[OS X TeX] backing up /usr (and MacTeX)

Rolf Schmolling rolf.schmolling at alumni.TU-Berlin.de
Fri Jan 30 13:19:11 EST 2009

Hi Alex,

I can feel the pain (got lots of motherboard and HD-replacements over  
time – and several portable macs) and I cannot emphasize the necessity  
for backups, but since you are in London, why not buy a external HD  
with a Firewire (AND USB-)-connection, they cannot be that expensive.  
Just clone your internal HD to it and then try to repair the internal  

SD is really cheap and very reliably (and the smart cloning is really  
worth it, considering the time saved; basic operation (erase external  
drive, then copy/clone) is free. CarbonCopyColoner has acquired a  
smart-clonig-alike feature, so this wouzld be an option as well.  
Setting it up is just a teeny bit more elaborate than with SD.
Having done that I'd  erasing the internal drive (AFTER verifying that  
the bootable backup on the external HD works alright), reinstall the  
systems software and clone back… You might use migration assistant if  
you are on Leopard but this dies NOT cover /usr/etc.

Hope that helps,


Am 30.01.2009 um 18:10 schrieb Alex Hamann:

> On 30.01.2009, at 16:41, Gary L. Gray wrote:
>> On Jan 30, 2009, at 11:33 AM, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>>> On Jan 30, 2009, at 8:35 AM, Rolf Schmolling wrote:
>>>> Hi,
>>>> what about cloning it to an external Disk. I'd recommend SuperDuper
>>> doesn't work with large files over ethernet. I had to give it up  
>>> after "they" couldn't help.
>> Every night at home, I use SuperDuper! to clone to network drive  
>> (also in my home) via a wireless connection. It usually takes about  
>> an hour or so, but it sure is painless. The key is to clone to a  
>> sparse disk image. For the first clone, you can have the drive  
>> hooked up to your machine so it is fast, and then just do smart  
>> updates after that. Cloning over a network is nicely described in  
>> the SD! documentation.
>> -- Gary
> Thanks  to Rolf and David who made suggestions regarding backup  
> strategies both on- and off-list.
> In fact I use Intego Backup (the X4 version - don't get me  
> started...) for backups but my firewire HD is deep in Germany while  
> I am sitting here in London. So I can not make a clone capable of  
> booting. Moreover, now that Apple is moving away from firewire (WHY  
> did they do that to me?!) that might not be the best storage option  
> anymore.
> Anyway, not a big deal... this iBook will eventually (or rather in  
> the near future) break down completely so I am careful not to keep  
> important data on my HD and keep small selected backups on a USB  
> storage device. Unfortunately, last time I reinstalled from scratch  
> and tried to save a clone on that USB-HD I ran into major problems  
> and had to reinstall 5 times.
> Long story, short conclusion: my current approach is to maintain  
> backups of the really important stuff on my HD (my customized MacTeX  
> distro being part of that). Therefore it would be nice to know if I  
> can just create an archive of /usr and move that to the USB storage  
> device or if this would lead to problems when trying to revert to  
> that backup.
> Cheers,
> Alex
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Rolf Schmolling M.A. Historian, Rolf.Schmolling at Alumni.TU-Berlin.DE

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