Skip navigation
This discussion is archived

How to use Disk Utility to back up the HD

1163 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 4, 2007 9:56 AM by gwgoldb RSS
gwgoldb Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Aug 4, 2007 8:17 AM
I'm trying to back up my HD onto an external HD as described in "The Missing Manual" (Tiger ed.), p. 389. I choose my Macintosh HD, read/write, no compression, and the appropriate partition of the external HD as the target.

But just after telling me it's creating the disk image (I guess I can't just drag the whole HD without using Disk Utility) it stops, saying, "resource busy).

What am I doing wrong?
Mac Mini (Intel), Mac OS X (10.4.10), , Wall Street Powerbook (OS 9.1)
  • Etidorhpa Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 4, 2007 8:33 AM (in response to gwgoldb)
    I haven't read the Missing Manual, so I can't comment on their process, but I would suggest that you boot from an external drive, so that your normal hard drive isn't busy churning with virtual memory access, etc.
    MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • roam Level 6 Level 6 (13,540 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 4, 2007 8:41 AM (in response to gwgoldb)

    I have not read the Missing Manual either, but to back up using Disk Utility you begin by selecting the Hard Drive that you want to back up and the then click the Restore tab in the Disk Utility window and that will take you to the dialogue box to choose your destination external hard drive.

    regards roam
    eMac G4 1Ghz ; iBook G4 800Mhz
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (220,950 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 4, 2007 9:33 AM (in response to gwgoldb)
    You cannot backup your entire hard drive to a disk image. Essentially there isn't enough space to do that nor is this the best method for doing a full disk backup. Full disk backups should be done to an external hard drive using proper backup software. You can clone your hard drive to an external drive using the Restore option of Disk Utility but DU cannot do incremental backups. For that you need backup software:

    Basic Backup

    Get an external Firewire drive at least equal in size to the internal hard drive and make (and maintain) a bootable clone/backup. You can make a bootable clone using the Restore option of Disk Utility. You can also make and maintain clones with good backup software. My personal recommendations are (order is not significant):

    1. Retrospect Desktop (Commercial - not yet universal binary)
    2. Synchronize! Pro X (Commercial)
    3. Synk (Backup, Standard, or Pro)
    4. Deja Vu (Shareware)
    5. PsynchX 2.1.1 and RsyncX 2.1 (Freeware)
    6. Carbon Copy Cloner (Freeware - 3.0 is a Universal Binary)
    7. SuperDuper! (Commercial)

    The following utilities can also be used for backup, but cannot create bootable clones:

    1. Backup (requires a .Mac account with Apple both to get the software and to use it.)
    2. Toast
    3. Impression
    4. arRSync

    Apple's Backup is a full backup tool capable of also backing up across multiple media such as CD/DVD. However, it cannot create bootable backups. It is primarily an "archiving" utility as are the other two.

    Impression and Toast are disk image based backups, only. Particularly useful if you need to backup to CD/DVD across multiple media.

    Visit The XLab FAQs and read the FAQs on maintenance, optimization, virus protection, and backup and restore. Also read How to Back Up and Restore Your Files.

    To clone with Disk Utility do the following:

    How to Clone Using Restore Option of Disk Utility

    1. Open Disk Utility from the Utilities folder.
    2. Select the backup or destination volume from the left side list.
    3. Click on the Erase tab in the DU main window. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (journaled, if available) and click on the Erase button. This step can be skipped if the destination has already been freshly erased.
    4. Click on the Restore tab in the DU main window.
    5. Select the backup or destination volume from the left side list and drag it to the Destination entry field.
    6. Select the startup or source volume from the left side list and drag it to the Source entry field.
    7. Double-check you got it right, then click on the Restore button.
    8. Select the destination drive on the Desktop and press COMMAND-I to open the Get Info window. At the bottom in the Ownership and Permissions section be sure the box labeled "Ignore Permissions on this Volume" is unchecked. Verify the settings for Ownership and Permissions as follows: Owner=system with read/write; Group=admin with read/write; Other with read-only. If they are not correct then reset them.

    For added precaution you can boot into safe mode before doing the clone.
    Mac Pro 2.66 Ghz; MacBook Pro C2D 2.33 Ghz; MacBook Pro 2.16 Ghz, Mac OS X (10.4.10), Intel iMac C2D 17 "; MacBook 2.0 Ghz; 30 GB iPod Video (Black); iPod Nano 2 GB


More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)


  • This solved my question - 10 points
  • This helped me - 5 points
This site contains user submitted content, comments and opinions and is for informational purposes only. Apple disclaims any and all liability for the acts, omissions and conduct of any third parties in connection with or related to your use of the site. All postings and use of the content on this site are subject to the Apple Support Communities Terms of Use.