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Backup, restoring, formatting info

44581 Views 47 Replies Latest reply: Jan 28, 2014 2:17 PM by Westiesoprano RSS
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ds store Level 7 Level 7 (30,305 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 4, 2011 12:32 AM

Some starting out information

 

I created this post to inform others of the various and essential ways to restore your machine, data, create backups and so forth.

10.6 and 10.7 are mostly covered with information current as of Oct 4, 2011 and subject to human error and change.

 

Only conduct any actions here if your prepared to take action on your own, the risk is yours, if not please seek assistance of qualified professional data recovery experts. Any product or site mention/link is purely for assistance purposes, doesn't represent a endorsement by me or Apple. Legalese blah.

 

 

Having many separate hardware copies

 

...of your data is essential, as the OS and programs can be replaced, but not your personal files (normally kept in your User folders of Music, Documents, Pictures, Sites, Movies etc.)

 

Apple currently doesn't supply much in the way of data recovery services, it's on YOU to make sure you have many copies of your personal data and perhaps many ways to restore your machine to a functional state.

 

 

There are three basic primary forms of backup and restore methods used on Macs, no one way is perfect, so a combination of ways may be better suited for your needs, but redundancy of methods and backups is the key.

 

 

1: TimeMachine Drive - which is a rotating in time image of your boot drive contents. If you remove something from your boot drive, eventually it will be removed from TimeMachine drive as well. TimeMachine drives cannot be booted from and can only restore. This is a very good basic option for most new to computers users as it's all automated (as long as the drive is connected) and gives "undelete" ability. It's not a complete solution and that's what the next two options are for.

 

Please, for your own sake if you don't have any backup plan or don't undestand geek speak, at least connect a new external drive and let automatic  TimeMachine popup do it's buisness.

 

 

From here on out everything TimeMachine, including restoring from a TM drive, I point you to our resident expert Pondini and his web page.

 

http://web.me.com/pondini/Time_Machine/Home.html

 

 

The steps here below out are a bit more advanced, but if you master them you will be in control of your computer and can save yourself.

 

 

2: Data / Storage Drives - these are drives that basically act as holders of data you wish to store, they don't do anything but hold your personal files in a permanent fashion unless you remove it. These are what one would use if their primary boot drive on their computer is getting full, since TimeMachine is a self rotating image, that can't be used for permanent or extra storage space. And clones are bootable images of the current boot drive, so they are subject to change as well. For all intensive purposes if you want to make sure your data doesn't disappear, to hold your personal data while your wiping your entire boot drive of all data and restoring OS X completely (aka "fresh install method"), then you use plain jane storage drives and maintain two separate hardware backups of your data at all times.

 

 

3: Hold the option key bootable Clone drive- these are (almost) exact images of your OS X partition and it's contents. The advantage with clones is in case your internal drive fails to boot, either for software or hardware reasons, you can boot from a clone, perform data recovery, drive repair and most of all get online, get help, and use your computer like almost nothing happened. In other words your life doesn't immediately stop to address a failed computer, you can in most cases continue working and resolve the issue later, or in the case of a software issue, just reverse clone form the latest clone image.

 

You can keep "states" of your OS X partition in a more permanent fashion unlike TimeMachine. For instance if your considering on upgrading to a new OS X version and not sure it will work, you can fall back onto the previous version of OS X at any time provided you made a clone first. Think of a clone as moving all your software to another piece of hardware and everything is almost exactly as it was before. Clones are the preferred method to upgrading to a new internal drive of perhaps larger capacity or speed.

 

Because of differences in computer hardware, you can't use a clone created on one Mac on another type of Mac. Only the same exact model can be perhaps be imaged to other Mac's. If your thinking this would be a nice way to pirate software, forget it. Each Mac has a ID associated with along with other identifying information.

 

Cloning software most Mac users use is Carbon Copy Cloner, (first and totally free, donations accepted) or Superduper (part free, part payware)

 

 

Drive size for clones: equal too or larger than the drive you intend to clone. If your going to upgrade the internal drive, then naturally one that matches or exceeds the new internal drive so you can use it as a clone afterwards. Best to clone to a larger drive than the original, as your data could exceed the smaller capacity drive.

 

 

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Drive formatting 

 

Drive formatting is IMPORTANT and needs to be performed before a drive is used for the first time. Doesn't matter what it's used for a wrongly formatted drive can cause trouble later down the road if you don't understand drive maps and formatting. Apple's Disk Utility is the program used to format drives on a Mac, you can find it in the Applications/Utilities folder.

 

Partition Maps

 

These are roadmap instructions to how many partitions (separate areas on the physical drive) there are and what format they contain. Unfortunately not all operating systems can read others partition map schemes. So when one gets a NEW drive, it has to be completely erased and formatted to meet the partition map needs of the operating system and/or firmware used on the computer.

 

For instance Mac's need a GUID Partition Table (GPT), Windows uses a Master Boot Record (MBR), Linux uses either and reads anything.

 

Mac's can use a MBR as it can read some Windows drive formats, trouble is you won't be able to boot from any partition or drive with OS X on it without a GPT.

 

Since most drives come from the factory formatted MBR with a Fat32 (MSDOS) drive format, in order to use the drive on a Mac you need to format it GPT and OS X Extended (Journaled) (aka HFS+) in Apple's Disk Utility before using it.

 

If you place data on the drive and then realize it's the wrong partition map scheme and need to change it, then all the data off all the partitions on the entire drive must be removed first.

 

If you place data on a partition and you need to format it differently, you need to get the data off only that partition your going to reformat.

 

 

Current drive formats - there are many different formats how data is placed on the drive, and a drive can have many partitions each with a different format!

 

Windows currently uses:

 

NTFS  - used primarily for the operating system, but external drives can also be formatted this way

 

FAT32 (MSDOS in Apple's Disk Utility) this is a universal format between PC's and Macs, but limited to 4GB file sizes.

 

exFAT a new patented pending format both Mac's and PC's can currently read/write, it can have files in excesses of 4GB in size.

 

   (if you have Windows XP, a free exFAT download from Microsoft is available, just search for it)

 

 

Mac's OS X currently uses:

 

HFS+  (OS X Extended Journaled) required to boot OS X. All new Mac's come formatted this way, and perhaps some drive sold at Apple.

 

FAT32 (MSDOS) file exchange with PC's to 4GB sized files. Most drives sold in regular computer and office stores come formatted this way for PC's. (with a MBR)

 

exFAT - file exchange with PC's over 4GB sized files (Mac's pre 10.6.5 won't have exFAT)

 

 

 

Linux currently uses EXT4 for itself, can read/write anything.

 

 

Software called MacDrive installed on a Windows machine can read Apple's HFS formats.

 

Software like Tuxera, 3GNTFS, Paragon, allows Mac's to read the NTFS format of Windows drives.

 

It is PREFERRED not to rely upon third party software for reading drive formats, rather use a interchangeable format like FAT32 or exFAT instead.

 

 

When formatted a drive for both PC and Mac use, it's perhaps easier to format it on Windows into FAT32 or exFAT first, so you get the MBR, then confirm it works, then on the Mac before using it to transfer vital data over long distances.

 

 

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Apple's Disk Utility allows one more partition to be carved out from the bottom clear existing OS X partition, you will learn all about this if you going the BootCamp route with Windows. I don't advise messing around unless you made backups of your data first.

 

When Bootcamp creates the Window partition it formats it MSDOS (FAT32) which you have to change to NTFS on the Windows installer disk before you can install Windows. Make sure you printout and read the Bootcamp instructions and have the Mac hardware drivers on hand.

 

If your machine keeps booting into Windows and gets stuck, simply hold the option key upon boot to select OS X and set OS X as the start up disk in System Preferences.

 

https://www.apple.com/support/bootcamp/

 

 

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Restoring OS X 10.5 10.6. 10.7 - simple overwrite OS method

 

Ok, you got a OS X problem and you want to just reinstall OS X (and bundled Apple programs) without touching anything else, not your files or most third party programs.

 

1: Backup your user files via drag and drop methods of your User folders (Music, Documents, Pictures, Movies etc) regardless to a data drive as outlined above, as the problem you may be having could be more serious, like a hardware or firmware issue. Disconnect all other drives.

 

2: For Snow Leopard and Leopard - stick the original grey disk (free iLife included) into the computer and reboot holding down c, simply reinstall OS X (archive and install for Leopard)

 

If you upgraded Snow Leopard over Leopard, then your going to be using the white Snow Leopard Retail disks (no free iLife) and it naturally won't replace iLife, just OS X.

 

3: For Lion, you need a reliable, fast Internet connection. Hold Command r and boot into Lion Recovery, get online and simply reinstall Lion. You'll have to use the AppStore to download iLife.

 

4: Once you have done this and rebooted normally, immediately Software Update under the Apple Menu so your Apple programs match your files (like iPhoto Library and  iTunes Library that were changed with later versions)

 

5: Any programs you bought via App Store can be redownloaded by holding option key and clicking on Purchases.

 

Note: if you have installed root level system third party software, it may not function anymore, simply reinstall it from original sources.

 

 

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Restoring OS X - 10.6  "fresh install method"

 

 

1: Backup your user files via drag and drop methods of your User folders (Music, Documents, Pictures, Movies etc) regardless to a data drive as outlined above, as the problem you may be having could be more serious, like a hardware or firmware issue. Disconnect all other drives.

 

2: Hold c and boot off the 10.6 grey disks (or if you want the free iLife on the 10.5 disks, then that first, then upgrade to 10.6) and use Disk Utility under the Utilities menu to erase the internal drive media.

 

Select media on left, click partition, click big box, select 1 partition, option GUID, format OS X Extended (journ) give it the same drive name as before, (to match pathnames used in your iTunes and other files to locate where music is stored on the drive) Format OS X Extended journaled click Apply and confirm.

 

Optional for privacy/security or for all new drives for better data retention. Select the drive, erase tab, erase>Security option Zero all data. Takes about a hour per 500GB.

 

3: When finished quit and install OS X Snow Leopard and reboot and see the familiar Welcome to Mac animation. (if you shutdown after installing, this makes a nice way to treat the new owner of your used Mac and lets then go through the setup process.)

 

4: When creating the new user, use the same user name as before, this again, like the same drive name, matches the pathnames in files to locate other files on your drive when you return your files. Use a different password naturally.

 

5: Next you install all your programs next, the more the better as they will run faster on hard drives if they are placed further near the front of the drive.

 

6: Lastly hook up your external data drive and move just the contents of your Music, Document, Pictures etc folders right back into their respective new folders on the new configuration.

 

Note: If you used this method to downgrade from Lion. It's possible your iPhoto and iTunes Library (and other Apple programs) may have altered their respective files. You need to be careful replacing the old copies with the newer altered versions. You can right or option click on iPhoto Library to "show package contents" to find the folder with the originals and re-import into the older iPhoto version format. For iTunes, the originals are in the folder, if you have  copy of the older iTunes Library files, then replace with those.  Ideally it's best to first make a Snow clone first BEFORE messing with Lion.

 

Note: Only a Mac that had Snow previously can be downgraded from Lion back to Snow, not a Mac that had Lion from the factory (some under certain circumstances)

 

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Restoring OS X - 10.7 - wipe and install

 

1: Backup your user files via drag and drop methods of your User folders (Music, Documents, Pictures, Movies etc) regardless to a data drive as outlined above, as the problem you may be having could be more serious, like a hardware or firmware issue. Disconnect all other drives.

 

2: You have two options depending upon if your Mac had Snow Leopard previously. If it did, then you can go the above Restoring OS X - 10.6 "fresh install method" and then make a clone, then update to Lion via the AppStore with a very strong, reliable, fast Internet connection.

 

3: Your Mac came with OS X Lion, then you hold Command R and boot into Lion Recovery Partition, get online, use Disk Utility to Erase (and Zero if needed) the Lion OS X Partition, then quit and simply reinstall Lion from the menu.

 

 

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Restoring OS X 10.7 (new drive, total reformat method)

 

1: Backup your user files via drag and drop methods of your User folders (Music, Documents, Pictures, Movies etc) regardless to a data drive as outlined above, as the problem you may be having could be more serious, like a hardware or firmware issue. Disconnect all other drives.

 

This method is for restoring Lion drive completely, including restoring a Lion Recovery Partition and reestablishing a GUID Partition Table (GPT) on the drive for machines that don't have Lion Internet Recovery. This could occur if the hard drive was replaced, the GPT got messed up, more than 2 multi-partition machines or whatever.

 

As you know Apple only allows one more partition to be created using Disk Utility, any more partitions on the drive require a complete GPT reformat.

 

2: You need to have a copy of your Lion Recovery Partition on a 1GB or larger USB stick created first using the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant software from Apple that copies YOUR PRESENT Lion Recovery Partition. So that means you need to have this made as soon as possible in advance or your going to have to buy the $69 Lion USB installer if you can't do the 10.6 to 10.7 upgrade method.

 

Lion Recovery Disk Assistant.

 

You must first FORMAT the USB GPT and OSX Extended (journ) in Disk Utility before using the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant.

 

https://support.apple.com/kb/dl1433

 

 

3: Stick the USB in, reboot the machine holding option key and get online, use Disk Utility to format the drive

 

Select media on left, click partition, click big box, select 1 partition, option GUID, format OS X Extended (journ) give it the same drive name as before, (to match pathnames used in your iTunes and other files to locate where music is stored on the drive)  Format OS X Extended journaled click Apply and confirm.

 

Optional for privacy/security or for all new drives for better data retention. Select the drive, erase tab, erase>Security option Zero all data. Takes about a hour per 500GB.

 

4: Formatting the drive like this will rebuilt the GPT if it was broken. Reinstall Lion from the menu and it will install Lion Recovery Partition and Lion at the same time.

 

If you have one of those new Mac's with Lion Internet Recovery, it's built into the firmware, so after a new drive install, rebooting should start the whole process automatically.

 

 

5: If you have a clone of OS X Lion previously made, then simply option boot from it and reverse clone it onto the OS X Lion Partition. When you clone 10.7 (and only 10.7) it just clones the OS X Lion Partition. Not the Lion Recovery Partition. That's why you need to reinstall the Lion Recovery Partition first (steps 1-4 above) then replace the Lion configuration with the previous cloned version.. You can choose to reverse clone the Lion Partition only, the machine will work without Lion Recovery Partition, but you may have need of it one day.

 

 

6: If you don't have a previous clone of your 10.7 OS X partition then when creating the new user, use the same user name as before, this again, like the same drive name as before, matches the pathnames in files iTunes uses to locate other files on your drive when you return your files. Use a different password naturally.

 

7: Next you install all your programs next, the more the better as they will run faster on hard drives if they are placed further near the front of the drive.

 

8: Lastly hook up your external data drive and move just the contents of your Music, Document, Pictures, Movies etc folders right back into their respective new folders on the new configuration.

 

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Click on a picture to enlarge, drag and drop onto your desktop for keeping a copy, or use Command Shift 4 to take a picture.

 

Screen shot 2011-10-02 at 5.54.55 PM.jpg

Screen shot 2011-10-04 at 3.14.17 AM.jpg

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MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 17" i7, XP, Vista, 7, Linux(s)
  • softwater Level 5 Level 5 (5,370 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 4, 2011 5:56 AM (in response to ds store)

    Fantastic - I wish I'd read this two years ago before learning the hard way!

     

    A great resource which I'll recommend widely. Thank you!

  • Cthoong Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 11, 2011 2:10 AM (in response to ds store)

    Good to know there's a hardware test feature !!! Thanks a lot !

     

    Btw, there's a way to backup and restore the OS X without any DVD (mostly serve for testing and development needs).

     

    ** always backup before restore as all file will gone after restored. **

     

    1. You can partition your Harddisk into 3 (or more partition).

    2. First and second can use to install different (or same) Mac OS X, say 10.6 and 10.7. Third partition can be using for backup files.

    3. Use Carbon Copy Cloner to create a full backup of first and second Mac OS X partition and store the backup file at third partition.

    4. You can use Disk Utilities tool for the OS restoration. Whenever you want to restore first partition, just boot into second partition and restore the first partition... vice versa.

    5. You can even restore 2 same OS X into both partition !!!

     

    In this way, you wouldn't need any DVD or external harddisk, some more can save space from creating recovery partition.

  • noondaywitch Level 6 Level 6 (8,130 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 11, 2011 3:21 AM (in response to Cthoong)

    And when your HD fails, you've lost the lot.

     

    That's not a backup plan - it's a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Cthoong Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 11, 2011 3:30 AM (in response to noondaywitch)

    It's same case if only create backup image at recovery partition or external harddisk. If the only internal or external harddisk gone, you lost everything.

     

    If you created image, you can always backup the image file to any external harddisk by copy and paste, it's easy as you transfer/backup any file. So you would have 2 copy of backup image file. it's up to you anyway. Cheers!

  • M3ZR Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 20, 2011 10:09 PM (in response to ds store)

    im currently going through this process now but i am without my original discs and when i boot up with the options or c held down i only show one HDD please help

  • noondaywitch Level 6 Level 6 (8,130 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 21, 2011 5:22 AM (in response to M3ZR)

    You need the discs. Or at least a retail disc for a compatible OS X version (one later than that your Mac shipped with, but which your Mac has the specs to handle).

    You boot to the installer disc by holding the C key on start up until the apple logo appears.

     

    An alternative may be to hook up to a second Mac by firewire and use Target Disc Mode to run DU from the second Mac.

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