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Let me be straight forward. I am accepting that - I have installed iDeneb to my personal pc at home.( Just because I want to perform R & D and many experiments with os, yes I also want to learn mac os application development & iPhone application development - the main reason is I can't afford the original mac, right now.)

  • I have installed mac os "iDeneb 10.5.8 Lite edition" after many many many tries.
  • But right now, I am completely blind about what configurations & patches did I select when I installed.
  • Actually, I got success in installing mac - many times - but each time - system get crashed by many ways - like panic debugger - Apple PS2 controller - voodoo kernel etc problems.
  • I know the final solution is only one = Buy Original mac.

But, I still want to continue with - patched system - just because I am making experiments & I am learning not earning.

Right now, my AMD PC is perfectly on going with iDeneb & windows. ( Multiple hardDisk & Multiple boots - while booting - I just give more priority to the hardDisk - to which I want to launch).

The Question is here - I am very much afraid that, "There are many possibilities that mac will crash" - It can cause also to windows.

So, I just want to know that

"I want to back up entire mac os partition in which mac os is installed."

  • so, when system get crashed - I have to just copy that disk & I need not to install again mac os.

Summary :

  • Is it possible to copy & back up entire partition of mac os x?
  • If it is yes - How to restore it? ( just because, neither linux nor windows is capable to read mac os partitions )
  • Have you ever gone through these kind of experiments?

Please share your knowledge. Please inform me by comments if any information is missing or needed.

Thanks in advance.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I don't know anything about iDeneb. If it's mostly like OS X, here are some tips:

  1. Copy disk. Use an external HD so that you can boot from that drive. Two ways:
    • Disk Utility. Restore tab. Choose internal drive as the source and choose external drive as the destination. This is good for one-time backup.
    • CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper!. I use SuperDuper! every night to clone my MacBook HD onto an external USB. This is good for synchronized backups (only backup changes).
  2. Restore disk. Easiest way is to use Disk Utility (likely from the OS X DVD in a crisis situation) and reverse instructions in step one.
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Does OS X have the "dd" command? If you can CD boot, you could use dd to copy and restore disks. – Brian Knoblauch Jan 8 '10 at 21:05

If all else fails, you could use a PC disk cloning tool like Ghost, CloneZilla (free), or TrueImage (my favorite) to back up the Mac partition, or even the whole disk. I'm not sure if these tools will recognize the Mac HFS+J format and do what I guess you'd call a "thin" or "sparse" image, but at the very least you could perform a block-level/"raw" backup, though it will be bigger. You can then use the same tool to restore the image back to the disk if something goes sideways in the future.

But, like fideli recommends, try CCC or SuperDuper! first, as they're Mac specific.

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Yes ! I wanted the answer like this - I know about Ghost & I was using this utility for windows - but I don't know that weather Ghost work for Mac os partitions or not. – Sagar R. Kothari Jan 8 '10 at 21:08

You can't really use cp or "sudo cp" because it doesn't work well with links etc.

Try "sudo rsync -a /Volume/source /Volume/dest" if you just want to make a backup. You can even run the same command again to make files up to date. BTW it's fast.

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This detailed step-by-step process will give you a perfect byte-for-byte copy of your hard drive.

Best of all it's 100% FREE and uses tools that come pre-installed on your mac

It may look like a bit of work, but it actually comes down to one command that does the copy. The rest of the details here just explain the process and help you gain some confidence you're making the right moves.

  1. reboot in recovery mode

    Restart your computer and hold down CMD+R. This will boot the Recovery Partition.

  2. open terminal

    Found in menubar > Utilities > Terminal

  3. prevent your computer from going to sleep

    A disk copy will take a while. In recovery mode, the default sleep time is 10 minutes. If your computer goes to sleep while the copy is running, the copy will be paused. By preventing the computer from sleeping, the copy can run uninterrupted.

    Run this command to disable the sleep timer
    $ pmset -a sleep 0

    Don't worry, this setting will be erased as soon the computer is rebooted

  4. find the disk you wish to copy

    To find the source disk's device name, use
    $ diskutil list

    Output will look something like this

       #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
       0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *121.3 GB   disk0
       1:                        EFI EFI                     209.7 MB   disk0s1
       2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            120.5 GB   disk0s2
       3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3

    In most cases you will want to copy /dev/disk0

    To copy the entire disk, first set the source using
    $ SOURCE=/dev/disk0

    OR if you only want Macintosh HD and you don't care about the other partitions, run
    $ SOURCE=/dev/disk0s2

  5. connect an external hard drive

    My drive is called "Passport".

    If you don't know what yours is called, you can get a list of all attached drives using
    $ ls /Volumes

    Set the destination using
    $ DEST=/Volumes/Passport

  6. copy the source disk

    This operation will take some time and there is no output until it is 100% finished.

    Just be patient and everything will go fine.

    I'm going to name my backup "disk0-backup.img" but you can pick whatever you want

    To start the copy run
    $ dd if=$SOURCE of=$DEST/disk0-backup.img

  7. verify the copy

    Get the byte size of your source drive using
    $ diskutil info $SOURCE | grep "Total Size"

    Output should look like

    Total Size: 121.3 GB (121332826112 Bytes) ...

    Now check the byte size of the copy by running
    $ ls -l $DEST

    Output should look like

    -rw-r--r--   1 naomik  staff  121332826112 Aug 28 15:07 disk0-backup.img

    You want to make sure that both commands show the same 121332826112 number. Obviously this value will be different depending on the size of your drive.

  8. voilà

    Yay, you're done. Restart your computer to get out of recovery mode.

    And don't forget to enjoy your perfect byte-for-byte hard drive clone!

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