Trying to create a bootable backup

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by Yukon Jack, May 12, 2017.

  1. Yukon Jack macrumors member

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    May 14, 2010
    #1
    Hi,

    First, I've been a somewhat technically proficient Mac user since 1984 but this has me really stuck.

    I recently bought a pair of Seagate 8TB drives to use as primary and backup of project volumes. I also created separate partitions for Yosemite, El Cap, and my current Sierra system.

    I have cloned my main internal boot volume onto both Seagates, yet when I tested to see if they were bootable by restarting and holding down the OPT key, neither of these showed up as possible boot volumes. Only the"Macintosh HD" showed up. I used Carbon Copy Cloner, which has worked fine in the past. My old 2TB backup drive still shows up when I connect it.

    Any helpful tips? I'm conversant with Terminal if that's the way to go.

    Thanks!
     
  2. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    Read the following from the CCC website:
    https://bombich.com/kb/ccc4/what-makes-volume-bootable

    From the terminal, you can type in "diskutil list". The listing should come up something like:
    /dev/disk3 (external, physical):

    #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
    0: GUID_partition_scheme *4.0 TB disk3
    1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk3s1
    2: Apple_HFS Blah 4.0 TB disk3s2


    (Sorry about the formatting but you should be able to figure out what's going on.) You would have more partitions. Check for the GUID_partition_scheme "0:" and that the partitions 2 and above are Apple_HFS. There are variations on this that will still allow a boot but I don't know how that affects the ability to choose a boot partition on startup.

    The CCC article explains the "bless" command and if your formatting is correct, that's a likely cause (CCC probably had an option to do this via the GUI interface but I don't use CCC so I don't know). If you have a Mac that predates 2012, it could be the USB 2 vs USB 3 as explained in the CCC article.
     
  3. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a

    dianeoforegon

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    #3
    A newer computer cannot boot an OS that is older than the version that came with the computer.
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

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    #4
    When you partition a drive, you want the bootable OS to go on "the first partition in the list", so to speak.

    Something else to try, if possible:
    Initialize one of the drives WITH ONLY ONE partition.
    Try a CCC cloned backup onto it.
    Is it bootable?
     
  5. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I presume the OP has a purpose for wanting multiple bootable partitions on a disk and this is certainly possible with a GPT partition scheme and HFS+ partitions.

    The OP mentioned 8TB Seagate drives but didn't mention if it was external or internal. One thing I have noticed is that my 2 docking stations, which date to early 2013, can have issues with booting an OS, depending on which Mac I use and whether or not it's connected to a hub. (Even with these problems, I see them as boot options when starting up.) I have no problems with recent disk enclosures booting an OS (or having multiple bootable OS's on them). The USB-SATA circuitry on my Seagate external drives have all worked without a problem and having multiple OS's on a drive shouldn't be a problem but I haven't tested them for this purpose.
     
  6. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2010
    #6
    Here are some clarifications and further details:

    I have a late 2012 Mac Mini. I have in the past run 10.10 Yosemite, 10.11 El Cap, and currently 10.12 Sierra. The internal drive is a fusion comprising a 240gb Crucial SSD and a 500gb HDD, making 740gb. It is not partitioned.

    Since I'm doing a lot of photography and videos, plus a lot of other images and mixed media ebooks, as well as having examined all the hundreds of apps in my /Applications folder and have pared the number considerably, putting the less-used apps on one of the Seagates. I decided to go for a couple of Seagate USB 3 8tb drives from an offer on Amazon. These are the only external drives on my system. I also intend to use 3tb as a Time Machine partition.

    I wanted to have specifically a bootable Yosemite partition because of a past file system problem where I couldn't delete a few files in El Cap because the file names somehow contained ~ characters and no amount of GUI or Terminal commands could remove them. In another forum someone suggested using Yosemite. I created a bootable Yosemite partition on an older external drive and was able to delete the offending files, which is why I'd like to have 10.10 handy.

    So now at the present, I've tried to boot from that drive, and failing that, I tried to create a boot partition on my new Seagate, and that failed as well. Then it came to pass that even though I had used Carbon Cooy Cloner to clone my internal fusion drive to a backup partition on the Seagate, and even though both the 10.10 and my Sierra backup showed up in the Startup Disk pane in System Preferences, neither of them show up when I reboot and hold down the option key; only my internal regular boot volume shows up.

    Now over the past couple of days I've restarted my Mac while holding down the option key with no change after doing the follwing: reinstalled Sierra by holding down the cmd-r combo, erased the entire boot volume and reinstalled Sierra from a USB stick and before copying my user files, and erased the primary boot volume and did a Time Machine complete recovery. No amount of reinstallation of Sierra onto my primary boot drive alters the situation.

    Now here's the strange part - I took my small external drive with the El Cap installer to a friend's today and it showed up when he rebooted holding down the option key! Clearly there's something haywire with my system in that it doesn't recognize perfectly legit boot volumes, and this worries me. It worries me that I can't even boot from a CCC clone backup drive. What if this issue is the tip of an iceberg?

    One final note: I've decided to forget having 10.10 and 10.11 boot partitions on the Seagates. I can use the older 1tb portable drive to set up boot partitions. At this point I just want to resolve the greater issue so my backups will boot if necessary.

    I hope this helps to refine the description of my problem.
     
  7. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Let's see if I have this correct:

    1) You have an older external drive that was formerly bootable but is now not bootable.

    2) You have another older external drive that is not bootable on your system but is bootable in a friend's computer. What OS version/update # does your friend have?

    I wonder if this is an OS issue (are you using Sierra 10.12.4?). There's another post where the OP is having an issue booting from an external drive. In that post, the drive is selected in System Preferences, does not boot properly and the drive does not show up when pressing the option key.
    https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...t-boot-from-external-drives-as-usual.2045700/

    Were you ever able to boot from the now un-bootable drives in 10.12.4?
     
  8. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    Wow, that post could have been me! I am using 10.12.4. I hadn't tried to boot from my earlier backup drive since ugrading to 10.2.4. My friend's Mac is running El Cap, not sure of the version # but will ask tomorow.

    As to your two points at top, you are correct.

    I don't have Bitdefender installed and haven't tried the suggestions in italics in that other thread.
     
  9. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    If your friend is running El Capitan, it doesn't matter what update # it is - just that it's not 10.12.4.

    I doubt Bitdefender has anything to do with this issue.

    There do seem to be people having problems with disks mounting automatically Sierra 10.12.4. Some claim the following solves the issue. I have no idea if this will work for you but it isn't difficult to try this and to remove it if it doesn't work.

    In Terminal, type in (let the command wrap - do not press the return key until the end):

    sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount AutomountDisksWithoutUserLogin -bool YES

    (There is a space between autodiskmount and Automount...)

    This just says that you want disks mounted even if there's no user logged in. It will ask for the admin password. This command will create a file so to undo it you can remove the file by typing:

    sudo rm /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount.plist

    The file that gets created is in binary format - the other files (the ones I looked at) are readable text. That should not be a problem.
     
  10. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    @treekram, thanks for the suggestion above. Unfortunately it didn't work. :-(
     
  11. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #11
  12. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    Later...further info:

    I found this article on Apple's site https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT202796 and one thing it suggests is this:

    If you can't select your startup disk or start up from it
    Some third-party external devices use Option ROM firmware. To enhance system security, Mac computers with up-to-date software don’t automatically load Option ROM firmware. As a result, your Mac doesn't see devices that have Option ROM firmware until you load the firmware by pressing Option-Shift-Command-Period at the Startup Manager window. Do this each time you want to start up from the device or from a startup disk connected to it.

    If you're using an Early 2015 (or older) Mac model, you can disable this security feature and allow your Mac to load Option ROM firmware automatically. This removes an important protection against potential unauthorized access to your Mac by other people with physical access to it.

    1. Open the Terminal app, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
    2. Type sudo nvram enable-legacy-orom-behavior=1, then press Return.
      To undo this command, enter sudo nvram -d enable-legacy-orom-behavior.
    I tried the opt-shft-cmd combo on startup and that failed. I entered the first Terminal command and that also did nothing to alleviate the problem.
     
  13. gsahli macrumors 6502a

    gsahli

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    Chicago
    #13
    I don't recall seeing your results of "diskutil list"
    Do you have the GUID partition scheme and the EFI/EFI mini partition before an HFS+ one?
     
  14. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    UK
    #14
    How did you format the new drives when you got them?

    I don't know what Seagate supplies out of the box nowadays, but I always format new drives with a GUID Partition Table before using. It used to be the case that drives would not boot unless they were GUID.
     
  15. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    @ gsahli: Sorry, I forgot to include one. Here it is after setting up both drives yesterday:

    /dev/disk4 (external, physical):
    #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
    0: GUID_partition_scheme *8.0 TB disk4
    1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk4s1
    2: Apple_HFS Sierra Daily BK 750.0 GB disk4s2
    3: Apple_HFS Todnet BK 1000.0 GB disk4s3
    4: Apple_HFS Photos BK 1000.0 GB disk4s4
    5: Apple_HFS Videos BK 1000.0 GB disk4s5
    6: Apple_HFS Archives BK 1000.0 GB disk4s6
    7: Apple_HFS Misc BK 300.0 GB disk4s7
    8: Apple_HFS Time Machine BK 3.0 TB disk4s8

    /dev/disk5 (external, physical):
    #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER
    0: GUID_partition_scheme *8.0 TB disk5
    1: EFI EFI 209.7 MB disk5s1
    2: Apple_HFS Sierra Hourly WH 749.5 GB disk5s2
    3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk5s11
    4: Apple_HFS Todnet WH 1000.0 GB disk5s3
    5: Apple_HFS Photos WH 1000.0 GB disk5s4
    6: Apple_HFS Videos WH 1000.0 GB disk5s5
    7: Apple_HFS Archives WH 1000.0 GB disk5s6
    8: Apple_HFS Misc WH 300.0 GB disk5s7
    9: Apple_HFS Time Machine WH 3.0 TB disk5s8

    --- Post Merged, May 16, 2017 ---
    @ Mike: I plugged them in, ran Disk Utility, performed an erase, which defaults to Extended (Journaled) and GUID. Then I set up my partitions. See my list in my reply to gsahli above.

    Thanks for bringing this up. I know where you're coming from here - some drives mount right away in the Finder and it looks so easy to begin storing files there, but sometime down the line, not formatting as GUID will bit you in the butt. I always do an erase on new drives.
    --- Post Merged, May 16, 2017 ---
    @treekram : Thanks for the links and additional suggestions. I'll do these and let you know.
     
  16. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    May 14, 2010
    #16
    Sorry for the delayed response. Unfortunately none of the above have helped. Time really give Apple a piece of my mind (courteously, of course).

    Thank you for all your suggestions. If nothing else, I've learned a bit more about the OS.
     
  17. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I would agree - it's time to go to Apple - by phone, email or a visit to the genius bar. If you get your issue resolved, post what happened here. I'd be interested in knowing what the issue is.
     
  18. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #18
    .....but is the problem with Apple or the third party cloning app? CCC support is excellent. I suggest it might be worth asking CCC before giving Apple a piece of your mind (courteously, of course!)

    Another silly question....I can only see that you have said the clones don't show up as options after opt+reboot....I assume they are also not showing up in the regular startup pref pane?

    Another observation which doesn't help the problem directly: I keep CCC clones of my drives, but I never actually boot to them when they are needed. Booting to a spinning USB external is a pain, and if you use Dropbox or iCloud Drive they will a looooong time to re-synchronise all your data. If something has gone wrong with my internal drive I want to get the internal drive back up and running as quickly as poss, not work from the external. So I will usually erase/reinstall/import from the clone, not boot from the clone. But in your shoes I would want to know why the external wouldn't boot, even though I had no intention of doing it.
     
  19. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    Actually they do show up in the Startup Disk pref pane. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Perhaps I should elaborate: I have my main backups cloned by CCC. However, I tried a volume with a backup I did of El Cap just before upgrading to Sierra. That El Cap volume was cloned by Super Duper. I also have an El Cap bootable installer on a DVD. Finally, I purchased a bootable Yosemite USB thumbdrive. The El Cap backup, the El Cap installer, and the Yosemite installer all showed up in the startup manager when holding down the option key on a friend's Mac running El Cap. The volumes are bootable, just not on my Sierra 10.12.4. I don't know what would happen if I somehow managed to cause the internal Sierra drive to not be "blessed" and couldn't boot. Of course, if that occurred, it would be a simple matter to reinstall Sierra over the internet.
     
  20. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #20
    .....and will it boot the clone from there?
     
  21. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    That's a fair question but unfortunately no. That's actually the first thing I tried when I wanted to boot from the installer. It showed up as a bootable volume (along with my El Cap backup volume).
     
  22. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    There are reasons why one would keep different versions of OS's and then boot from the OS, even if it's slow.

    The recognition of bootable drives is done before any OS is loaded, so I'm guessing that this is done by the firmware. On Mac's, it's not done by the bootloader in the EFI partition (there may not even be a bootloader on a Mac disk in the EFI partition). So if you have a system that once was able to recognize bootable disks but can no longer, I'm presuming it's either the firmware, some variable in NVRAM that the firmware uses, or something in the partition table of a disk. The firmware in the Mac Mini hasn't been updated since 2015 according to the page that Apple maintains for firmware updates. The OP has reset the NVRAM and I also asked the OP to change a system preference thinking that maybe the OS would write some variable to the NVRAM. Neither helped. So maybe Sierra wrote something to the partition table on the disk that makes the system see it as non-bootable or maybe the bless command isn't working correctly (a-ha moment). But I don't think the cloning software is a likely culprit because it can't touch the firmware, isn't likely to write to the NVRAM and I'm pretty sure it won't touch the partition table either. So that's what make's this interesting and confounding. To make it even more so, as I mentioned in a previous post, another person was having the same issue and it seems it was fixed for the OP by the restoring the CCC clone. In this other case, there's a wrinkle of Thunderbolt drives not being recognized but USB drives were.

    So as I was writing this, for the OP - you might want to try using a computer that doesn't run Sierra and have it "bless" it. I just thought of that as I was writing the previous paragraph.
     
  23. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #23
    I'm not sure what you're suggesting. I can take my external hard drive and plug it into a friend's Mac in the next couple of days, but then what would I need to do to bless it? Or did you spell it out above? (I'm sorry, it's well after 02:00 here and my caffeine high just crashed. )
     
  24. treekram macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    You could try taking one of your new disks that is not recognized by your Mini and have it "blessed" by your friend's computer. This is another longshot - I would definitely try to contact Apple and if it's any kind of inconvenience I would skip it. The "bless" command is explained in the link I made in post #2 - I think you did this already to your new disks?
     
  25. Yukon Jack thread starter macrumors member

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    #25
    Thanks. I went back and re-read tbe CCC article. Here's some interesting, but essentially futile experiments and observations.

    1. I am (and have been for years) a member of the Appleseed program where we are notified of private betas between the ones issued to developers and the general public. I held back on Sierra as I was in the middle of a couple of projects plus the early word about how crappy Sierra was, so I didn't upgrade until late March (10.12.4). I mention this as I just upgraded to 10.12.6 to see if there was any improvement. What I discovered was:
      1. My 10.10 and 10.11 installation volumes no longer showed up in the Startup Disk tab of Sys Prefs.
      2. However, on booting and holdind down the option key, two new volumes appeared: Recovery 10.10 and Recovery 10.11.
      3. Selecting either of those proceeded with the boot process, ending with the screen that lets you select, among other options, to reinstall OSX. I selected that option and had to log into my MAS acount, but then in both cases, I got the message that that item (OSX 10.10 or 10.11) wasn't available, to try again later. !!! So after getting my hopes up, I again was cheated.
    2. I used another Mac and ran the bless command on both the install volumes as well as the El Cap backup. This didn't work and the backup volume didn't show up in Sys Prefs Startup Disk. When starting up, the experiment described above produced the same unfortunate results.
    In conclusion, I will be reporting this as a bug report resulting from my Appleseed testing.

    Unless any new ideas occur to you, that's about all we can do. Let's see whether this goes anywhere within Apple.

    As a side note, those two Seagate 8TB drives have been working quite well. CCC has dutifully backed up all partitions of the White drive to their counterparts on the Black drive, and my internal is backed up to White every three hours, and to Black once daily.
     

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