Restoring from backup

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Philip S, Mar 21, 2014.

  1. Philip S macrumors newbie

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    Mar 21, 2014
    #1
    This is probably a noob issue so simple you laugh at me (and, in all honestly I hope it is!

    My iMac is nearing death I think. Graphics card seems to be fried (weird checkered pixelated appearance of monitor) and probably worse because can only boot in safe mode or else get Blue Screen of Death.

    Anyway, before it dies I thought it would idea to back everything up. I bought a cheap 1TB external drive and did just that. My iMac files totalled just under 300GB, and that is exactly what is now on the external drive. I assumed all files had been transferred so copying them back would be no problem. But I can't access any of the files. The "Macintosh HD" where I expected to find them is just an alias (100kb or something) and clicking it has no effect

    Please help! I know my files must be there somewhere because the external drive says it is 300GB full... Forking out for a new iMac is bad enough, losing everything I've worked on for years is worse :(
     
  2. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #2
    What version of OS X are you on?

    What did you use to backup the files?

    You should erase the new drive in Disk Utility to Mac OS Extended format then use Time Machine to backup. That will capture everything you need.
     
  3. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 21, 2014
    #3
    OS 10.5.7, but I already copied everything into the external drive, simply by drag and drop. It took almost a full day for all files to transfer, and the amount of GB on the new drive equals the amount that was on my iMac. I had a look and everything seemed to be there.

    So I went ahead and did an erase and reinstall of the OS on the iMac, hoping it would clear up the monitor problems. It didn't, but that is a different matter.

    I'm most worried about all my old files on the external drive. Are they gone forever? The files on the user accounts all seem to be there, but I can't find any files from my own admin account. Just a "Macintosh HD" alias icon...
    When I do a search of the external drive for file or folder names I often used, also nothing...
     
  4. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #4
    I assume you formatted the external to Mac OS Extended format first?

    Drag and drop like that is not the best way to copy because it won't copy over a lot of the system files and such that would be live and in use during the copy. It is better to use Disk Utility if you just want to copy an entire drive like that. That said, most of the in use files should be system files that you don't care too much about anyway, and your personal documents and that type of thing should have been copied over.

    You may just have a permissions problem on the external drive. Select the external drive then hit command-i to bring up the info panel. Then check the box where it says to ignore ownership on this volume. Now see if in Finder on the external drive you can navigate to /Users then your user accounts to find your files.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Thank you for your help weaselboy. I appreciate you taking your time to help me. I tried what you advised above but there was no box with an "ignore permission" option to click... But then I noticed something else in the info box... I was sure I has formatted the external prior to backing up, but according to the info the drive is in MS-DOS (FAT32) format. :(
    Is this very bad news? Thinking about the "permissions" angle I tried Disk Utility to "verify permissions" but that option is greyed out. Also, according to Disk Utility the external has zero folders and zero files! This is obviously not true, as I can double click the external drive icon and see that it has plenty of files and folders...

    Is there some data recovery software I can use to get the data back into the iMac? Then I can reformat the external and do a time machine or something - do it the right way to save my files before the iMac dies?
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G3

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    Do this:

    1. Download CarbonCopyCloner from:
    http://www.bombich.com/download.html
    The older version of CCC that you need is -FREE- to download and use.
    You want to download version 3.4.7 (NOT version 3.5)

    2. Use Disk Utility to re-initialize the external drive (yes, re-initialize it)
    Re-initialize the drive to HFS+, journaled.

    3. Launch CCC.

    4. For "source drive", select your internal drive. For "target" drive, select the external.

    5. Click the "clone" button. Cloning a 300gb drive will take some time.

    6. When done, you will have a BOOTABLE CLONE of your internal drive. When you boot from it, it will LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME as your internal drive -- because it's a "clone".

    ANYBODY can do the steps above -- no special skills or knowledge required.
    Don't be afraid to try it.

    What iMac do you have, and how old is it?
     
  7. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #7
    OS X can read and write to a FAT32 formatted disk, but this is primarily aimed at just copying some documents to a thumb drive and that sort of thing. it is not intended to be used to copy the entire Mac drive and OS over as permissions etc are not supported.

    Let's see if we can figure out how to manually copy just your data back to the internal drive. If we can piece together the volume name and path to the folder(s) on the external, we may be able to use an OS X utility called rsync to copy the files back.

    When the external is mounted in Disk Utility what is the volume named?

    Is there just one user account on the machine and is the data you want in a specific folder we can target like maybe Documents?

    ----------

    I think you are misunderstanding what has happened here. OP has drag and dropped his internal Macintosh HD volume to an external FAT32 volume, and subsequently erased the internal. The challenge now is to recover OP's data off the FAT32 external.
     
  8. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 21, 2014
    #8
    Thank you for the advice Fishrrman, but I was a bit scared to try it. As I mentioned before, after I "backed up" my contents, I erased my internal disk and reinstalled Mac OS. I think, if I followed the procedure above, it would erase everything on the external and replace it with a copy of Mac OS?

    Weaselboy, I'm at work at the moment, but I'll check it out when I get home and let you know.
     
  9. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 21, 2014
    #9
    The iMac is chipset model ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro, Processor: 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo running Mac OS 10.5.8


    In Disk Utility the external shows up as 931.5GB Storejet Transcend Media.

    There were three user accounts on the internal. A guest account, my wife's account, and mine (admin). Currently, on the external disk, the Users folder contains the guest and wife folders, plus a 'shared' folder. All of these folders contain all their data (which was not a lot). Only my account is not listed (which contained a lot of heavy files: psd files, GarageBand projects, iMovie projects, etc.).
    The desktop and download folders etc are also there for the the other user accounts, but not for mine. The applications folder is also there, and full.
    I just found something interesting - a Utility folder on the external containing 3 folders: RecoveRx, StoreJet ToolBox and Transcend Elite. The first and third contain both Mac and Windows folders (ToolBox only has a windows folder). Maybe I can use one of these utilities? I'll wait till I hear back from you before trying (don't want to make a bigger mess of everything!).

    Philip
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    Whose account were you logged into when you did the drag drop copy to the external? I am guessing it was your wife's, and OS X permissions stopped you from copying over the other (your admin) account. If you are able to see /Users and the other account under that and yours is not there, it does not appear that your account made the trip.

    Does the total size of the folders lead you to believe your data is on there?

    Those utilities sound like they came with the hard drive and won't help.

    In Disk Util below Storejet Transcend Media is there a volume name like where mine says untitled.

    Give me that name and I will put together a command to copy the user data from the external to your internal Desktop, but if your account is not even shown there... I think all we will get is the wife's and the guest data if that matters to you. :(

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 21, 2014
    #11
    I was logged into my own account at the time.

    The name below in Disk Utility is simply 'Transcend'.

    Between my last post and now, I did a search of the external drive to see if I could find where all those missing GB might be.

    I found something interesting.

    When I do a command+I info check of the external drive, it tells me the drive has almost 300GB stored, but a quick look doesn't reveal them. So I decided to do a command+I info check on each folder one by one to see if I could find something.

    It turns out that the Users folder claims to hold 240.93GB for 19,128 items, so I checked inside.

    The guest folder has 2.39GB for 2530 items
    The wife's folder has 1.33GB for 16,460 items
    The shared folder has 249.1MB for 135 items

    Adding these up, the items total comes to 19,125 meaning 3 items are invisible, presumably including my admin folder.

    But adding up the file sizes, it only adds up to 3.9691GB, leaving 236.9609GB unaccounted for, in apparent limbo.

    It seems the data is definitely there somewhere. Is there no way to extract it? You mentioned rsync... Is that still a possible option?

    ----------

    OK, just realised the three missing items are probably the three folders themselves. Still doesn't explain where all the missing data is...
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #12
    Okay... let's try to just copy the entire /Users folder back from the external to your Desktop (assuming you have the disk space).

    Rather than me try to piece together the rsync command, let's use the app Carbon Copy Cloner that is just a GUI for rsync and it will be easier. Go here and download then install CCC. It is shareware, but you can use it free 30 days to get this done.

    Make a new folder on your Desktop called temp or whatever you want.

    Once you have CCC installed open the app and on the left under Source you need to click the drop down and pick "choose a folder". Navigate through there to the external then to the /Users folder and select that as the source. You can see in my screenshot where I selected a Test folder on an external USB key called Untitled. When your source is selected yours should say Transcend>Macintosh HD>Users.

    Now pick your destination on the right. Same thing.... do the drop down and find the temp folder on the internal drive on the Desktop. When correctly setup for Destination there it will say yourrealusername>Desktop>Temp. Make doubly sure this is correct so we don't copy over your system or anything.

    Now click the "clone" button at the bottom right and that should copy the entire contents of that external Users folder into the Temp folder on your Desktop.

    Hopefully then you can see the files.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 21, 2014
    #13
    OK, I did what you said to the letter. The first positive sign was that within the CCC screen, below Source "Users", and "items to be copied" there were five items. The three folders previously mentioned, my folder(!), plus something called .localised (just a grey square icon). There was also a period before my folder's name, like .myfolder

    The file transfers completed overnight.

    However... Although the new folder on my desktop also claims to hold 240GB, when I open it I can only see the same three folders as before, without mine... :(

    Where are all those invisible GBs?
    Is this a permissions issue I can fix on the new folder?

    ----------

    When I look inside my folder on CCC, it shows only one item (presumably a huge one) called myfolder.sparsebundle ... Mean anything?
     
  14. Weaselboy, Mar 25, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014

    Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #14

    This is good!! I have no idea how this happened, but a period before a file or folder name makes that file "hidden" and we can unhide it and see it. This is not a permissions issue, it is a hidden files issue.

    I also have no idea how you got a sparse bundle file there either. :confused: But no problem, it is kind of like a self contained ZIP file and should (hopefully) contain your files.

    Okay, open Terminal then paste in the first line then enter, then the second command and enter to restart Finder showing all hidden files. You will see some new files on your Desktop etc that you never saw before.... just leave them alone and don't worry about them.

    Code:
    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
    Code:
    killall Finder
    Now open Finder and drill down in that temp Desktop folder and your personal user folder should be visible there now. If all you see is that sparse bundle, just double click it to open it. It should mount as a disk then open a Finder window with the files inside. You can then drag them out to a new Folder on your Desktop or wherever you want. Hopefully this is all your stuff.

    When you get all done, run these two commands one after the other in Terminal to set Finder back to hiding hidden files.

    Code:
    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
    Code:
    killall Finder
    Edit: I just had a brain flash that may explain this. Do you have Filevault encryption turned on on your Mac by any chance? That would explain all this. Filevault on Leopard works by creating an encrypted sparse bundle file then placing the contents of the users home folder inside that encrypted disk image. I suspect that is what is going on here. That sparse bundle is hidden unless you are logged in to the user account and just dragging and dropping it to an external disk caused it not to be visible. When you double click to open that sparse bundle we recovered you will be asked to enter your user password to open the bundle.
     
  15. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 21, 2014
    #15
    Weaselboy! You, sir, are a fricken genius! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :)
    Following your advice, I was able to locate my missing files and back them up properly.
    In more ways than onel, you saved my life!
    If this is your day job, you are doing a damn fine job!r But If you are a volunteer, then you have the patience of a saint, dealing with noobs like me.
    Thank you again,
    Sincerely,

    Philip S
     
  16. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #16
    You bet Philip. Just a little hobby kind of thing for me. Glad this got worked out. :)
     
  17. Philip S thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17

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