or maybe that one with the fox, goose, and grain.
September 25, 2006 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Please help me with a Hard Drive "Tower of Hanoi" puzzle.

I have to move some stuff around on drives & partitions, and I may be confusing myself & making it seem more complicated.
Somebody set me straight or give me a best practice, please. Super-smarties can skip the details and go straight to the ">>>" part below, answer it in one step, and show off. :P

I have a LaCie 160 GB external HD split into two equal-sized ~80GB partitions.
There is a bootable OSX 10.3 clone (used CarbonCopyCloner) of an old system taking up one half (pre-Tiger-transition backup, allows me to rarely run some old OS9 stuff). The other half is overflow file storage - photo albums, document scans,torrented video files, etc. that take up only about a quarter of the space.

I have it connected to an 80GB OSX 10.4 PPC Mini (via the Mini's single FireWire 400 jack) that's my current un-backed-up system.
I would like to repartition the 160 GB external drive as a single partition, bootable clone of my Mini to back up to, incorporating the overflow files as well, with some free space left for more. I love the idea, and have used it to save myself before when HDs have gone bad, of backing up to a bootable clone. HD goes bad? Switch your startup disk to the clone and you're back up with no other transition worries. Problem is, I can't transfer that clone file by file from one HD to another - it has to go as one big piece, no?

But I'd also like to keep a copy of the 10.3 clone around as well, because.... that's the kind of person I am. I'll just buy, say, a SmartDisk 80 GB FW400 external drive and keep it in a drawer unless/until I need it. I don't need to buy a FireWire hub just for this project (or do I?), or to keep the several external drives connected at all times.

Question is, how do I copy the 10.3 Panther clone from one external drive to another - especially since my Mini only has one FireWire 400 port?

Let's say that I can just back up the overflow files on the LaCie to DVD until the larger moves are done and get one 80GB blank partition on the Lacie HD.

>>>Which gives me a starting position of:

80GB Panther clone
80GB Free (blank)

80GB Tiger system

80GB Free (blank)

HELP ME PLEASE get to my desired end point of:

160GB Tiger Clone (+overflow files+free space for more)

80 GB Tiger System

80 GB Panther clone<<<

The Lacie is a triple-interface model, so could I connect the Lacie to the Mini via USB, and then connect the SmartDisk to the Lacie via FireWire, and then instruct it (how?) to move the Panther clone from one drive to another?

Or am I going to have to move my Tiger OS from the Mini to the open partition on the LaCie, then move the Panther clone to the Mini, in order to move it again to the SmartDisk? Then clear the Panther off the Mini, put Tiger back on, repartition the LaCie, and proceed from there?

I'm sure I'm missing an/the easy step here.
Please hope me.
posted by bartleby to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Can't you just connect both drives at the same time as you suggest, and then use Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the Panther installation from the LaCie to the SmartDisk? Then wipe the LaCie and do your new Tiger clone onto it. I'm pretty certain Carbon Copy Cloner will work with any drive you have attached locally to the system.
posted by chrismear at 11:48 AM on September 25, 2006

Response by poster: chrismear, I'm asking because I don't know if the daisy-chain thing (Mini -->USB-->Lacie--->FW 400-->SmartDisk), which seemed the most sensible solution, would work.
posted by bartleby at 11:55 AM on September 25, 2006

You want to daisy-chain the drives with firewire. Does your LaCie drive not have two Firewire ports on it (one to connect to your Mini, one to connect to the new drive)? If it doesn't, make sure that the new drive you buy has two Firewire ports. Most 3.5" firewire enclosure have two ports precisely so you can make daisy chains. The ones at OWC all do, for instance.

My daisy chain includes an external drive, a DVD burner and an iPod.

I do not think a mixed USB/Firewire daisy chain will work.
posted by nowonmai at 12:08 PM on September 25, 2006

Response by poster: The 160 GB LaCie is a triple-interface (FW 400, 800, & USB 2.0), so it only has one of each port. The Mini only has one FW 400 port.

Of the two candidates for the new external drive (criteria: must be portable & bus-powered) are the SmartDisk 80GB FW 400 (only one FW400 port) or the 80 GB LaCie Rugged All-Terrain HD Triple Interface (one each FW 400, FW800, and USB 2). I liked the form factor of the SmartDisk better than the LaCie Rugged. But:

1) since the Lacie & the Rugged both have FW 800 jacks, could I connect thus: Mini-->FW400-->LaCie-->FW800-->Rugged ? If that solves it, then I'll cope with the ugly Rugged. [While I'm at it; anyone have either of these portable drives? recommendations/reviews?]

2) I thought of the Mini -->USB-->Lacie-->FW 400-->SmartDisk configuration because I wouldn't actually be transferring data over USB, just the instructions to copy from one external HD to another (there's no room on the Mini to transfer to anyway).

Is there a conflict in either/both case 1 and 2, since not all the connections are the same standard?
posted by bartleby at 12:42 PM on September 25, 2006

Why do you need to daisy-chain the drives? Plug the LaCie into the USB port on your Mini. Plug the SmartDisk into the FireWire port on your Mini. Copy copy copy.
posted by chrismear at 1:02 PM on September 25, 2006

Just to clarify, even if you plug both drives straight into the computer, you can copy stuff directly between them. The Mini just reads a bit from one disk, and writes it to the other. It doesn't use any space on the Mini's internal hard drive.
posted by chrismear at 1:04 PM on September 25, 2006

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