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Bruce Giles


Joined: May 19, 2007
Messages: 66
Offline
OK, I have my entire hard drive backed up in a QRecall archive on an external drive. Now suppose the internal hard drive crashes, and I have to replace it. So now I've got a Mac with a blank hard drive, and an archive on another drive. How do I restore?

Here's what I'm thinking...

Option 1: Using a second Mac, which I happen to have, I connect the external hard drive, and then connect the first Mac in target disk mode. I think I should then be able to format the new drive in the first Mac right? (Is there any reason why I wouldn't be able to do that?) Once the first Mac has a properly formatted drive, then, while it's still in target disk mode, can I run QRecall on the second Mac and do a Restore to the target disk on the first Mac. Would this work, and then the first Mac is bootable and back to where it was as of the last backup? This would seem to be the easiest and most complete, if it'll work.

Option 2: I reinstall the OS on the original computer. Once it's reinstalled, I reinstall QRecall and then connect the backup drive and do a restore back to the original computer. The potential problem I see is that I'm trying to Restore the OS (among other things) on top of an already running OS. I'm guessing there are files that are open and in use that QRecall can't overwrite. And if I reinstalled the OS with different options that were used for the original installation, then QRecall may even need to delete files that exist now but didn't exist on the backup. Is that correct? If so, is there a workaround? How does QRecall handle this situation?

Is there a better way than either of these two options?

-- Bruce
James Bucanek


Joined: Feb 14, 2007
Messages: 1568
Online
Bruce Giles wrote:Option 1: Using a second Mac, ...


Yes, that would work.

Bruce Giles wrote:Option 2: I reinstall the OS on the original computer. Once it's reinstalled, I reinstall QRecall and then connect the backup drive and do a restore back to the original computer.


That will work too. QRecall can perform a "live restore" of the currently booted operating system (assuming you have a little free disk space). The operating system, naturally, can become confused if you try to use it while it's having its brains operated on.

What you'll want to do is:
1) Reinstall the OS. Don't bother upgrading, you're about to replace everything anyway.
2) Run QRecall, open the backup archive, select the volume to restore, hold down the Option key and choose the Archive > Restore To... command.
3) Do absolutely nothing with the OS or any applications while the restore is in progress.
4) When it's done, immediately restart.

The potential problem I see is that I'm trying to Restore the OS (among other things) on top of an already running OS. I'm guessing there are files that are open and in use that QRecall can't overwrite.


QRecall works around this problem by going to the BSD file APIs. These allow QRecall to overwrite (or delete) a file that currently in use. The original process uses the original file until it is closed. It seems counter-intuitive, but it works.

Is there a better way than either of these two options?


Create a bootable recovery drive.

If you're external drive is the kind you can boot from, install a minimal operating system and a copy of QRecall. If anything happens to your main volume, boot from the external and restore what you need.

1) Use your OS installation CD/DVD to install Mac OS X on the external drive. When you perform the install, customize the installation by unchecking all optional packages: Your recovery OS doesn't need extra fonts, or languages, or printer drivers. When the installation is complete, you can further trim the OS by discarding superfluous applications, like Chess. I typically throw away everything except Disk Utility and Terminal.

2) Copy QRecall to the backup drive

You now have a completely reliable emergency boot drive. Since the OS is stable (is not a copy of your working OS), there's no chance that any mishap or failed upgrade that could make your primary OS unbootable will affect your emergency system. You can boot, reformat, perform diagnostics, and restore with impunity.

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Bruce Giles


Joined: May 19, 2007
Messages: 66
Offline
James Bucanek wrote:That will work too. QRecall can perform a "live restore" of the currently booted operating system (assuming you have a little free disk space). The operating system, naturally, can become confused if you try to use it while it's having its brains operated on.

What you'll want to do is:
1) Reinstall the OS. Don't bother upgrading, you're about to replace everything anyway.
2) Run QRecall, open the backup archive, select the volume to restore, hold down the Option key and choose the Archive > Restore To... command.
3) Do absolutely nothing with the OS or any applications while the restore is in progress.
4) When it's done, immediately restart.


This is very cool. If it isn't documented somewhere, it should be, especially for those who don't have the hardware to do a target disk restore.

Create a bootable recovery drive.

If you're external drive is the kind you can boot from, install a minimal operating system and a copy of QRecall. If anything happens to your main volume, boot from the external and restore what you need.


Also a good idea. I've recently installed an external SATA drive on my G4 desktop, but I'm not sure if it can boot from that or not. I'm guessing not, since I had to install a driver for it, but I'll check into that.
 
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