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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup System
I have an old 500mhz G3 iBook with only 256mb RAM and 10gb hard drive. I've been using it since 2001, and it's a testimony to Apple that inspite of dragging it around the world with me, dropping it a couple of times it's still going strong, and actually runs Tiger, Adobe CS, Macromedia Studio MX, MS Office 2004 and Final Cut Express without any trouble. I use it every day, all day.

However, because I use it every day, it's highly tweaked, with preferences, Automator apps, crontabs and shell scripts going that I don't even remember! So I wanted a way to back it up completely, so that it if my iBook finally gives up the ghost, or if I can scrape together enough for a new iBook, I can do a restore and have my iBook running just the way I remember it -- I wanted an easy backup of the entire filesystem. Here's how I did it:

In Tiger's System Preferences, go to StartUp Disk and select Target Disk Mode. (On older systems, just hold down "T" while booting the machine.) The computer will restart. Plug in a FireWire cable and hook it up to another Mac running OS X. My iBook rebooted and had a FireWire screensaver pop up. On my G4 tower, my iBook hard drive popped up as an external drive.

Next, go to Disk Utitlity, click on the new external FireWire hard drive and File: New -> Disk Image from Disk(x). Find somewhere with plenty of space (I chose my LaCie FireWire800 external), and save the disk image in read/write format. It takes a few minutes to complete, but you then have a (mountable!) disk image storing an exact image of your hard drive.

Disk Utility then lets you use that .dmg disk image to do a restore on a new machine, which technically should be exactly the same as the first machine at the time you backed it up.

[robg adds: I thought we had a similar hint here, but I couldn't find it, so here's a possible duplicate :). Note that "a few minutes to complete" could be substantially longer than that if you have a larger hard drive. Also, I would personally not recommend restoring an image from machine X onto machine Y, unless both machines were identical (or near identical) models. Although I have no empirical evidence to back that position, it just seems like a recipe for disaster, especially as the newer machine may have hardware features that the old machine lacked.]
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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: xsundeep on Dec 21, '05 07:01:01AM

I agree with that, nothing good usually comes of changing hardware under an OS's feet (even though I have often gotten away with doing this on Macs), but should it not be possible (easier and safer) to mount the dmg file and then use the Migration Assistant to do the same?



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: zhiryst on Dec 21, '05 07:17:57AM

better yet. Try using Carbon Copy Cloner. I use it at work to backup machines on a daily basis. Its donationware too, so you don't have to worry about liscences. it works a lot better.



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my way doing that...
Authored by: nick on Dec 21, '05 07:18:29AM

...uses CCC and an external harddrive. that could be an image on a networkdrive, too. works like a charm for me. and i don't need to reboot. i do even surf in the web or other stuff that doesn't touch too important files. i know it sounds risky, but as that isn't my only backup i just take the risk. i never had any trouble with this practive.

i never had any trouble using the external firewire-backup of my g4 powerbook with my grilfriends g3 ibook, my g4 cube, or the g4 and g5 powermacs at the place i worked for 2 years. ok. thats not true. i once had trouble doing that on a g5. if i remember right it was with osx 10.2.x just before 10.3 was released. 10.2.x had two versions: one for g3/g4 and the other for g5. silly me.



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: bdog on Dec 21, '05 08:26:08AM

You can boot the same system on any Mac. The only problem I know of right now is that Apple only included Front Row with iMacs. I hope they put it in 10.4.4 (otherwise I have to hack my standard image to get it installed and functional). You should also update to 10.4.3 to make sure that new, Apple brewed trackpad, will work on your image. OS X is a VERY portable OS (very important for things like NetBoot).



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: waffffffle on Dec 21, '05 08:39:24AM

All versions of OS X can boot on all hardware that had shipped previously. The only exception is when a new model ships with a custom build of the OS that is not a separate version number (example is the iBooks from this summer which ship with a special version of 10.4.2 that includes the scrolling trackpad driver). Doing a full install of 10.4.3 is currently compatible with all Macs that Apple currently ships.



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: kainewynd2 on Dec 21, '05 08:53:10AM

I'll agree that OSX is VERY portable. However, an image, whether with CCC or Disk Utility taken from a G3 and dumped on one of the newer iBooks will have definite problems, specifically the lack of mouse drivers and probably missing Airport Extreme drivers, etc.

I've done G4 to G4 and G4 to G3 with high success rates, but I can't see that G3 to G4 will not present possible issues.

Just my 2 cents...



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: bdog on Dec 21, '05 09:18:01AM

waffffffle,
Except for Front Row... :-(
Although the version number is the same, the build ID is different.

kainewynd2,
Yes, copied from an older machine to a new one may have problems. That's why it's best practice to build your images from your latest/greatest machine.



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: ocdinsomniac on Dec 21, '05 11:20:35AM

If you're worried about preferences, most are user-specific. Backing up your ~/Library folder and putting it in the home account of a new install should take care of most of the settings you'd have tweaked. AddressBook, Mail, and the like will carry over. Of course you'll still have to re-install all your apps and what not, and reset system-wide settings like those found in the Network prefs. But I thought it was worth a mention.



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: CajunLuke on Dec 21, '05 12:23:01PM

I can't see why using the image on a different computer would be a problem. I have a CCC cloned image of my iBook G4 on an external FW hard drive and I can boot it on a PM G5 with no problems whatsoever. When my iBook is in the shop (as it is now), I use this G5 as my main computer - I even authorize it for iTMS.

I use Tiger (10.4.3).



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Use target disk mode to create a disk image backup
Authored by: baltwo on Dec 21, '05 12:24:56PM

The main problem with using a disk image as a backup is that you don't know if it'll work until you restore it. If you make a bootable clone on the external FWHD, you can hook it up to the target machine, boot it from the clone, and ensure that it looks and feels the same as the original.



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Portability of images
Authored by: pmccann on Dec 21, '05 06:25:35PM

I'm a big fan of Disk Utility to clone drives (have been ever since 10.4, when CCC went awol for a while. Having used Disk Utility there was no reason to return, particularly given the block copying option in DU.)

Anyway, regarding portability: I've never had a problem with my images being built on one machine and transferred to another **as long as I remember to only use the combo updaters**. That is, don't just let a 10.4.2 to 10.4.3 software update run, as it'll be selective about what gets updated (based on the machine in question).

OK, that's not entirely true: the one thing that I haven't yet got working on my stock image (developed on an eMac, deployed to powerbooks, ibooks, imacs) is the remote control with the new imacs. Anyone know what the key is here.

That is: I'd like to get the remote control that comes with the isight imacs to work on those machines by installing something (what???) onto a stock standard 10.4.3 image developed on an eMac.

Thanks for any help,
Paul



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