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  1. #1
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    So my macbook 2015, running 10.12.6, crashed after it got to 0% and couldn't boot, lesson learned.

    However it couldn't repair, couldn't reinstall since I was stupid enough to buy a 250GB. So, I bought an external HDD with 1TB. Installed OS on that.

    Now, everything is working fine, I still have all my files. But I'd like to get the OS on the machine again.

    The external HDD doesn't come up as an option when trying to backup with time machine. In disk utility, I can see it has the same amount of space taken up as the machine, and if i try to boot without the external HDD it just shuts off.

    So I'm assuming I'm booting from the external, and that has everything on it (please correct me if I'm wrong). When I try to recreate the machine from the external HDD it says "The source volume is readable and writable and cannot be removed from the desktop, so it cannot be copied block by block."

    Should I change permissions? Or should I try to just press Delete on Macintosh HD? Just a bit worried since some of those 244GBs are very valuable to me.
    Another thing is the Macintosh is included in the APPLE SSD SM0256G Media, which I can try to recreate from the external HDD aswell, but I'm worried that will mess something up.

    Thanks for any replies!

  2. #2
    Hey! So I could access the control menu at startup, the place where you can restore from time machine backup and whatnot. In that menu i tried to repair, but it didn't work.
    Installing a new version of OS on the internal SSD didn't work because there wasn't enough space, so I installed it on an external HDD.

    So when I boot up now, I log in like usual, the external HDD needs to be connected or else it won't start, the apple logo comes and the loading bar, then shuts off before completely loading. The external HDD does appear on the desktop, and I've gotten messages like "Please eject Macintosh HDD safely before you remove".

    Accessing files are very slow as well, and it appears everything came with the installation of OS from the boot menu, as the external HDD has just as much space taken up as the internal SSD.

    So, I need to get the external HDD copy onto the macintosh HDD, I think. But I'm a bit unsure if I'm completely off track in my thinking somehow as I don't know a lot about computers, and wanted to get some advice first. That's why I just tried making a backup first, or replacing the Macintosh HDD with the external one, where i get the "The source volume is readable and writable and cannot be removed from the desktop, so it cannot be copied block by block" error.

    There is the delete Macintosh HDD option, but that's always a bit scary if you're not completely sure what's going on.

  3. #3
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    pm-r's Avatar
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    @user121212
    So I'm assuming I'm booting from the external, and that has everything on it

    To confirm what volume you are booted from, just use About This Mac under the Apple icon, and it should show the name of the boot volume.

    PS: I would strongly suggest you get another hard drives and store your valuable data on it using something like Carbon Copy Cloner immediately and before you try starting various repairs.


    - Patrick
    ======
    Last edited by pm-r; 09-29-2019 at 11:35 PM.

  4. #4
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    Rod's Avatar
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    I'm puzzled, how did you manage to install an Operating System (OS) on the External Hard Drive (EHD)?

    Currently I take it you are running off the EHD, that is, the OS in on the EHD and all your files are on the Internal Drive (SSD)?

    My suggestion would be to copy all of your files and applications to the EHD. Most of these files will be in the Macintosh HD Folder which you should see in the side menu of any Finder window. If not check Finder Menu preferences and click Sidebar and tick everything, the "your name's" MacintoshHD is the one you want.
    In that you will find Applications, Library, System and Users folders. You can just drag and drop these folders onto your EHD. Of course they will take a while to copy. Don't try to do more that one folder at a time.

    The objective of that exercise is to have backups of all your personal data on the EHD so you can work on the internal SSD.

    Once you have, say the contents of your Photos Folder, onto the EHD you can delete it from your SSD.

    This will give you enough space to download the installer for macOS Sierra 10.12.6. Quit it once it loads (it will try to begin installation) just go to the Installer Menu on the menu bar and Quit it. Now you can copy it to the EHD. That way you will retain a copy in case the process goes sideways. The original on the SSD will be erased automatically when you use it.

    I suggest then you run the installer on the internal SSD and select the erase and instal option.

    Now you will have an empty SSD except for the macOS.

    If all seems well you can reverse the process of transferring the data from the EHD to the internal SSD.

    All of this probably sounds very complicated but step by step you will get there. There really is no simpler way. Most of the time will be waiting for data to transfer.

    Make sure you have all of your passwords for everything.
    I used to be conceited but now I'm perfect.

  5. #5
    @honestone33
    Yes, there's 253 GBs on the external HDD, and 245 on the macbook. Did not partition the external.. I'm not sure what/where the installation file is.

  6. #6
    @pm-r

    Didn't know that! It says It's the external one. I'm thinking I might need to do that, I'll just buy another HDD today and do that, then return it or something.

    But carbon copy cloner, does it show if the clone is bootable? Right now I can't boot from Macintosh HDD.

  7. #7
    @Rod

    There's that menu you can still access if you can't boot properly, you can see time machine copies, access disk utility and reinstall OS and one more thing I can't remember. Even that was such a hassle, had to change the time cause it reset to 2016 and stuff.

    I'm thinking about it, and I think I'll buy another HDD, do the carbon copy cloner on that, then go through your method. It'll be a bit time consuming but that's the safest way.
    Then I'll just return one of the external HDDs, and keep one to start making real backups haha.

  8. #8
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    pm-r's Avatar
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    But carbon copy cloner, does it show if the clone is bootable? Right now I can't boot from Macintosh HDD.
    If the volume is not bootable, then I would expect any CCC clone of that volume would act the same.


    Then I'll just return one of the external HDDs, and keep one to start making real backups haha.
    I would strongly suggest that you do not return any Hard Drive and keep both. Only having one backup Drive is absolutely minimal insurance against any loss, and you seem to have some rather critical data that you do not want to lose.


    - Patrick
    ======

  9. #9
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    pm-r's Avatar
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    Thus, you will have difficulty in terms of trying to do any kind of restore from that backup. That's because while the amount of space used is about the same, the normal Restore process sees the entire 1 TB amount.


    WHAT...??? That is completely nonsensical.


    - Patrick
    ======

  10. #10
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    pm-r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honestone33 View Post
    It's not nonsensical. I was talking about trying to do a COMPLETE restore.

    Then maybe you might care to explain your original paragraph and reasoning a bit better and your logic for your statement, and do so before doing any further later post-editing.

    Your statement doesn't make sense to me and not quite logical, but then again, maybe I just misunderstood something and user121212 the OP understands completely.



    - Patrick
    ======

  11. #11
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    pm-r's Avatar
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    Maybe (and hopefully) this is clear enough for you:
    macos - OSX: How can I clone a larger hard drive to a smaller one? - Super User
    That article is dealing with two completely separate issues:
    • I want is an exact clone, byte-for-byte.
    • I'm using FileVault on the old drive.


    BTW: One could always just use the Finder to select all the needed existing files and folders and then move from the larger to the smaller Drive as long as that drive has enough spare room to hold them all.



    - Patrick
    ======

  12. #12
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    To try to calm things down a bit, there are at least two types of "clone" processes. One is a block-for-block or byte-for-byte clone and the other is a file by file clone. You can definitely clone a bigger drive to a smaller drive as long as the data on the larger drive is smaller than the smaller drive in a file by file clone. That's not a byte-for-byte clone, which goes even further and requires that the two drives absolutely match in geometry (platters, heads, sectors, etc). But for a file-by-file clone, as long as it fits on the smaller drive, it works perfectly. I've done it many times before.

    As for the unbootability of the internal drive, could it be that because the drive is so full that the OS is unable to establish scratch and cache space on it, hence it won't boot. If that is the case and if you get a new drive and CCC, do a full clone to a larger drive, including the system files following the directions at the CCC website, it may well boot from the external because it has the room. Then you can boot from it, then go back to the internal to look to clean up some space on the internal to make enough space for it to boot. If it fails to boot from the CCC Clone, then you will know that the internal drive has system problems that got cloned over and so will need to have a full reinstall done.
    Jake

  13. #13
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    pm-r's Avatar
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    there are at least two types of "clone" processes. One is a block-for-block or byte-for-byte clone and the other is a file by file clone.

    Thanks for providing the extra additional information Jake, especially for the benefit for those who didn't know or realize how such stuff can work.

    I could never understand why a user would want or insist on a block by block backup or clone.

    But I believe CCC and some other software could do so as an option many versions ago. or maybe still can.

    EDIT:
    CCC and The Block-Level Copy
    If enabled in CCC's preferences, CCC will indicate if the source and destination volume selections qualify for a block-level copy.
    The Block-Level Copy | Carbon Copy Cloner | Bombich Software



    - Patrick
    ======
    Last edited by pm-r; 09-30-2019 at 09:34 PM.

  14. #14
    Reinstalling/fixing corrupted OS
    Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user121212 View Post
    @Rod

    There's that menu you can still access if you can't boot properly, you can see time machine copies, access disk utility and reinstall OS and one more thing I can't remember. Even that was such a hassle, had to change the time cause it reset to 2016 and stuff.

    I'm thinking about it, and I think I'll buy another HDD, do the carbon copy cloner on that, then go through your method. It'll be a bit time consuming but that's the safest way.
    Then I'll just return one of the external HDDs, and keep one to start making real backups haha.
    That sounds like a plan. Really, so long as all your data is saved somewhere, everything else can be replaced or repaired. If your data is on the same drive as the boot volume that would obviously be ideal.
    I used to be conceited but now I'm perfect.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by pm-r View Post
    I could never understand why a user would want or insist on a block by block backup or clone.
    I can't either, but I'm sure there are valid reasons for doing that.

    The one benefit of a file-by-file clone vs the block-by-block is that most of the fragmentation on the source drive is eliminated.
    The macOS is pretty good in keeping fragmentation in check, but it's not perfect.
    Last time I compared disk fragmentation on the source to the clone, the fragmentation on the clone was much less - that's with a file-by-file clone.
    With a block-by-block clone fragmentation would stay the same.

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