What is the secret to successful TM restoring?

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by crjackson2134, May 8, 2018.

  1. crjackson2134, May 8, 2018
    Last edited: May 8, 2018

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #1
    My macOS HS drive went wonky. Sound started dropping out randomly and settings in the sound preferences wouldn’t hold.

    Next I lost my startup chime. I did SMC and NVRAM resets which restored the chime. Then booting into HS the chime fails again. Over and over I’ve reset and changed sound settings to no avail. Booting into Win doesn’t hose the sound at all, but one boot into macOS and it’s all back to square one.

    I thought... okay, I’ll just restore from a TM backup starting from a few days ago... No big deal, right?
    WRONG!

    I’ve restored several times now, and the process goes all the way through, but the restored SSD won’t boot.
    A quick check of DU reveals that the drive wasn’t blessed properly and no boot record exists.

    I’m thinking it may have something to do with my USB TM drive being formatted to HFS and the boot SSD is APFS.

    Anyway, now I’m installing from scratch, but I need to know if I can get my TM backup to replace ALL of the files on my newly installed copy, since this drive would be blessed after the install.

    What’s the best way to recover from this guys?

    Thanks... oh yeah... What’s a better backup application for APFS since TM doesn’t seem to be able to handle this for me anymore?

    UPDATE:
    Okay, so I’ve learned I can migrate all my Apps, files & settings from my TM drive while finalizing the fresh install, so this restored my apps and files, but it also still has the sound anomalies.

    Still, what caused the failed restore (boot drive not blessed properly), and what’s a better backup App?
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #2
    "what’s a better backup App?"

    Try either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.
    Both are free to download and use for 30 days.
    Both will create a BOOTABLE cloned backup of your internal drive.

    CCC can even clone over the recovery partition -- very nifty.

    If you don't care for the cloned backup, just erase it and move on to something else.
    But it costs you nothing to try.

    The advantage of having a cloned backup is that in a "moment of extreme need" you can just boot from the backup and it will look and run EXACTLY as did your internal drive (at the time of the last incremental backup). It mounts in the finder, as does any other drive.
     
  3. crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #3
    Thanks, does CCC produce an image file that can be restored too?
     
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #4
    "does CCC produce an image file that can be restored too?"

    No.
    There is absolutely no reason why you would want one.

    When CCC creates a clone of the drive, it mounts LIKE ANY OTHER DRIVE, in the finder.
    Just plug it in, and it mounts on the desktop.
    Copy one file, several files, a folder, several folders.
    Or... boot from the clone and just "clone it back over" to your internal drive.

    When we speak of "bootable cloned backups", the notion of an "image file" has absolutely no meaning at all. None.

    I suggest you download either CCC or SD.
    Just take a spare drive and try it.
    Then, come back with your impressions.
     
  5. hobowankenobi, May 9, 2018
    Last edited: May 9, 2018

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    You mean a single, compressed file....as in a disk image?

    If so, yes, you can do that. I have to disagree with Fishrrman...I think they are useful, because they are portable, and are optimized for backing up to a network drive or file server.

    A compromise for sure though. For that compressed portability, you give up being bootable, which means more work to restore or even verify.

    In a perfect world I would want all: A portable volume BU image, AND a BU bootable volume, AND a versioned easy-to-view-and-restore Time Machine BU.

    More options are better when it comes to disaster prevention/recovery.
     
  6. treekram macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Presuming that the only thing wrong with the drive was the loss of the "bless" data ...

    The bless data is stored in the volume header of the drive, which is not a file per se so I'm guessing that's why it didn't restore the bless information. If you did the TM restore by going into Recovery mode and using the utility there, that looks like an oversight on Apple's part. Whenever I search for information on "bless" (in the computer context), it seems the Bombich (CCC) article always comes back in the search results so I would presume CCC handles this properly.

    I have a TM and a clone backup for my active computers. Doing a clone is a more straight-foward operation than maintaining a versioned backup. Whatever software you choose, IMO, you should have both. Even with the versioning feature of CCC, I would still keep one "clean" clone as well as a versioned backup.
     
  7. madrich macrumors 6502

    madrich

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    #7
    Stupid Question: Can I use CCC or SD with the Time Machine?
     
  8. crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #8
    Thanks.. yes it did restore all the data but didn’t bless the drive. Since I had no other macOS to boot to and attempt the bless command, it left me stuck (so I thought). The operation was performed indeed performed from the recovery boot option. I’ve used TM in the past and never had an issue like this.

    I’ve never used the migration feature either, but it helped immensely. I have multiple back-ups of everything so there was no danger of lost data. I just didn’t want to take most of a day setting up all the apps, and putting the data/settings back to normal. Luckily the migration took care of 98% of that.

    So, I Have some options to consider & it’s looking like CCC will be the way to move forward.
     
  9. hobowankenobi, May 9, 2018
    Last edited: May 9, 2018

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #9

    UPDATE:

    I had said: "Yes, but the don't interact." Used to be true, but no longer.

    Now, yes, CC can help admin and thin or prune older versions. Looks really nice.
     
  10. splifingate macrumors 6502

    splifingate

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    #10
    I recently (stupidly, in-retrospect) updated to 10.13.4 (17E202) ahead of when the Web Drivers were available, and I ( still: *stoopidly*) freaked, and decided to restore from a TM backup . . .

    . . . that forced a non-bootable (stop-sign) disk (pcie gum-stick ssd, but still a "disk").

    I then (oddly) decided to re-image the gum-disk from a SuperDuper SSD backup from my MacBookPro from Jan this year, which gave me another 'stop-sign' boot.

    Using the latest full-installer, I re-installed [Mac]OS X onto the pcie, and was greeted with a boot into which I could install the latest Web Driver, and have since carried-on as if none of my mess-i-ness had ever happened.

    HS on this Olde Mac Pro exists as it did prior to 'The Catastrophe'.

    There exists no real step-by-step when doing these sorts of things, and it is only by some sort of luck that any of this "works", in the end.

    Moral (for me, that is) is that 1:1 backups are essential . . . .

    Regards, splifingate
     
  11. crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #11
    Yes, a compressed disk image. I like to keep a current version stored in case all else fails. It’s worked well for me in the past, but I left it behind years ago. With my recent install and use of WinClone, I would like to have an option like that for macOS as well.
     
  12. hobowankenobi, May 9, 2018
    Last edited: May 9, 2018

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    FYI: CCC blog has as great post about a current flaw in the new APFS related to specific disk images. To be clear, this is an Apple bug related to the new file system, and not a CCC issue. Only this OS on SSDs for the new file system, and the bug is only on sparse images created as APFS.

    This bug aside, you can see there are few options as to how to back up Macs to a disk image.

    CCC sets the bar for features, ease of use, and reliability. But other tools can do BU to image too. Two I have used to recreate and restore images: Get Backup Pro, and Chrono Sync.
     
  13. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #13
    "Stupid Question: Can I use CCC or SD with the Time Machine?"

    Stupid answer:
    Not really.
    Although all three are backup utilities, TM doesn't work the same way as do CCC and SD.

    You can keep a TM backup on one drive, and a CCC backup on ANOTHER drive, if you wish.

    I'm going to say it once more:
    Just download either CCC or SD and give it a try on a spare drive.
    You are not "going to understand" until you try it yourself.
    Cost to you: nothing (to try).
     
  14. crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #14
    Okay Fisherman...

    I installed CCC and used it to make a clone w/Recovery Partition, HFS+ , now lets pretend I have a catastrophe and my Macintosh SSD main drive gets hosed. I want to use my new CCC cloned drive to put macOS back just as before.

    Do I simply boot to the clone, then Clone the CCC HFS drive back to the original SSD?

    Assuming the answer is yes, WHAT IF I want the SSD to use the new APFS instead of HFS of the clone (I probably wouldn't, but just in case I do)?

    Do I just format the SSD to APFS before starting and then proceed to clone the clone?

    Okay, so after having installed the latest version of CCC and making a clone drive out of an old slow laptop drive (installed into bay1 of my cMP), I looked for but did not find any options to make a compressed image file. Where is this feature hiding and how do you kick it off?
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #15
    "Do I simply boot to the clone, then Clone the CCC HFS drive back to the original SSD?"

    Yes, that's how it works.
    You should do a "test boot" of the clone if you haven't done it yet.
    Restart and immediately hold down the option key and keep holding it down until the startup manager appears.
    You should see the cloned backup -- select it with the pointer and hit return.

    Do you get a good boot?
    When you get to the finder, it should look EXACTLY like your internal drive.
    Go to "About this Mac" and check to see which drive you're booted from.
    Once you do this, you'll KNOW why it's called a CLONED backup.

    I don't use APFS and don't recommend it, even with SSDs on High Sierra.
    Can't advise you other than this.

    Again, I see absolutely no reason why one would make a "disk image" of a CCC cloned backup.
    The drive, instantly mountable in the finder, is what it is.
    Who would need "an image" of that?
    What for?
     
  16. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Here you go. And be sure to read how restore...cuz what good is a backup without restore? Long, but very well laid out, and lots of options, and some hurdles and gotchas:

    As a reminder, although there is no (easy) way to make a bootable disk image like on Win, it really doesn't matter because, unlike Windows:
    • A Local bootable clone is easy
    • A fresh re-install in place (saving applications, user config and data) via recovery mode is easy
    • A wipe and re-install of a virgin OS via recovery mode or a bootable installer is easy
    • A restore of backuped up user data, including the entire user account is easy
    All of these but the first can be done with Apple tools, free, except the first (bootable) option. So, as Fishrrman and CCC point out, special, limited value. Trying to pound the square peg—Win style BU image—into the round hole—Mac OS.

    Some of the differences are OS foundations, some are file systems, and some are likely just the choices of Apple and Microsoft. Regardless, it is important to leverage the best tools for the platform you are backing up.

    ------

    Please do read the chunk I linked to before about the APFS disk image bug...we (Mac users) are in transition right now to a brand new file system.

    Don't underestimate how a big a deal that is. I don't know your technical level, but there is a reason Major OSes rarely change file systems; it has cascading effects down through countless things. There is a (good) reason why Win is still on old and creaky NTFS...same as Apple has been massaging HFS since the 1980s until now.

    Point is, things like moving between older/new OSes and different hardware is messy right now. No easy way around it, unless you have older gear and can stay HFS+....or, if everything is new and AFPS. Just want to reiterate that for recent switchers, new users, or non-technical types, things are more fuzzy and more complicated right now. I expect slow but steady improvement over the next OS release or two, both from Apple and all the 3rd party tools Until then, hold on, and be careful and cautious.

    One positive thing I can say, is that Mike Bombich (founder of CCC) used to work at Apple, and knows cloning and all things Mac backup like nobody else. I used to work in an IT department back in the 90's and depended on his magical tools to clone Mac OS X 10.2. That's 12 OSes back! I would trust him more than anyone to know, understand, and be frank about APFS, warts and all.
     
  17. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    They are useful:

    • To backup up over a network, over even over the internet.
    • They are very portable. All you need is a single (large) file that you can easily transfer between storage devices.
    • They can be easily password protected to prevent data theft (assuming sensitive data/security requirements).
    • They don't need a physical drive plugged in and mounted to back up (important for some mobile users)

    Fun possibility: One could create and customize a fresh installed OS, create an BU image of it, and send the image over the internet to a buddy. The buddy could download it, mount it, and restore it to any drive, and have that bootable OS. The only way to do that without the image would be to actually mail the external drive.

    These benefits come at the cost of not being instantly bootable (having to mount and then restore the image or files). But, the most important, irreplaceable data is never the OS or Applications...it is the unique user data that cannot be reinstalled or recreated. And to be fair, most high end enterprise BU software does not create a bootable clone either. Traditionally, they protect user data first, and often ONLY the user data.

    Same reason that TM does not make bootable clones: very convenient, nice-to-have...but not necessary.

    A large org simply does not have the space to clone every work station daily and keep bootable clones on hand. Backing up only user data coupled with compression can save many TB of space....which is pricey on enterprise gear.

    None of this is an argument against bootable clones, especially for single users. Clones are gloriously useful and simple. But BU to image is useful too.
     
  18. crjackson2134, May 11, 2018
    Last edited: May 11, 2018

    crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #18
    Thanks for all the great information.

    I'm aware that an image isn't bootable, I've dealt with them for years using other software, they are indeed handy to have as an additional tool in the box.

    I have created a bootable clone, it does indeed work fine (horribly slow on the old laptop spinner), it's fine. I'm not quite sure of the usefulness of a recovery partition option at this point but I'll look into that more later.

    I did find the option for making a non-bootable image. Much appreciated... I like redundancy of my backups. I like the portability of image files. I can image to an external device incase of a major system failure like I recently had when lightning came in and took out everything on one of my systems. Yes it was protected by a surge-protector > quality UPS > Computer system. The lightening didn't seem to care... It blew out all my electronics... TV's etc.. Even things that weren't even plugged into a wall outlet blew. The walls in my house danced with electricity shocking everyone inside. The air was electrically charged too. it even took out several battery operated electronic devices. I've never heard of this happening, but it did... I was there. Scary stuff...

    Back on point... I want to make an occasional disk image on a portable drive, then remove the drive to a safe place. It's just another piece of insurance for my data.

    The bootable clone now replaces my TM as a regular BU procedure, but I want the additional protection of a portable compressed, read-only file. It seems CCC does that for me.

    When it's done, I'll read up on the restore and verify procedures.

    Thanks to everyone.....
     
  19. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Just to clarify, the newest CCC screenshot in the link is showing APFS snapshots not Time Machine backups. Two different things.
    CCC 5.1 can create and manage APFS snapshots, which are created by TM or CCC.
    CCC cannot manage the regular hourly Time Machine hourly backups to another volume.
    APFS snapshots are now created automatically by the OS before system updates (even if TM is turned off) and by CCC each clone (if enabled).
     
  20. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Thanks for the clarification.

    It is...messy. TM used to be very straight forward, but it certainly feels like we are in a long, slow transition.

    It will be interesting to see if Apple folds the new snapshot capabilities that are built into the new file system into (or rebrand them as) Time Machine, or TM 2, or TM Extreme, or something.

    -or-

    Will TM be depreciated as a now inferior OS-level file back-up system, and be completely replaced with the new snap shot tools, and rebranded with a new name? Fresh slate...do over?

    Perhaps it will be more clear this fall when 10.14 lands.
     
  21. crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #21
    Okay,

    So I'm learning a lot about CCC and it's wonders, but I have another question. I could test it out and learn, but I don't have time for that right at the moment. Also my system is working well and I don't really want to jack-around with it right this second.

    My question is regarding the Apple Installed, HIDDEN Recovery partition vs. the CCC Recovery Partition made on the cloned disk by CCC.

    If I obliterate my SSD down to a bare unpartitioned drive (clearing out the Apple Hidden Recovery Partition), then re-partition and format (erase) the drive & use CCC to restore the OS / Data back to the drive, does it also restore the Hidden Recovery Partition?

    I'm guessing no...

    Can that be restored using the Un-Hidden Recovery Partition from the CCC Clone, and if the answer is yes, will it then become a Hidden Recovery Partition (as I desire it to be)?

    If not, then how would one use CCC to recreate the Hidden Recovery Partition on the main boot SSD?

    Thanks
     
  22. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #22
    The first time you make a CCC clone, CCC will create an archive of the Recovery Partition in the Application Support folder of the source drive. This archive will of course get cloned like any other file onto the destination as an ordinary file not a partition.

    Whether CCC will create a Recovery Partition on the destination in the situation you describe, depends whether you are using APFS or HFS+.

    If you are using APFS, CCC will automatically clone the main volume and the Recovery, Preboot and VM volumes.

    If you are using HFS+, CCC will not automatically create a Recovery Partition on that drive, but it will probably offer to create one. In any case you can check whether a Recovery Partition exists on any drive in the lower section of CCC main window , "Volumes". By clicking on the box "Recovery Partition" at the very bottom you can create one if there isn't one already. It may use the archived copy in the Application Support folder to do this depending what other sources it can find.

    Sometimes CCC will say it is unable to create an RP because it can't resize the main partition to create the Recovery Partition. But there are other ways of creating a RP apart from CCC, eg simply running the full installer on top of the existing, doesn't lose any data.
     
  23. crjackson2134, May 12, 2018
    Last edited: May 12, 2018

    crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #23
    Awesomeness...

    After reading all about APFS features, it sounds great, but so far my experience hasn't been as such. It might be great, and it's just that High Sierra isn't so much. Really not excited with loss of percieved responsiveness. File system benchmarks look pretty good, but app launching, booting seem a bit slower.

    On Topic

    However, I'm glad to read it CCC makes the recovery/preboot volume by default. TM sees to be squarely in the rear view mirror for now.

    I guess I'll test out both HFS+ and APFS restores in the coming week or if not, then weeks to get some 1st had practice.

    One thing I'm really hating on is this slow 1.5 Gb/s, 5400 RPM laptop spinner. It's driving me insane. I guess I'll order a new SSD to replace it as my backup clone soon. It's funny that I never noticed how slow it was back in the day when it was new.

    Also, after installing this last HS update Win10 now feels faster even on a drive that is 1/3 the speed of my macOS drive. Disappointed with that, but what are you gonna do...

    So, I'm going to do the CCC license purchase after the 1st of the month. I like it pretty well so it's a keeper.

    I didn't try SuperDuper. Is there any reason to? I'm thinking CCC will fit my needs nicely for years to come.
     
  24. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #24
    If you already have a Time Machine backup to a local USB disk, it might be easier to just use that to restore. Just option key boot to the TM disk and you will see a recovery screen where you can use Disk Util to format the drive then just click restore. That will put the recovery partition, and the OS and all your data back on the bare drive.
     
  25. crjackson2134 thread starter macrumors 68040

    crjackson2134

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    #25
    Yeah, that was my intention to start with, and that’s what I did. The problem is that it didn’t work. I tried several times and it couldn’t create a bootable drive. That’s why I’ve moved on to CCC.

    It’s the 1’st time TM has failed me, and I don’t plan to get bit by that again. The bless command for HS is somewhat broken and I don’t want to play roulette. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
     

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