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  1. #1
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?

    Member Since
    Dec 10, 2009
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    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?
    Hello,

    This is my first post to the mac forums. I hope someone here can help me. I took my old hard drive out when I sold my old windows PC because I didn't have time to back it up properly when I moved overseas. My wife has her Imac here so I bought an external hdd took out the drive in it then put my old drive in there. Now I tried looking through it to save what I wanted but some of the files wouldn't show up in Finder specifically some of the google chrome files like my favorites/bookmarks. I know they are supposed to be under userdata/username or some such but they just don't show up. So instead of going through everything (which I can't do since I can't see some stuff within Finder I should be able to do) I decided to just make an image of the disk using DiskUtility under applications/utils on the Mac. Then I switched out the old hdd for the new one that came with the ext drive. I tried extracting the image to the new drive but the format must have been incompatible because it wouldn't let me put anything on the drive. So I formated it to fat using the DiskUtility again and now I can put stuff on it. However the disk image is way over 4Gb or whatever the max of fat is. So I get an error 0. If I try copying the seperate files instead of the entire image and ignore the files that are too large ie HD movies I still get an error. I think it was error 36 something about I couldn't move some of the data. Anyways I think the original hdd was in NTFS.

    Is there any way for me to just copy all the information from the old hdd to the new one including any info that the mac can't read? Is it just a limit of the built in copy/paste in the mac? Does the image I made of the HDD include all the info on it including what the mac couldn't see? Are there any free Mac programs out there that could accomplish what I want?

    Please help me, I don't know how to use a Mac beyond basic point and click. I was using windows and a little Ubuntu and mac is new to me.

  2. #2
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?
    nabl's Avatar
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    I don't quite understand your entire situation. Do you want to create an exact duplicate of your old hard drive as a backup? Or are you just trying that in an effort to get the files you want from it?

    If it's the latter, you might be able to get the files you know are there by can't see by showing hidden files in the Finder. Open Terminal from the /Applications/Utilities folder and then type this command to display hidden files:
    Code:
    defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES
    Then Control-Option-click the Finder icon in the Dock and choose Relaunch. Now navigate to where you think those files should be, and if they're there by hidden, you will be able to see them (and presumable restore them). If that doesn't work, run the command above again, with NO in place of YES

    If you want to make an exact duplicate of the hard drive, just say. That's an entirely different process. If so, do you have both the new and the old hard drive mounted at once? (I believe you said you're using the enclosure of the new one to hold the old one, so perhaps not.) If not, is the iMac's hard drive larger than your old one; that is, large enough to hold a disk image the size of the old drive?

  3. #3
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?

    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by nabl View Post
    I don't quite understand your entire situation. Do you want to create an exact duplicate of your old hard drive as a backup? Or are you just trying that in an effort to get the files you want from it?
    I guess it's understandable someone wouldn't understand, I should stop posting when its late and I'm tired. I reread my post and I must say I'm impressed you actually figured out basically what I was trying to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by nabl View Post
    If you want to make an exact duplicate of the hard drive, just say. That's an entirely different process. If so, do you have both the new and the old hard drive mounted at once? (I believe you said you're using the enclosure of the new one to hold the old one, so perhaps not.) If not, is the iMac's hard drive larger than your old one; that is, large enough to hold a disk image the size of the old drive?
    I had tried originally to sort through the stuff on the hard drive and save what I wanted. However I couldn't see some of the files (thanks for that code btw it worked now I can see them) so I decided to make an exact copy which I could weed through later. I need to give the old hard drive back to the person I sold the computer to once I'm done backing it up to the new external drive I bought. I did manage to make a .dmg file of the hard drive onto my wife's Imac but I was not sure if it included everything because a) it was smaller than it should have been and b) I couldn't see some of the files I needed. So now that I can see the files are there in the .dmg file I assume it is a copy of the entire contents of the drive but was compressed somehow.

    Now to answer your questions:
    -I can't mount both the hard drives at once as I only have one external hdd enclosure.
    -The original hdd I'm trying to back up is a 500Gb one, but it only has about 120Gb of files
    -The Imac hdd is 200Gb approx but it does have 150Gb or so of space
    -The new hdd I'm trying to get the stuff onto is also 500Gb
    -The Imac currently has what I now believe is a good image of the old hard drive on it that is compressed slightly and is about 95Gb in size.
    -This is what disk utility says when I click on the .dmg image
    Disk Description : Apple UDIF read-only compressed (zlib) Total Capacity : 500.11 GB (500,107,862,016 Bytes)
    Connection Bus : Disk Image
    Disk Write Status : Read Only
    Partition Map Scheme : Master Boot Record
    Disk Image Path : /Macintosh HD/Users/Trish/Desktop/WDC WD50 00AAKS-22YGA0 Media.dmg
    -I would prefer to make an exact copy now so I can sort through it later when I get my computer up and running.

    I know one of the problems I've had with trying to move the image onto the new hdd is that it is formatted in fat as the disk utility couldn't format to ntfs. So if you know of a way I can format the new hdd to ntfs that would overcome one of the problems. However as I've said when I copy some of the files and not the ones that are too large I still get another error and I don't know what file is causing that error. I ran into the same problem when I was trying to copy the files over manually instead of as an entire disk image. I was unable to find out which file was causing the problem. It must have been one of the hidden files that I couldn't see at the time.

    Is there a way I can figure out what format the disk image I have is in so I can format the new hdd to that? I believe I would have chosen ntfs at the time, but I can't be sure it was a long time ago. If it is ntfs is there a way I can format it to that using the Imac? Is there a way to tell which file is causing the problem and if so a way to skip that file but move over everything else? It seems to me the problem is with the built in copy/paste in the Imac as Disk utility was able to make an image of the disk with no problem, but copy and paste wouldn't work.

    Hopefully I came accross more clearly this time. Thanks for your time.

    Edit: The external hdd initially had ntfs on it I believe but I couldn't paste to it. I assumed that there was something wrong with it since I couldn't paste to it. I'm pretty sure the hdd I was trying to back up was ntfs so I figured if I could read from it mac had ntfs support. But it appears mac only has read support built in, is that correct? I found some mention of being able to format read and write in ntfs in a post online here is a quote

    The Mac package for NTFS-3G has certainly matured since I last looked at it... bundled MacFUSE, preference pane for configuration and NTFS format support through Disk Utility.

    Download it now!

    http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/
    So if I used that would I be able to format the drive to ntfs and then be able to write to ntfs so I could put the drive image I have on it?

    Edit 2: Also is there a format I could use on the ext hdd that would allow me to use it with windows, mac and linux? The temporary computer I will be having is an old laptop of mine running Ubuntu which if i recall I formatted using ext4. If fat32 would do the job on all those platforms I guess I could just break up my large video files and then I wouldn't have a problem.

  4. #4
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?
    nabl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification and detailed responses; it really makes the difference between getting accurate help and guesswork.

    It sounds like you do indeed have a valid .dmg of your old disk, so all that's left to do is write it to the new disk. Here are instructions from Disk Utility's help. Using that method (and selecting Erase Destination), you shouldn't have to worry about how the disk is formatted beforehand; although I'm not positive, I believe it will copy the image back exactly, including the formatting information. However, if you are curious about which format the old drive used, just click on it in Disk Utility's left pane and look at the Format field at the bottom of the window.

    And yes, OS X provides read-only access to NTFS drives, as you already discovered. So you will need something like NTFS-3G in the case that you do need to write to an NTFS drive. (Also, in Snow Leopard you can enable built-in-but-hidden write support.)

    As for a format that works across all three platforms, I'm afraid you might be stuck with FAT if you want native support. However, if you're planning on using it with only your own Macs and Linux systems (where you can personally install the necessary software), NTFS would work too. You'll just need to enable NTFS write-support on the iMac either way I mentioned above and install NTFS-3G on the Linux machine (it's probably in Ubuntu's Software Center if you're using 9.10; Synaptic otherwise). That's actually probably the simplest route, as you would have to tediously copy the files from the disk image (rather than directly writing it) to the new drive if you formatted the new drive differently. The choice is up to you, though.

    I hope that's all comprehensible; I'm the tired one now, so hopefully I'm not too confusing. Let me know if you need any better explanations (or if that simply doesn't work—I could be outright wrong).

  5. #5
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?

    Member Since
    Dec 10, 2009
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    Thank you very much I'll try that direct copy method a little later today and see if that works. Luckily my wife upgraded to snow leopard recently so I'll give that a try too. That would solve one of the problems with using ntfs instead of fat. I also am using Ubuntu 9.10 so I'll check if it has ntfs-3g in its software centre when I get that old laptop plugged in and running. So I'll try it out later today to let you know if you are outright wrong Thanks for your help.

    Edit: I read some of the comments on the built in support in snow leopard. Either it is buggy itself or people are doing it wrong because there are lots of negative comments on it. So now I'm down to deciding on ntfs-3g on both machines or just switching to fat32 and splitting large files. I guess the deciding factor will be if I try that direct copy and it works I'll try out ntfs-3g and see how it goes.

  6. #6
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nabl View Post
    It sounds like you do indeed have a valid .dmg of your old disk, so all that's left to do is write it to the new disk. Here are instructions from Disk Utility's help. Using that method (and selecting Erase Destination), you shouldn't have to worry about how the disk is formatted beforehand; although I'm not positive, I believe it will copy the image back exactly, including the formatting information.
    Tried it just now, the help file link didn't work, but I managed to look up the instructions in the help file to do it. Got something like could not proceed, source file corrupt. So I guess that can't work. I'll have to just grab the files I need manually I guess.

  7. #7
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?
    nabl's Avatar
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    If you need to give the old disk back soon, perhaps it would be worth looking over the "Restoring a disk or disk image to another disk" article in Disk Utility's help. That way, if you can get a sound duplicate, you won't have to worry about rushing and forgetting any files on the old disk (easy to do when copying manually).

  8. #8
    How to copy an external hdd to mac then to a diff ext hdd?

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    I ended up doing it manually using ntfs-3g to write to the new hard drive so I could send the large files without splitting them. On a side note, using the safer method of writing is extremely slow on an external hdd. Well I was expecting that from the notes that came with ntfs-3g. Hopefully they will improve that in later free versions so I don't have to buy the pay version. Hopefully I also didn't forget to copy anything I will need. I think I'll leave the disk image on the mac for a while just in case. Thanks for your help.

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