pro

    I'm attempting to upgrade my mac pro - switch to a 10k raptor drive for the OS and a RAID-0 of 2 500gb for a photoshop scratch disk. I used superduper to clone my startup disk onto the raptor, but when I try to boot from it, it gets to the apple and sits and spins. I can still boot to the original system folder by holding option. disk utility says there's nothing wrong with the new drive. does it matter which bay the startup drive is in? I assume it's smarter than that. any other thoughts? I zapped the PRAM and it booted - but I think it defaulted to the original drive - when I tried restarting again from the raptor, it just hung.
     
  22. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #22
    It's pretty obvious what you should do. BACKUP your files NOW!! Burn them to a CD or DVD, upload them to an online server, copy them to your external drive, or whatever, but do it soon. It may already be too late if the disk is corrupt. If you have a hardware failure (and I suspect you do), then CCC or SD will not work. You will have to salvage what you can, install your OS and all software programs from scratch to your external drive, make your external your startup disk (System Preferences-->Startup Disk), and then buy a new internal HD and format it, then clone your external to your internal using CCC or SD, then use the external as backup (either fully clone every week or so for free--do it overnight), or pay for a program which will constantly update and backup only changes between the two hard drives. [Now THAT my friends is a run-on sentence!]
     
  23. dena258 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    #23
    Just to update...
    My hard drive died as I was in the middle of cloning it to the external hard drive. I had already backed up all my files on CDs so I didn't lose anything important. I got a new drive installed by Apple so now I am up and running again, with my external as my back up. Thanks to everyone that helped me out!
     

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