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restoring main drive after Monterey update fail  XML
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Mike M



Joined: 12-Aug-16 02:01
Messages: 47
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I tried to update for Mojave to Monterey yesterday and after 16 hours of running with no progress on the current progress meter, I'm about ready to give up.

I'm looking to reinstall the entire Main HD from my latest QRecall backup. Several years ago I set up a backup of the system drive and my understanding is that I can restore it.

However, looking at the directions I see many ways to do this and I'm not clear what would be applicable to my situation. I don't think my System drive is currently bootable. I don't think I made a bootable drive several years ago when I set this up. I'm comfortable with command lines. What would you recommend at this point?

-Mike
James Bucanek



Joined: 14-Feb-07 10:05
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Mike,

Sorry to hear about your trouble upgrading your OS.

There are a number of paths to follow. One is the command line, but that's pretty technical.

Here's my suggestions:

First, start by simply trying to preform the upgrade again. This would be the simplest solution, if it works. Even if your startup drive isn't bootable, you can always reinstall the most recent macOS that your hardware supports using recovery mode. It's entirely possible that something went sideways during the upgrade (and jumping three major version in a single go is fertile ground for complications).

Hard reboot your machine and start it up in recovery mode. Then just try installing Monterey again. If that works, you're done. (As much as I love it when people use QRecall to solve their problem, NOT having to perform a full-system restore is usually a simpler solution.)

However, if you now believe that your startup volume has been trashed and is unrecoverable, you can restore from QRecall and reinstall macOS. The easiest way to do this is from a second bootable volume. Since you didn't create one ahead of time, create one now—and again, recovery mode and APFS are your friends:

  • Start up in recovery mode

  • Use the Disk Utilities to erase/reformat your startup drive

  • Create a new APFS volume on the drive named Lifeboat (or something)

  • While still in recovery mode, install macOS on the new Lifeboat volume (user name, passwords, settings don't matter; just keep it simple)

  • Now that Lifeboat is installed and booted, download QRecall and install it

  • Launch Disk Utility and create a second APFS volume (APFS containers can hold multiple APFS volumes that share the same space); this will be your new startup volume

  • Launch QRecall; open your latest archive and select the volume to restore, hold down the option key and choose Restore Volume To...

  • Select the volume you just created in Disk Utility and start the restore; this will take awhile

  • When you're done, either download the Monterey installer again from the App Store, or use recovery mode again, and install Monterey on top of the restored volume

  • If successful, you can use Disk Utility to delete the Lifeboat volume


  • Now if all of that doesn't work, then there's a serious problem installing Monterey on your startup volume. Alternative solutions would be to upgrade to an intermediate OS first (rather than trying to jump directly to Monterey). Another approach would be to install a blank version of Monterey on a new volume, then use the migration assistant to import your old startup volume, rather than trying to install the OS directly on top of an existing installation. The latter approach assumes you have enough disk space, and there are a few tricks to make that possible too, so post again if you're still stuck.


    This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 06-Dec-21 12:45


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    Mike M



    Joined: 12-Aug-16 02:01
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    Thanks, James. Some updates.

    First let me say that it's not necessarily my goal to run Monterey at the end of this. I'd like to get back to Mojave and try a smaller update to Catalina from there.

    It does seem like Monterey finished installing and that it was the boot sequence where it was hanging. I tried booting in safe mode. The computer was strangely VERY slow but the interesting thing is that it was going through the setup process as if this were a new computer. It was asking for an account name, and all that.

    I probably should have waited at that point but I'm an impatient guy and I had time yesterday. So I read about making bootable disks and ended up running my mac in Recovery mode and installing Monterey on an external drive. I then booted from that external drive, which worked fine. I installed QRecall on it, then restored the Macs system volume.

    At that point the computer was able to boot off its system volume. But it was running Monterey. I naively expected it to be running Mojave.

    Also some stuff is not right. Well, some stuff was right. The three users were there at the startup screen. All of my programs seemed to be installed. But certain of the programs had lost their accessibility features. When I went to the control panel to give them back, when it asked me to enter the administrator password, the user field was blank. I tried typing my account name there "mike" and it didn't work. Maybe I needed to type the longer name that shows on the startup screen? Normally the user field is filled out for me.

    In any case, I'm not too happy right now. It boots, but I really would rather get back to Mojave and I'm not sure I trust everything to be okay if Mojave system files are recalled to a Monterey disk.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    James Bucanek



    Joined: 14-Feb-07 10:05
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    Mike,

    At that point the computer was able to boot off its system volume. But it was running Monterey. I naively expected it to be running Mojave.


    Mojave is pre-Catalina, so it exists as a single volume. Catalina and on, the startup volume is a volume pair: an immutable system volume and a mutable data volume.

    During the Monterey install, your single volume was split into a system volume and a data volume. When you then restored your Mojave volume to it, you only ovewrote the data volume. The core operating system (Monterey) is still on the immutable system volume, so that's what'a going to boot. And yes, you've created a kind of Frankenstein OS that will probably exhibit some bizarre behavior.

    To jump back to Mojave, you need to completely erase the Monterey System/Data volume pair, create a new (single) APFS volume, and use QRecall to restore that. That should get you back to running Mojave, from which you can then proceed forward.


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    Mike M



    Joined: 12-Aug-16 02:01
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    Thanks so much for the information. I paid an Apple authorized repair store to install Mojave. I couldn't figure out how to install Mojave and it may even be impossible for me... I tried downloading the installer from the hidden place in the App store but it refused because I was running Monterey. I tried on an older mac and it refused because that Mac couldn't run Mojave. I'll pick up the computer tomorrow and try the QRecall restore again.

    Thanks again! You're a big help.
    James Bucanek



    Joined: 14-Feb-07 10:05
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    Mojave is the last macOS you can restore a bootable startup volume using QRecall. So if you follow my previous instructions (create a new APFS volume and restore your volume to that), the results should be bootable. Also...

    Steps for downgrading macOS:

  • If you're also restoring from QRecall, it's cleaner if recall your volume from QRecall before re-installing the (old) OS over it.

  • Download an earlier macOS installer using the (not-so-)secret App Store links.

  • Create a small HFS+ volume on an internal/external drive, or use a largish USB thumb drive (on computers that can boot from a USB drive).

  • Create a bootable installer using the createinstallmedia tool that's imbedded in the macOS installer app.

  • Reboot from the volume the tool just initialized and install your old OS somewhere (on a new volume, or into the volume you restored with QRecall).


  • Note: I've noticed that using a USB thumb drive has been problematic with some recent Macs. I have a Mac Pro 2019 that I cannot boot from a Big Sur installer volume created by createinstallmedia, even though this Mac shipped with Catalina. (It starts to boot, and then just crashes.) But if I add a small volume partition to a spare internal SSD, it boots from that just fine.

    This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 07-Dec-21 13:42


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    Mike M



    Joined: 12-Aug-16 02:01
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    James Bucanek wrote:Mike,

    However, if you now believe that your startup volume has been trashed and is unrecoverable, you can restore from QRecall and reinstall macOS. The easiest way to do this is from a second bootable volume. Since you didn't create one ahead of time, create one now—and again, recovery mode and APFS are your friends:

  • Start up in recovery mode

  • Use the Disk Utilities to erase/reformat your startup drive

  • Create a new APFS volume on the drive named Lifeboat (or something)




  • I have a question about this point in the process.

    At this point, the drive "Lifeboat" I want to use to make bootable (with Mojave) is the same drive I installed a bootable copy of Monterey on yesterday. When I go to disk utilities (in recovery mode) it mounts as two APFS volumes. I don't seem to have an option to reformat the entire drive; I can only erase the individual volumes. I'm not sure if I should keep both volumes and reuse them or do something else. I'm not sure if I should even use APFS to make a bootable copy of Mojave.

    Thanks!
    -Mike
    James Bucanek



    Joined: 14-Feb-07 10:05
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    Mike,

    The "Lifeboat" volume is just a temporary volume used to as a springboard for recovering your system. You use recovery mode to create the temporary volume and install a bootable OS. This OS is not the OS you will eventually install or recover, and doesn't need to be the same version.

    The volume you eventually recover will be some other volume, either your original startup volume, or a new volume that you create and restore to.

    If you don't see an option to reformat the entire drive, repartition, or add a new volume, then you need to switch Disk Utility's view mode to "Show All Devices." In the simpler "Show Only Volumes" mode it only lists logical volumes that have already been created. The "Show All Devices" mode shows the logical tree of hardware, partitions, containers, and logical volumes.


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    Mike M



    Joined: 12-Aug-16 02:01
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    I see. I didn't really need to have Mojave to do the restore. In any case, I ran into trouble. After almost finishing, the computer froze. I left it over night and got up to find that the computer had rebooted with the message about "having to restart because of a problem" (I forget the exact wording.) Looking in the log, the last thing it said was "unable to bless Macintosh HD" and something about some versions of the OS can't make a drive bootable.

    I sent a diagnostic report to you.

    thanks!
    James Bucanek



    Joined: 14-Feb-07 10:05
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    That message means that QRecall couldn't "bless" the startup volume for you. It just means you'll have to do it manually using the Startup Disk system preferences pane.

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    Mike M



    Joined: 12-Aug-16 02:01
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    In the System Preferences startup disk page, after selecting MacintoshHD and clicking "startup" I get "Running bless to place boot files failed"
    James Bucanek



    Joined: 14-Feb-07 10:05
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    If the system won't bless the volume, it means the operating system is cryptographically signed and you'll have to reinstall the OS on top of your restored volume to make it bootable again.

    "Security is the opposite of convenience." -- unknown

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    Mike M



    Joined: 12-Aug-16 02:01
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    I happened to try that (reinstalling the OS) while I was waiting for your reply and it worked! Thanks for all your help.
     
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