Is anyone familiar with Phoenix?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Mr-iMac, Jul 6, 2013.

  1. Mr-iMac macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    #1
    I'm new to this forum. I've been lurking for years but never posted. I wasn't sure where to post this, so I'm posting it here.

    I know there are a number of users of Scannerz drive testing tool on here. That company released a product named Phoenix that can create boot drives and do basic cloning. I was wondering if anyone is familiar with it and can tell me if what I need it for will work.

    Here's the problem: I have a 2006 iMac that I like. It's not compatible with Mountain Lion, so I'm running Lion and Snow Leopard on it. The unit has an optical DVD Super Drive in it and it's failed (again). This is the third time this has happened. I've replaced it twice myself, but DVD-RW units seem to me to be too unreliable to be trusted.

    Phoenix says it can extract the OS from a working volume and put it onto another volume or USB Flash drive and then be used to re-install the OS if needed. Some of their stuff says the minimum size of a volume for doing this should be 32GB. Here's a link to it for anyone interested:

    http://scsc-online.com/Phoenix.html

    Here are my questions:

    1. Does this thing really work?
    2. Do I understand it properly? Can it really create a like new installation from an existing operating system?
    3. Do you really need a 32GB volume?
    4. Any special precautions for putting it onto a USB Flash drive?

    What I want to do is extract my Snow Leopard volume and put it onto a USB flash drive because I obviously can't use my DVD anymore and I'm not opening that thing up yet again to replace it and have it fail after about a year.

    Thanks.

    Moderators, if this is in the wrong place or you move it to another forum, please let me know. I just couldn't think of the right place to put it.
     
  2. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2012
    #2
    I got it with the recent update of Scannerz. Our company has a site license with SCSC so as you might guess we use their stuff a lot. Here are the answers to your questions:

    1,Does this thing really work?

    Yes.

    2. Do I understand it properly? Can it really create a like new installation from an existing operating system?

    Yes. I'm guessing the program has a manifest embedded into it for each OS and then copies what's on the hard drive onto the other drive. BUT....it also copies some keychain info, serial numbers, network settings, etc. When they say don't use it for bootlegging they mean it. You'd just be pointing a finger right at yourself if you do.

    3. Do you really need a 32GB volume?

    It depends on the OS. Mountain Lion is a pig that eats up over 15GB of basic storage. Leopard is too, but it has the excuse of having bloated binaries because its PPC/Intel universal. We've gotten Snow Leopard and Lion boot volumes made with less than 9GB if memory serves me.

    I think the 32GB requirement comes from allowing space for the OS, allowing space for OS updates and their expansion, allowing for swap, and maybe even allowing for the sleepimage file. I've seen some updates from Apple be on the order of gigabytes and to extract and install I think you can safely assume they end up using 2X their original size.

    If you just intend to use the boot volume as an emergency e-disk or whatever and never update it, I think you could get away with 16GB for Lion and Snow Leopard. No way for Mountain Lion or Leopard.

    4. Any special precautions for putting it onto a USB Flash drive?

    If you create anything with Leopard you have to manually set the ownership of the volume. I'm guessing thats because it's the only OS supporting Apple partition maps.

    The only precaution is to be aware of is that USB Flash drives are not anywhere near as fast as regular hard drives and not even remotely close to SSDs. You might want to consider splitting a volume on an external drive instead. We can extract a Phoenix Boot Volume onto an external HD in 20-30 minutes and be up and running. It took us over an hour to do the exact same thing with a USB flash drive. After the OS is installed, we can boot the new HD just like a regular one, whereas the USB flash just crawls along. I would rate the performance of a USB Flash drive to be in between trying to run a system off an optical drive (slow) and running it on a hard drive (fast).

    With all that said, Phoenix is a good choice for anyone with optical drives. You can get a 32GB USB Flash drive for about $16 if you shop around. In the event your system fails and you need to re-install the OS, a USB flash based version will be able to do it in an hour or so.

    I don't know how many times in the past we've needed to do a reinstall on the system, get the media out, insert it into an optical drive and have the optical drives promptly spit them out because they've decided to stop working.

    I hope this answers all your questions.
     

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