Will my external SSD Boot drive be safe from the new file system?

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by Partron22, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Partron22 macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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    #1
    I've already backed up seven ways from Sunday, but would prefer to not have to worry about High Sierra's new Apple File System infesting my external SSD boot drive.
    Rumor says it hits internal only?
    Is that true?
    Will updates that permit fusion drives to use the new file system to work also allow external SSD's to be reformatted?
    It's not that I hate the idea of a new and better file system, it's just that Apple's released a little too much beta-ware as final product these past few years. I do not want to be experimented on by something that encrypts my work, and is not very close to perfect.
     
  2. SaSaSushi macrumors 601

    SaSaSushi

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    #2
    High Sierra's installer will not automatically convert external drives to APFS. Users can choose to do so by right clicking HFS+ drives in Disk Utility and choosing Convert to APFS.
     
  3. Partron22 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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  4. ashleykaryl macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

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    #4
    Hold on, it may not be quite so straightforward. My SSD boot drive is installed via PCI and shows up as an external drive, but it was converted to APFS. I suspect it comes down to where the system is being installed, but this is something I'd try to check with Apple, unless somebody knows for sure that an external SSD won't be converted.
     
  5. Ritsuka macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    It will convert the disk you install it on (if it's a SSD).
     
  6. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #6
    Will it convert external data only SSD's without loosing existing data on them?
     
  7. ashleykaryl macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

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    #7
    It should handle the conversion without any loss of data and it only takes a few seconds. It's worth noting that you can't easily go back to HFS+ though.
     
  8. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #8
    Is there any supposed advantage to convert external SSD's for fast data access read/write only and no OS functions?
     
  9. ashleykaryl macrumors regular

    ashleykaryl

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    #9
    I don't think there is any real advantage for read/write speeds, though copy/paste on the same drive is huge faster, even on old SATA drives. It's supposedly more secure and less prone to file corruption, but I don't think Apple have it 100% worked out yet, so if you have any doubts I'd wait for a few months. The only weirdness I see with APFS is that the available space on the boot drive seems to fluctuate by up to 10 gigs throughout the day, even when I'm not doing anything.
     
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6

    Fishrrman

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    #10
    OP:
    You left out an important piece of information.

    HOW is your external SSD connected to your Mac?

    Whether the HiSierra installer will "force convert" an external SSD -might- depend on how it's connected to the Mac.

    An SSD in a thunderbolt enclosure might get force-converted, whereas one in a USB3 enclosure might not.

    We'll probably have to wait until there are enough "user experience reports" out there to know this.

    Personal opinion follows:
    I -DO NOT WANT- ANY of my drives "force converted" to APFS.
    I sense that although on the surface this looks to be "automatic", that there may be "workarounds" that will circumvent it from happening.

    I have some ideas that may work, even for Apple factory-installed SSDs and flash storage.
    However, have no way to actually test them, yet.
    End of personal opinion.
     
  11. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #11
    I got a bad feeling about this update, but I'll be backed up, cloned and ready to go Monday. I'm assuming worst case we can clone back to HFS via a copy/clone of the old boot drive through disk utility in Recovery Mode? Will that be possible after the fact?
     
  12. LarryJoe33, Sep 20, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017

    LarryJoe33 macrumors 65832

    LarryJoe33

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    #12
    Simply restoring a clone or image does not restore the file system that the image was created on. They are independent. For example, if you use your clone program to image a HFS formatted drive to an HFS formatted external drive, and then try to restore that image to an APFS formatted drive, it will not convert the APFS drive to HFS. You have to do this manually with disk utility. Also keep in mind that cloning software may currently be able to clone an APFS drive to HFS, but it may not be able to write it back to an APFS drive. Carbon Copy Cloner 5 can do this. CCC4 can not.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 20, 2017 ---
    From my experience with beta 3 forward (I believe), the installer converted my HFS internal SSD to APFS without asking. I was okay with this. I am guessing it will convert any SSD boot/install drive whether internal or external to APFS without asking. In terms of external drives in general, I have converted an external USB 2.0 spinner drive to APFS as well as a USB thumb drive.
     
  13. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #13
    So if I regularly clone my boot drive to an external disk I will now assume that once I get to the point of no return in the new OS I should format my backup to APFS to be able to clone back if needed in Disk Util, but the backup drive is a spinner. How can I keep a clone of the APFS boot SSD on to a Spinner to be useful in this regard?
     
  14. LarryJoe33 macrumors 65832

    LarryJoe33

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    #14
    No, I recommend keeping your external formatted as HFS for a few reasons, 1) it is a known and tested format and backwards compatible with prior OS's and recovery partitions (only High Sierra can read APFS) and 2) compatible with third party utility tools. Again, the file system is NOT part of the clone/image.

    What I was saying above (maybe not clearly) is that some cloning software can't restore to an APFS formatted drive (although it can read it and write a clone to HFS). So, these are the things you should ask/research:

    What is your point of no return solution? To restore an image of High Sierra or Sierra prior? If the latter, you will need to convert the internal drive to HFS before restoring. If you are restoring High Sierra, APFS is fine.

    Does your cloning software fully support APFS in both directions. Mine does (CCC5)

    Leave your external cloning drive(s) as HFS.

    Make sense?
     
  15. SaSaSushi macrumors 601

    SaSaSushi

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    #15
    The High Sierra installer will only convert bootable volumes to APFS, period, end of sentence. It does not matter if it is Thunderbolt or USB.

    For confirmation of this, refer to the APFS Guide at Apple's Developer Site.

    How do I upgrade to Apple File System?

    The macOS High Sierra installer offers nondestructive in-place upgrades from HFS+ to APFS for bootable volumes. You can use Disk Utility to convert external volumes from HFS+ to APFS format.
     
  16. Partron22 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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    #16
    My SSD boot is hooked in thru USB3.
    Sounds like extreme caution is the best protocol.
    Offline backups, Time machine off, boot disks in the closet.
    Safest to assume a high likelihood of disaster.
     
  17. SaSaSushi macrumors 601

    SaSaSushi

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    #17
    Well, anything can happen I guess but since Apple themselves have stated that only boot drives are converted to APFS it could also be borderline paranoia.

    If it makes you feel better than that's all that matters. :)
     
  18. Partron22 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Partron22

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    #18
    I've been running Macs since 84'. Several of the major OS releases have caused problems. It seems to happen more often when they mess with the file system.
    Weird that Apple pulled support for fusion drives in Golden Master. That tells me that not everything is skittles and beer this time around.
     
  19. SaSaSushi macrumors 601

    SaSaSushi

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    #19
    You're telling me. I had installed the GM candidate and went right back to a Carbon Copy Cloner backup of my Sierra installer because of some weirdness I was experiencing.

    I'm going to have the backup ready to go after the final is released as well, just in case. ;)
     
  20. macdragonfl macrumors 6502a

    macdragonfl

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    #20
    I boot from external usb3 SSD as well, APFS option was not available at install. On previous betas you could boot in recovery and convert, in latest beta that option was not available.
     

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19 September 19, 2017