For someone who has worked extensively in Windows environment, I have had my fair share of unrecoverable crashes. These were painful experiences that forced me to have an effective backup system. In Windows, I could have my PC's crashing even all at the same time and not worry about losing important files. I know that even if my hard drive conks out, I still have 2 good copies to recover from - several Lacie external HDs and hard disk images burned in DVDs (don't ask me how many). Oh, and did I say that my desktop hard drives are in raid 1/0.
As a recent mac switcher, I was feeling confident that backing up in MAC OS X is not an immediate requirement as it is in Windows. Convinced about the stability of the MAC OS X, I thought to myself that backing up could wait till maybe I have enough working files created.
It was a good thing that while working my way around the new OS, I stumbled upon the shareware SuperDuper. I just downloaded it and decided to give it a try.
My first step was to partition the IOMEGA HD 400 gig triple interface. I used the MAC OS X disk utility to partition the drive. I split the drive into two with a 100 gig formatted as MAC OS Extended (Journaled) and the remaining 300 gig as MS Dos. The 100 gig partition will be solely for the backup image that Superduper will create while the other side will be where the shared MAC and Windows files will reside.
I read in the Superduper user guide that backing up this way will make the backup drive bootable provided that it has either firewire 400 or 800. By the way, the IOMEGA external has both.
Once the external HD was partitioned, I fired up SuperDuper to do its thing. It was a very straightforward process with everything being done in just a single dialog box.
And to my surprise, using the firewire 800 connection, in 42 minutes, Superduper reported that it has successfully copied my entire HD, about 40 gig worth. Wow, at about 1 gig per minute, that was fast.
To whoever said that Murphy was an optimist, I have one for you. Not liking the system username selected for me by the IT at Powermac Center, I decided to change it today. Guess what, Murphy? I suddenly lost all my settings and installed software. I checked the main HD using Get Info and it shows that the file size (around 40 gig) is still the same. So, all the files are still there somewhere. However, all the directories and sub-directories simply do not show the files that I have painstakingly installed.
Being the boy scout that I am, I decided that I will figure this out on my own to save me a trip to the PMAC Center. I connected the IOMEGA, restarted the MBP, and while waiting for it to boot , I kept pressing ALT OPTION. Sure enough I was given a choice where to boot from, I chose Iomega. The MBP booted with the IOMEGA and I was running everything in the external HD. I know I was running from the HD because everything was sluggish but still okay. I checked all my settings and files and they are all there. I decided that it is now time to get this copied onto the "corrupted Macintosh HD."
I restarted once more and this time booting from the Macintosh HD. I fired up SuperDuper and had it restore the backup image. Again it was a very straightforward process with everything done in the same dialog box shown above.
In about 42 minutes all my settings, Quicksilver triggers, files, and everything else where back to normal. SuperDuper is a definite keeper for me and will be my primary backup software in the Mac OS X. Oh, and did I say that it's free. If you want to have the capability to do scheduled and incremental backups, then I highly recommend their $27.95 version.
Late this afternoon I stopped by Powermac to get a keyboard and told my experience to one of the IT guys. I was informed that I should've just restored my username and everything would have been back to normal. Anyway, at least I learned a couple of things - I now have a highly dependable Mac backup system and that as stable as the MAC OS X may be, it is not idiot proof. All is well that ends well.
Now, if you'll ask me what's my backup? I have only one - SuperDuper.