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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk System
Well, this one isn't easy, but it's doable, as long as you have a second hard drive (or computer in FireWire target disk mode) to boot off of. Just be sure that you have backups first. I was reading the Apple Discussions and came across this thread, which discusses making your boot volume an HFSX (case-sensitive HFS+) volume.

Read the rest of the hint for the process...

[robg adds: An earlier hint referenced a simpler solution for creating an HFSX drive -- but it won't work for your boot disk. This process does. As noted above, and below in the steps, and here, you will have to format and erase your drive to get this done. Do not proceed unless you're confident in your ability to restore from your backups! I have not tested this one...]

The procedure is as follows:
  1. Install Mac OS X on a separate hard drive (or if you already have an installation on another Mac, that'll work too).
  2. Open up a Terminal on the separate installation and type this:
    sudo pico /System/Library/Filesystems/hfs.fs/Contents/Info.plist
    Type your password when it asks (although I personally used vi).
  3. Go down in the file until you find the key called FSServerOnly and change the true on the following line to false.
  4. Exit pico, saving as you do so (Control-X).
  5. Make very certain you've backed up everything on the original drive -- you're about to blow it away.
  6. Mount your original disk on the new installation of OS X. I did this by installing a new copy of OS X on a FireWire drive and booting off of it, thus my original drive was mounted when I booted up. If you're doing this from another Mac, you can boot your original Mac in FireWire mode and just plug it in; it'll mount on your desktop.
  7. Open Disk Utility in the Applications:Utilities folder of your new installation of OS X and "Erase" your original disk using the newly enabled Case-Sensitive/Journaled option. This is why you have a backup. Note that using newfs_hfs -s will not work for this step; if you do so, you will have an unbootable system when you're done.
  8. Reinstall OS X on the original system, update, and restore your backup. Make sure that you don't re-erase the drive during the installation process.
That's it; enjoy the niftiness of HFSX on your Mac, and bask in the splendor of having "Untitled.txt" and "UNtitled.txt" in the same directory.

Note that although I've been running this way for a week or so, there could be problems I haven't yet encountered. Nonetheless, SilverKeeper still works for backups, even on files which only differ by case, and I can't think of an application which is more important than a backup utility, especially in terms of having it work with your filesystem.

Additionally, if you, like me, use a hard drive for backups (thus the use of SilverKeeper), you'll want to reformat it as HFSX as well, assuming that you wish to backup all the files on your new drive. To do so (or, for that matter, to be able to format arbitrary disks with HFSX), edit the above-mentioned .plist file in the above-mentioned fashion on your system.
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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk | 15 comments | Create New Account
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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: atter_cob on Feb 08, '05 01:10:03PM

Nice. But it would be a lot easier if I could just boot from the install CD and then have HFSX as an option in the disk utility durring installation. Has any one tried to make a copy of the Apple install CD, modify it as described in this hint, burn it to a CD, and then install with it?



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: gospodin_david on Feb 08, '05 01:32:08PM

Actually, that was my first thought, but it doesn't work =(. All you get is the greyed screen of death. That's one of the reasons I submitted the hint.



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: daveschroeder on Feb 08, '05 03:15:49PM
Why not just use:

sudo diskutil eraseVolume "Case-sensitive HFS+" "Desired Name of Disk" /Volumes/"Current Name of Disk"

?

That can be done while booted from any other partition. All you have to do is use Carbon Copy Cloner or asr[1] to clone your volume to a spare disk, boot from the clone, run the above command on your original drive to format it as case-sensitive, journaled HFS+, and clone back. That's it. Not sure why the hint had to be so convoluted.

[1] asr can be used to clone a volume as follows:

sudo asr -source / -target /Volumes/"Target Disk"

(Assumes you're booted from the volume you're cloning.)

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asr
Authored by: DoctorJ on Feb 19, '05 04:50:54AM

* I'm glad you pointed this out, i wasn't even aware that this utility existed!

*Has asr been verified to work on the case-sensitive disks?

---

Using a rusty Amiga 4000T & a shiny Mac PowerBook G4



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: cilly on Feb 08, '05 02:17:12PM

The link to Apple Discussions board is broken, did Apple delete that thread?

---
cilly @ http://www.cilly.dyndns.org



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: jay2 on Feb 08, '05 02:18:34PM
i've set up two macs (both running 10.3.x) with case-sensitive boot disks by doing the following:
  1. use carbon copy cloner to make a bootable backup on a firewire disk
  2. boot from the backup
  3. open a terminal window and incant:
    sudo diskutil eraseVolume "Case-sensitive HFS+" "Macintosh HD" /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD
    (that's all on one line)
  4. restore from the backup to the newly formatted HD
cccloner makes it a piece of cake. i did this over a year ago, and have had no problems with case-sensitive hfs+.

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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: jay2 on Feb 08, '05 02:21:13PM

oops, lost a backslash in my incantation. in the command line invocation of diskutil, you need to escape the space in '/Volumes/Macintosh HD' with a backslash
(which i don't know how to make appear here -- sorry).



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: sjonke on Feb 09, '05 01:59:10PM

Any reason I can't do this without booting from an external if I want to reformat an *external* drive with case-sensitive HFS+?, with intent of being able to boot from it (in particular, installing Darwin on it.)

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--- What?



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: cilly on Feb 08, '05 11:18:49PM

I tried this for my internal RAID 0 but Disk Utility does not show case sensitive for the RAID even if it is! (I was able to create untitled.txt and Untitled.txt...) I do not recommend HFSX volumes in use with appe software raid.

---
cilly @ http://www.cilly.dyndns.org



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: merp on Feb 09, '05 10:12:05AM

For some bizarre reason, this didn't work at all.. The "bless" command doesn't recognize the HFSX volume as HFS (duh), and won't update Open Firmware as a result. AFAICT, I'll either have to diddle OF directly (and hope that it takes) or reformat as HFS+/Journaled and give up on case-sensitivity.

If anyone has a suggestion, I'm open to it...



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: daveschroeder on Feb 09, '05 12:19:31PM
That's because this hint is ridiculously convoluted and complex. Just follow what I posted here:

http://www.macosxhints.com/comment.php?mode=display&sid=200502011939237&pid=52171

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Problematic restore of a HFSX boot disk
Authored by: htlmac on Jul 11, '06 07:59:06PM

I'm seeing similar problems, while backing up the newly created HFSX boot volume.

"bless -info -folder /Volumes/TIGER2" reported nothing blessed,
even though using "sudo asr --erase --format hfsx ..." (or with SuperDuper).

Manually "bless" it:

sudo bless -folder /Volumes/TIGER2/System/Library/CoreServices \
-bootinfo /Volumes/TIGER2/usr/standalone/ppc/bootx.bootinfo \
-label "TIGER2"

then, during powering up, this new volume showed up as an alternative device,
though the label was not quite right--either missing label or showing up as a pic.

Is this a bug in the open firmware? asr? or, both?



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: gospodin_david on Feb 10, '05 08:02:27PM

Found a problem: Photoshop CS doesn't like being on an HFSX volume, it complains about missing required files. As a workaround, you can put the Photoshop folder on a disk image that's formatted with HFS+ (and even create aliases to Photoshop and ImageReady outside of the disk image) and it'll work fine.



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: af3556 on Feb 11, '05 09:03:09AM

I blew away my new Mac Mini's filesystem and reformatted as HFSX, and installed OS X from the Mini's recovery DVD.

All is well. except the Nanosaur Hatchlings game is stuffed - whenever I try and kick it off, it brings up the 'setup' screen where I can set the screen resolution, etc, but exits after that with an error message about "GetGraphicsImporterForFile" failing. Lo and behold, it runs just fine when I copy it to a (HFS+) disk image created with Disk Utility. i.e. Nanosaur II has a bug with a case mismatch when loading some kind of resource file.



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Create a case-sensitive HFS boot disk
Authored by: Oops on May 16, '05 03:50:03PM

I'd don't understand what the installation issue is.

I reformatted as an HFS+ Case Sensitive from the Disk Utililty on the Tiger Installer Disk (the CD version obtained through Media Exchange) and then installed Tiger. I had to be a bit persistent and ask it a second time, but it worked and still does.

Does a regular install not work for others?



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