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Old July 2nd, 2008, 10:40 AM   #1
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How to Update your OS & Apps Properly and Save your System

10.5.4 has just been released. As many probably know, each time an update is released many complain of bugs and failures that they cannot recover from after the update. In most instances especially when updating Quicktime versions the only solution is to wipe your OS drive and reinstall everything, a task that for most would take an entire day when you include updates to current versions.

There is however a simple, built-in OSX feature that allows you to save your entire OS - apps and all - to a safe location for future restoration in case the update/s causes things go south. And the best part: It's free and requires nothing except your time, no additional software is used.

NOTE: The steps below should be used *anytime* you update anything mission-critical such as the OS, Quicktime, FCP components and plug-ins and any other app that you need to perform your work. This process saves the entire drive/OS and apps as an image so everything from system prefs to emails to any saved files on the main/OS drive is included.

Here's the step-by-step process:

1. Boot from the Apple OS disk that came with your computer or, a retail copy of OSX (preferably the same version as the OS you're about to save). When the setup routine starts go into the menu up top for "Disk Utility".

2. Highlight your OS drive and then select "New Image" from the D.U. menu above. This will bring up a screen where your OS image will be saved.

3. The name of the drive will automatically be created in the "Save As" menu up top; point this new image to either a second internal drive or an external in which you can create a folder that says "OS Backup" or whatever naming makes sense for you to find it in the future.

4. In the lower sub-menu select "read-only" and "none" for encryption, then hit the "Save" button. Depending on the data-size of your OS drive and the speed of your computer it will take anywhere from 10 minutes to up to a few hours to create a new cloned image of your OS drive. NOTE: The data-size of the new image will be the exact size of the total data on the OS drive, NOT the physical size of the HDD itself, in other words you're only making an image of the data, not the entire drive with it's empty unused space.

5. After the image has been created then goto the "Scan Image for Restore"; this will verify the copy you just made is data-perfect and ready to be used for restoring your old OS.

Now that your OS drive has been imaged it's now "safe" to install the updates to your current OS and see how things go. If indeed they go south and you need to fully restore your system from where it was before the update follow these steps:

1. Boot again from the same OSX install disk and enter Disk Utility. Manually re-partition your OS drive to the same specs as it was previously. MAKE SURE you do not change the format type (Apple Partition Map vs. GUID) from what it was before you imaged it. This also applies to Journaling; if the previous OS image was Journaled, then match that setting.


2. Now that the OS drive has been reformatted go to "Restore" in the menu, select the previous OS image you created before as the "Source". Select the now reformatted drive as the Destination. NOTE: Remember to name the Destination the *exact name* as the original OS image otherwise things like FCP will lose connections with external data sources such as renders, cache files etc. You do *not* need to hit the "Erase Destination" button since you have already formatted it manually.

3. In about the same time it took to create your backup image Disk Utility will re-copy this image back to your OS drive. Once it's finished you can then boot from your OS drive as normal and voila - you're back to where you started before the updates.

If you want to be extra-safe with your mission-critical system you should do this OS backup routine at least once every 2 weeks just as extra insurance against a complete drive failure. This way you'll always have a copy of your OS drive on-hand ready to be restored in case the worst-case scenario happens. It's insurance, and it's no cash out of pocket, just your time.
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Last edited by Robert Lane; July 2nd, 2008 at 02:58 PM.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 12:55 PM   #2
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I nominate this for a "sticky"

Very nicely done Robert.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 07:24 PM   #3
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Yes, I second the nomination to make this a sticky.

I'm not very "OS-savvy", so I appreciate Robert taking the time to walk us through the procedure "step-by-step". I've read so many recent "horror stories" in threads about the consequences of QT or FCP updates - just look at the one yesterday from the Matrox MXO users having their monitoring systems not work at all after the QT 7.5 update - that I definitely urge Chris or Boyd or Greg to keep this thread permanently near the top of the forum. I really think it's that important.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 07:37 PM   #4
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Done. This could be a headache saver.

-gb-
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 10:01 AM   #5
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If you're running 10.5 you should also use Time Machine. Its really a no-brainer, just plug in an external drive and activate the software. Every time the drive is connected, Time Machine will make backups. And once you have it working you can go back to any previous day in the archive and pull any files which have changed. Happily I haven't needed to do this yet myself :-)
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 11:46 AM   #6
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Robert, do you know any reason not to use either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper? I've used both of them (CCC for years) and never had a problem. And I did have a few instances where I had to go back to a CCC-based backup to recover.
I'm just wondering if I'm missing anything here.

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Old July 3rd, 2008, 02:52 PM   #7
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Why pay for something when you get the same functionality for free with the built-in utility? The only difference with the payware is they offer a certain level of automation, but from my perspective it's always better to have complete control over the process rather than *hope* the automation does it right.

Boyd: TimeMachine was *not* setup to properly archive pro apps and their associated cache files/meta-data. There have been many complaints of people attempting to recover from issues with FCP and couldn't using TM.

TimeMachine like the other "iApps" were designed for the general computing/consumer user, not professionals. In fact we've found that for the greatest stability with FCS2 that TimeMachine and Spotlight (via Spotless) needs to be disabled/turned off to prevent any automation in the background creating extra catalog code that interferes with FCP metadata.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 11:54 PM   #8
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This is great info Robert. Thank you.

My question isn't to do with updates as such but with running Disk Warrior. (Apologies if this strays the sticky off topic) Am I correct in saying that following the same procedure will save me should a disaster occur with DW?
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Old July 4th, 2008, 11:11 AM   #9
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That's right; by cloning your main OS/Boot-drive image onto a separate HDD you're automatically providing a method to recover your entire OS, apps, mail and preferences (from the point it was imaged) from any un-recoverable situation regardless if it's caused by software or hardware.

Keep in mind once the image is created and saved to another drive, you can do whatever you want to the *original* OS drive - or replace it entirely with a new one - and restore your system to it's previously saved point. In fact this method is exactly how you would migrate your entire OS/apps/etc to a new bare drive and not have to go through the arduous process of reinstalling the OS and apps. "OS Image Migration" is the term for that scenario.

Case in point: My Boot-drive WD Raptor was getting full; I imaged the contents onto another internal, installed a 1TB bare drive in place of the Raptor then "Restored" my saved image to the new drive and went right back to where I left off before I made the image - all in under an hour. (3Ghz 8-core MacPro)
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:32 PM   #10
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Boy, I wish I had read this last week when I downgraded leopard back to Tiger.
Leopard did not work with my FCP!
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Old October 7th, 2008, 10:03 AM   #11
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The big problem with TM for me is that it requires more space than what you're backing up. If you've got, say, 75 (i'm approximating here) gigs and you want to back up to an 80 gig drive, it'll tell you there's not enough space. For me, it's enough to have a clone of my drive. That saves me from my main drive going down, and that's the most important thing. TM can't do that (that I can see). So I picked up SuperDuper, and I've been pretty happy with it. You can exclude files and folders too, and schedule the backups, which is nice.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 03:22 AM   #12
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Does this save EVERYTHING? Like a complete and total clone of my computer at the moment? Downloads, installs, preferences, etc?

Or just the OS and apps?

I'm going to be upgrading to leopard soon and would like to make it seamlessly. I'll probably have 2 externals, 1 with the backup and the 2 with just all my data and stuff.

Thanks
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Old July 30th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #13
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This saves *everything* that's on your Main/OS drive - data only, it doesn't copy free space. So whatever lives on that drive - apps and all - will be cloned into an "image". If you have shortcuts on that drive pointing to data on another drive only the shortcut is copied, not that external data.

Does that clear it up for you?
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 01:31 AM   #14
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Thanks Robert, very clear.

One last question, is it possible to make a backup, clear my laptop's drive and install leopard, then have all the apps pulled over to the new drive without having to 'install' them? Or do I have to install all the apps all over again?

The main thing I'm concerned about is the custom settings I made in FCP/DVDSP/Compressor and having them migrate over. I know where the compressor custom settings live, but not the other two.

Cheers.
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Old August 3rd, 2009, 07:31 PM   #15
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Acutally if you're making a image or "clone" of your main drive that has your apps and OS then you don't need to reinstall anything - not even the OS. You simply wipe your drive then copy the previously saved image back to that same drive - or the new drive if you're upgrading. The process requires that you save this image to either an internal or external HDD - external should be Firewire.

Keep in mind that if you're upgrading to a newer or different HDD that you made the image of, that some programs - such as FCS and any Adobe products - will want you to manually restore the serial number that came with the program. The application will be installed but it will think it's a fresh install because the serial number of the HDD has changed.

Now if you have data corruption on the Main drive that contains your apps then you don't want to clone it because you'll be cloning all the problems along with it.

I don't think you can simply transfer applications over from an "image" per say - you can use the Migration assistant to migrate apps and settings from a "live" OS drive. For example: If you're in fact upgrading to a newer drive what you could do is physically remove the old drive from the laptop/tower and install it into an external FW enclosure. Then install the OS on the new drive in the machine, connect the now "old" HDD in the enclosure and run the Migration Assistant during the fresh OS install on the new drive.

Hope that helps.
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