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Copying Macintosh drive to external hard drive.. for security reasons.

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Is it possible to copy the Macintosh drive which as the OS on it ( internal on my iMac which is a 1Tb SSD) to an external hard drive (G)which is not a SSD?

I want to do this so that I will have back ups of all that it is on the Macintosh drive stored seperately for peace of mind. ( Lightroom catalog especially)

I would then Carbon Copy Clone the external hard drive (G) to another (H) so that I have 3 copies (1 on the internal Macintosh drive and 2 on external hard drives G and H) .

I do have a separate SSD external that is dedicated to time machine already. I don't really want to set Time Machine to the external hard drive (G) as it would just keep putting newer copies on it hourly , daily etc. I want to be able to choose when I manually copy the Macintosh drive to the external G drive , so that I get a snapshot when I want it.

The second external is stored offsite and is swapped with G when they are cloned to always have a copy offsite. ( paranoia maybe !! )

Is this a feasible way to do it?


Cheers

Bernard
 

Slydude

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What you are looking for is software that can produce a "bootable" clone of your internal hard drive. Although there are numerous programs that can do the the most frequently used apps by members on the forum are Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper.

Both programs have trial versions so you could download both and examine each to see which you prefer.

Congrats on thinking through a good backup policy.
 
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I already have CCC but I am concerned that it would only see whats on the Macintosh drive and therefore ersase what is already on the external G drive as it may think that it has been erased from the source .. I will take a look at CCC again and see if I can figure it out.

Thanks for your interest..
 

IWT


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Is it possible to copy the Macintosh drive which as the OS on it ( internal on my iMac which is a 1Tb SSD) to an external hard drive (G)which is not a SSD?
YES

What you would be doing is, I believe, making a Cloned Backup (BU) to 2 separate External Hard Drives (EHD) so that you have 2 independent cloned BUs.

Have a careful read of this article and follow the advice for your Operating System (OS) - which I Believe is macOS Mojave. The article takes you through the process Step by Step:

Preparing your backup disk for a backup of macOS | Carbon Copy Cloner | Bombich Software

Ian
 

IWT


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I already have CCC but I am concerned that it would only see whats on the Macintosh drive and therefore ersase what is already on the external G drive as it may think that it has been erased from the source .. I will take a look at CCC again and see if I can figure it out.

Thanks for your interest..

I think I have answered your concerns in my post above. Do 2 separate , individual clones. One to EHD G and another to EHD H.

Ian
 

Slydude

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If I'm understanding your concern correctly I think that has been addressed. Recent version of Carbon Copy Cloner have a feature called SafetyNet the may solve your problem.
 
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I have looked at the article it keeps saying that I need to erase the disk before formatting it. It seems to be talking about when you have a new empty disk.

If we are talking about my existing HDDs they are already formatted and have a lot of photographic files already in place which I clearly don't want to erase.

I was looking to see if I could ADD a copy of Macintosh drive ( not just the OS but also the Lightroom Catalogs which are vital ) to these HDDs (when I chose to rather than on a schedule) and also keep the existing files in place. Maybe I should look at getting another SSD and simply set that up as a second SSD dedicated only for 2nd Time Machine copy and then remove this physically from the set up when I leave the building .. ( here comes the paranoia again )

Cheers


Bernard
 
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krs


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I think what was not clear until OP's post #7 is that the cloned backup is intended to be copied to a drive that already has data on it.
AFAIK, if you want to do that, have existing files and a cloned backup on the same external drive, you would have to have the external drive partitioned.
With the cost of external drives today, I think it is best to keep the cloned backup on a totally separate drive of either type spinner or SSD
 

Slydude

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I get it now. Member krs is correct. If that's the goal it could be accomplished by partitioning the drive and putting the clone on one partition and data on the other partition. I have two caveats for you to consider if you are going to do this:

1. In that situation it's possible to lose both the original data and the backup partition if the drive fails.
2. Don't put original data and the backup of that data on the same drive even if it's on different partitions. In that case there's no redundancy. It would be like having original data and a backup burned to the same DVD. If the DVD fails both sets of data are lost.
 

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Have a careful read of this article and follow the advice for your Operating System (OS) - which I Believe is macOS Mojave. The article takes you through the process Step by Step:

Preparing your backup disk for a backup of macOS | Carbon Copy Cloner | Bombich Software
Seems to me those instructions are a lot more complex than they need to be.
I haven't used CCC for a few years now - ended up always using SuperDuper (SD), but the process I always thought was pretty much the same.

For instance, SD will erase the drive or partition before doing the backup - there is no need to do that separately in Disk Utility.
I also don't understand the logic behind this:
Choosing a Format for your destination volume
If your destination device is an HDD with a rotational speed of 5400RPM (or slower): (e.g. "Slim" backup devices, 2.5" disks) APFS is not a suitable format for these devices, the performance is unacceptable.
Who cares when it comes to the backup if the "performance is unacceptable" - it's a backup not the drive I will be using day-to-day
I hopefully never need to use the back up, but if my main drive fails, the proper procedure would be to replace it and clone the backup back to the replacement SSD.

In general I have never changed the back up cloning process for any of the macOSs I have used so far:
Just launch the application
Select the source and destination
Select the type of back up and let it run, usually over night
When done eject the external with the backup and keep it somewhere "safe"
 
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Not hard to do with CCC.

Don't put original data and the backup of that data on the same drive even if it's on different partitions. In that case there's no redundancy.

With two backup drives in rotation, the redundancy is there. I would partition the two backup drives, and let CCC back up the internal HD to one partition, and the external ("G") data disk to the second partition. CCC can be programmed to choose a source and a destination for a given task, so you just need to create two tasks, both set to run on demand instead of on a schedule. After the initial cloning, only new/changed files would be copied over. (CCC may actually require four tasks, if you can't fool it into not distinguishing the two drives you have in rotation, and I think that's actually the better approach... no confusion about which drive is which if they're named differently.)

My own solution is a RAID array. Admittedly, a bit more expensive (4x2TB HDDs), but it's self-redundant, and it holds both a Time Machine backup and a bootable CCC clone, in separate partitions. Keeping the CCC clone partition unmounted between cloning sessions protects against a ransomware attack. My only concession to paranoia is a cloud copy (Dropbox, in my case) of the really important stuff - what I'd want to recover to a new Mac if the house burned down - but a third drive (that lives off-site) would serve as well, and would further foil ransomware.

ETA: Used RAID boxes are relatively cheap on eBay, especially the slower (USB-2) ones. Speed is irrelevant to a backup system, so you give up nothing with an old, slow box.
 
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Who cares when it comes to the backup if the "performance is unacceptable"

I recommend that folks have a look at this article:

Six Lessons Learned from Dealing with an iMac’s Dead SSD
Six Lessons Learned from Dealing with an iMac's Dead SSD - TidBITS
Especially:
"Lesson #1: A bootable duplicate should be fast enough to use as your boot drive, or it’s essentially a read-only backup like Time Machine. "


Some (hopefully) useful info on Catalina and clone backups:

If you are running Mac OS 10.15 (Catalina) or later (or you plan to), and you sensibly keep a clone backup, you should know:

- Catalina requires that the drive that you use for booting be formatted as APFS. (Catalina now puts the System into one partition, your data into a separate partition. HFS does not “understand” that convention. Hence, a clone created from a Catalina boot Mac must be created on a storage medium formatted to APFS, or it won't be bootable.)

- External rotating disk hard drives formatted as APFS are slow as molasses. (APFS is optimized for SSD's. You can format a RDHD as APFS, but it is far from optimal.)

- So...if you have upgraded to Catalina or later (or you plan to), and you want to maintain a clone backup, it's a really good idea to consider an external SSD to back up to. Otherwise, when you find yourself needing to use your clone (likely right after a nasty crash of your main hard drive), and you are under stress to get things back into a workable state, you might chew your own arm off in frustration from the slow performance of your clone. (I've heard of Catalina clone backups taking as much as 20 minutes just to startup and be ready to be used.)

- Note that SSD's usually don't give any warning before failing. For that reason, it might be a good idea to have TWO SSD-based backup drives, for redundancy.

- APFS is incompatible with Apple’s Time Machine backup application

Time Machine Mac: What It Is, How It Works, How to Use It

Of course this means that the external hard drive that you backup to using Time Machine has to be formatted as HFS+. It can be either a RDHD or an SSD. If you are running Catalina this, of course, means that you won't be able to boot from your Time Machine backup.


- A Macintosh running any version of the Mac OS prior to High Sierra (10.13) cannot read a drive formatted as APFS.

So, if you create a clone backup to a drive formatted as APFS (e.g. a clone of a drive running Catalina), that clone won't work on any Mac running a version of the Mac OS prior to High Sierra.
 
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Well at the moment in my path of learning about Macs most of that went over my head, but it is interesting anyway. Guess that I have a way to go.. Currently I am using Mojave.

I will read the articles as suggested.

I was rather hoping that my 1TB Time Machine SSD would have all that I might need to rescue the Mac in the future if I needed to. Is that correct and will that suffice for Catalina?

Will my external HDDs ( 6TB ) still work with Catalina? ( they have my photographic files on them and are used for archival purposes only as they do not have anything from the internal Macintosh drive on them ) If not then it might be another reason why I won't be migrating to it any time soon or is that just for the clone.

It's a cost issue right from the start.



I will take a look at the Bible to see if it tells me why my version of Mojave is stuck on the VIEW ALL DEVICES view in disk utility .. It used to have VIEW VOLUMES ONLY as well but now it doesn't. Well at least it is "stuck" in the expanded view which is handy.



Cheers


Bernard
 

krs


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I will take a look at the Bible to see if it tells me why my version of Mojave is stuck on the VIEW ALL DEVICES view in disk utility .. It used to have VIEW VOLUMES ONLY as well but now it doesn't. Well at least it is "stuck" in the expanded view which is handy.
How is this "stuck"?
Is the option to "Only show volumes" dimmed out?
I'm on Mojave, 10.14.6 and I can switch back and forth between All Devices and Volumes Only
 
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It was working fine the other day.

I formatted a Time Machine SSD and ever since that I only get the option of SHOW ALL DEVICES , the other option to SHOW ONLY VOLUMES is not greyed out but it will not allow me to select it. I can click on it until the cows come home but it has no effect.

This means that my view in Disk Utility is always the expanded one. I am not the only one with this problem.

More details are in my post Disk utility is stuck in SHOW ALL DEVICES view
 

krs


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I recommend that folks have a look at this article:
Thanks for posting this, Randy

What it tells me is not to upgrade to Catalina at all until some of these issues are sorted out.

I didn't really look that closely at Catalina as an upgrade from El Capitan even though my Mini hardware supports it, mostly because I have some 32-bit apps I still want to run, but now it was probably a good move for me to stay at Mojave for now.

That a backup drive has to be APFS formatted if one is running Catalina is rather obvious and not an issue, but that the backup drive should also be an SSD and not a spinner and that Time Machine, the only official Apple backup mechanism, are pretty major issues in my opinion.

Re:
I've heard of Catalina clone backups taking as much as 20 minutes just to startup and be ready to be used.
Would that long startup time also apply when booting up Catalina on the main drive if it is a spinner?
If not, any idea why it is so different on a Catalina clone?
 

chscag

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When I was beta testing Catalina I actually tested it on a spinner drive and an SSD (both of which were formatted to APFS). Booting from the spinner was slow but not that slow. It did take several minutes to boot and then another several minutes for the desktop to show. Whereas the SSD (a Samsung T5) was almost as fast as the internal SSD of my iMac.

Would that long startup time also apply when booting up Catalina on the main drive if it is a spinner?
If not, any idea why it is so different on a Catalina clone?
I imagine Catalina would boot faster from an internal spinner than from an external one due to the faster internal bus versus the external USB bus.
 
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Another thing to consider, laptop spinner drive do not always have the same rpm speed as desktop spinner drives. Especially in external enclosures.
 

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I imagine Catalina would boot faster from an internal spinner than from an external one due to the faster internal bus versus the external USB bus.
The "up to 20 minute" boot up time of Catalina from a backup i s way beyond my tolerance level.
I would probably have shut down my Mac at the 5 minute point and tried again.

A short while ago I posted some boot up times for Mojave on an external SSD connected via USB 3.0 and for El Capitan with an internal spinner. I of course can't find that post now, but the external for me was a bit faster (I think), especially the time between the blue screen appearing and the complete desktop coming up.
 
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Have a read here about why APFS and spinner drives don't really work well together: Using APFS On HDDs ... And Why You Might Not Want To

TL ; DR -- APFS takes advantage of the lack of rotation to ignore latency and just move small chunks of big files when needed. But that fragments the spinner like mad, which makes them get slower and slower over time.
 
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