[RndTbl] disk cloning

Adam Thompson athompso at athompso.net
Fri Jul 24 00:42:37 CDT 2009

On Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 00:29, Robert Keizer <robert at cluenet.org> wrote:

> Dan Martin wrote:
> > On a Unix based system such as the Mac, should file level copies be
> > adequate?
> For the most part. Especially if you backup the partition tables too. I
> recommend rdiff-backup, it works great and can copy locally or to remote
> sites over ssh.

> > Any suggestions re how to make a clone of my boot drive would be
> > appreciated.
> Is clonezilla what your looking for?
> http://clonezilla.org/

There are some problems with backing up a Mac (largely thanks to the HFS+
file system).  The problem is very similar to backing up any UNIX filesystem
that stores additional metadata beyond the basic stat(2) fields.  Linux
ACLs, for example, or even worse, EAs (which are often used to store ACLs)
are not necessarily backed up correctly by [pick your favorite backup
tool].  Most versions of GNU tar can backup ext3 and XFS ACLs & EAs, and EAs
on any filesystem with compatible APIs, but from version to version there
are various limitations that must be addressed.  Many versions of cpio(1)
don't handle EAs or ACLs.  Pax(1) was written to address many of these
issues but for incomprehensible reasons isn't present on many UNIX systems.

Anyway, two (dated, but still relevant) articles on Mac backups:

 http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html **note that Bombich disagrees with
the test results in the first two articles.

Both SuperDuper and CCC are availabe at no charge for personal use... if you
don't back up your mac already, USE ONE!

Note also that many external USB & Firewire drives (esp. LaCie
branded-drives) come with OS X backup software preloaded.

-Adam Thompson
<athompso at athompso.net>
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