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Backing up the system System
Is is possible to tar the active OS X system (as with LinuxPPC)?

Has anyone determined which files/directories are best to backup in case of a system corruption? By this I mean if you just "tar czf / backup.tgz" you get all disks and loads of stuff you could easily reinstall.

I would like to move my install to a new machine, which I have a clean install of OSX on, but not reconfigure everything as I have spent a lot of time setting things up! I would like to take my tar from the old machine and install/overwrite the new install. Any ideas what will happen?

I have seen the discussion about re-blessing the System, but I don't think it applies if you are going straight from OS X - OS X.


[Editor's note - See the comments for a discussion on the options...]
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Authored by: robh on Jan 29, '01 05:59:34PM

/Users/* - All user directories (probably only 1 user). All OSX specific apps I've installed seem to be very good at keeping the files they need in one directory in the user's own directory. You'll probably want to empty your trash before backing up user directories.

/private/var/db/netinfo - contains the NetInfoManager config. If restoring from a backup, copy local.nibak into place and then ask NetInfoManager to 'restore from backup'. I once tried copying the running config into place and restarting, the result was a awful mess.

/private/etc - unix configs that you might mess with, e.g. hostconfig, sshd keys, sendmail config?

/System/Library/StartupItems/ - if you've setup ssh, sendmail or any other extra services then their startup scripts will live in this dir.

/Applications/XXX - for any additional apps (XXX) that you may have installed outside of your own Applications directory.

/usr/local/XXX - if you've installed some standard unix apps, they probably found their way into /usr/local (e.g X11 and Samba). Binaries often install into /usr/local/bin.

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Authored by: robh on Jan 29, '01 06:15:48PM

one more thing. I've read that it's best to use gnutar rather than tar so that the very long file/pathnames are stored correctly.

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Authored by: robg on Jan 30, '01 01:26:28PM

I'm hoping that someone (Apple?) will come up with an intuitive, easy-to-use backup program that will handle the UNIX core of OS X. Although I'm quite comfortable (now) on the command line for basic operations, I'd rather not have to explain to Mom how to move her user folder and installed apps from one drive to another when she upgrades her machine.

What are the chances that we'll see some sort of easy-to-use method for moving either the system or the user's applications and data from one drive to another? I'd think there's a small market opportunity here, in that moving files between machines is something almost everyone has to do at some point. Thoughts?

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Authored by: robh on Jan 30, '01 06:29:40PM

Given the way that an idisk ( can be mounted seamlessly into a finder window, it doesn't look too big a step to provide easy drag and drop tools to move files between connected machines.

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backups - followup
Authored by: metafeather on Feb 15, '01 01:34:30PM

FYI have been successful in following RobH's ideas, mostly.

Other things I tried:

-gnutar-ing the running system (the whole disk - mucho MB's) does not work as some files are active and even root cannot access them.

-stuffit/gzip from OS9, and replace from OS9 - will not boot when extracted.

-disk image of OS X disk, almost works (boots) but you cannot see/access other partitions (probably to do with invisible files)

Additionally when following robh's instructions be careful to NEVER transfer the .tar.gz file to a HFS Standard disk (dont know what it does but something breaks), HFS+ is fine.

A better way to transfer Apps and Finder based packages and installers is to use OS9 to create a HFS+ disk image (OSX Disk Copy cannot create), mount it under OSX and copy everything onto it. So long as you don't mount it under OS 9, you can run all apps from it with ease (a good alternate to partitioning your hard disk in preparation to upgrading to OSX Final).

I have heard some references to Apple providing a Software restore tool for OSX (like OS9) that uses Disk Images, and given my experiments I think Disk Images are going to be another Apple un-sung hero-technology (I have started using it instead of Stuffit to create software drag-n-drop installers for delivery of software via FTP).

Hope this helps others.

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backups with Apple ASR
Authored by: oem on Sep 26, '01 07:46:00PM

here is the Apple solution to do backup cd - they call it restore CD- you can either do a simple Backup volume or a bootable one. It requires some scripting additions disc copy 6.3.3 and others little things. You need ASR (Apple software restore) too.
You can find it on your "restore"CD shipped with your Mac, or any install disc (9.x)

the apple hint is here. I'm gone try that before upgrading to 10.1.
And as I have a superdrive, I'm gonna save all this on a DVD. hope it works.

By the way I've changed quite some stuff in the finder such as menus, systems icons, login panels, about box,etc… I am wrong thinking the upgrade will erase all this. does a copy of my actuals 'touched' ressources would be enough or is it a very big upgrade so I'll have to redo everything again ?

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