Join 3,521 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Painless iMac format and restore?
March 20, 2010 7:28 PM   Subscribe

I am looking help with the process of formatting my iMac (2007) hard drive and restoring it with Super Duper.

Googling will give me plenty of pages on the backup process, but of the actual formatting and recovery I can't seem to find much.

I have a full backup, via Super Duper, on an external hard drive connected by USB. So now what? I assume this isn't something I can do when actually booted up in OSX, so what steps should I take now?

I should also mention another possible complication: I have the Snow Leopard upgrade, but want to revert simply to the Leopard OS, 10.5. Is there some special step necessary for that?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
What makes you think you can't do this under OSX? Boot from the backup, format if necessary (Disk Utility), then clone your booted backed to the fresh partition. Should work, but I have not tried it.
posted by chairface at 8:00 PM on March 20, 2010


I suspect you may run into problems going backwards from SL to L, but here's what I'd do:
  1. Ignore Super Duper. It's great for image backups, but you're not wanting to do that - you basically want to transfer files and settings from one 'system' to another. That's what Time Machine and / or Migration Assistant are for. That said, don't delete / overwrite your Super Duper backup - back up your system separately using Time Machine.
  2. Install Leopard from the system disks. Assuming you really want to do a full wipe-and-install, do that; otherwise, do an archive and install (this will also ask if you want to migrate your existing stuff).
  3. If you do a full wipe-and-install: I forget if the Leopard install asks if you want to migrate an existing setup - if it does, point it at your Time Machine backup; if not, once Leopard is installed, start Migration Assistant and point it to the TM backup.
  4. There is no step 4.
If that doesn't work - well, that's why I said not to delete your Super Duper backup ;-)
posted by Pinback at 8:52 PM on March 20, 2010


zardoz: I have a full backup, via Super Duper, on an external hard drive connected by USB. So now what? I assume this isn't something I can do when actually booted up in OSX, so what steps should I take now?

Well, if you were restoring from your backup bit-for-bit, you'd use the Startup Disk preference pane to set your startup disk to be your backup, then reboot, then use your backup-drive-Disk Utility to format your iMac's HD, then activate SuperDuper (which again would be its backed-up copy on your backup drive), then pick Restore.

Regressing to 10.5 is an entirely different matter. Essentially, the only way I know of doing it is to install 10.5 from scratch and then proceed to drag over applications and files. You should avoid dragging over ~/Library or /Library, though, since a lot of the preference and application support files are going to be their Snow Leopard versions and would only confuse your Leopard apps.
posted by WCityMike at 9:05 PM on March 20, 2010


I reverted back to Leopard using Carbon Copy Cloner and it was pretty straight forward but remember to disconnect your modem before you boot up the restored drive in case you're also backing up files with Dropbox.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:11 PM on March 20, 2010


Since Super Duper creates a bootable FireWire backup, you can use that backup to migrate your data back same as you would use a Time Machine image, with Migration Assistant.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:50 PM on March 20, 2010


Thanks, everyone. What I ended up doing was simply reinstal Leopard, and from my external drive just copied over my pics and doc and whatnot piece by piece. Not elegant, but I got the job done. There's an art to backing up and restoring I need to learn for next time!
posted by zardoz at 6:16 AM on March 25, 2010


« Older What other names does this gam...   |  Water leaking from an upstairs... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.