Everything You Need to Know to Install Tiger
Subject:   Can't boot from back up drive!
Date:   2005-12-03 15:30:33
From:   Sarah13
Fantastic article, thank you. I am new to Mac and really appreciate the detail.
I seem to have hit a bump along the way....I recently acquired my friends old iMac G4 with OS X 10.2.8. After using it for a bit I wanted to start fresh and decided a clean install was best. I cloned my hard drive (following the instructions) and I was able to boot from the external drive in both OS 9 and OS X 10.2.8. I erased my hard drive, installed Tiger and now I cannot boot from the external drive. When I go to Startup disk it shows the back up drive with only OS 9 not OS X, and I can not boot from it! In Disk utility I can see the hard drive, but it no longer shows OS 9 or OS X. It's all there, but I don't have access to it.
Apple support came to the same conclusion as me: to try erasing Tiger, re-install OS X 10.2.8 from the original CDs and hope it will read the external drive. Then upgrade both to Tiger.

Any ideas? Any help? If anyone knows how to gain access to my backup I am so grateful!

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  • FJ de Kermadec photo Can't boot from back up drive!
    2005-12-06 02:17:28  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]


    First of all, thank you very much for your kind words and for taking the time to write, I really do appreciate it!

    Hmm, you mention the ability to gain access to your backup. This, in itself, does not require that you boot from the hard drive in question: simply connecting it and transferring files should be enough to migrate your data — or let the transfer assistant do it.

    Is there any specific reason for which you wanted to boot from that external drive?

    • Can't boot from back up drive!
      2005-12-06 22:49:40  Sarah13 [View]

      Oh thank you thank you for your reply!

      When I click on the external drive it opens and shows me most folders, and all applications seem to be there. The problem- some of my folders are not there: personal documents and 'shared' folder for example. With the applications differnent things are happening. Quicken and Firefox are "like new," my history and settings are not there and I don't know how to restore them. VLC player icon will appear in the dock but nothing else (I download the current version). AppleWorks folder is present, but no app. And where are my photos?
      As this puter is my first Mac, I reckon some of this is simple and I still need to figure it out. However, I am under the impression this should be easier. That said, I want to boot from my external drive because I am missing (and emotionally missing) files dear to me.
      Thank you, thank you. Switching to Mac has been an awesome learning experience, thanks to kind people such as yourself educating the rest of us! I think computer are like cars (to the rest of us): best to know how to change the oil and get regular tune ups. :)

      • FJ de Kermadec photo Can't boot from back up drive!
        2005-12-07 02:01:22  FJ de Kermadec | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

        Hi again!

        Hmm, that is indeed interesting… As far as I know, Mac OS X v. 10.4 should be able to "see" any file just fine without requiring to boot from the drive. Indeed, even if a drive needs to be booted from for its contents to be used (if that drive contains some system files that you want the computer to load, for example), a file still is a file and should at least be displayed — especially files as technically mundane as your Documents or digital pictures.

        When launched, applications will read files and folders they have placed in your Library folder, within your home. These files are usually located in the Preferences and Application Folder support and store your settings as well as, in some cases, database information. When booted from your computer's internal drive, your home is the one on this very drive, not on the external one and, as such, your applications will not go and look on your external drive.

        To restore these applications to their original state, quit them, copy the files over from your external drive to the internal one and re-launch them — just be careful to not copy damaged or corrupted files and do not copy over the contents of the "Caches" folder.

        As a general rule, avoid copying the applications themselves from the external drive but download a fresh copy. Some applications will be better off if you re-configure them manually as well, although you are the one who will decide between keeping it clean (the manual way) or practical (copying files over).

        About files missing, this is definitely strange, provided the cloning operation went well. Before clean-installing Tiger, did you ensure the files were all there? Could you have deleted them from this drive by accident?

        If not, they may be hidden in a former FileVault (simply open it to find them) or tucked away somewhere unexpected (in which case Spotlight should help you).

        You may want to use Disk Utility to verify and repair your external drive before attempting any copying operations.