Home > apple, backup, computer, hackintosh, macintosh, software, Uncategorized > Hackintosh disaster recovery part 2

Hackintosh disaster recovery part 2

In part one I looked at the steps I took to get my hackintosh working again after accidentally overwriting the boot information. The computer has been working fine for over three weeks since, and I haven’t found any side effects with software or hardware. My latest efforts have been focused on making bootable backups for use in the event of an unbootable hackintosh.

In the past I have had reliable results making backups to an external USB or Firewire Hard Drive. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to do this on my Mac Mini until it was replaced with a Macbook. CCC was a little slow to support the new Intel architecture, so I bought SuperDuper. When Leopard was first launched CCC was first to support it, so I switched again. In the present, both apps work great and do the job of making a bootable backup of an Apple Macintosh.

Unfortunately with my Hackintosh I have found that making a copy of the Leopard partition to an external drive isn’t enough to get it working. I suspect that the EFI emulation software installed when I used the Kalyway 10.5.1 disc wasn’t copied, so the external boot hangs. The easy way around this was to use the install disk to make a fresh install to the external drive first. After checking that it was bootable, an incremental backup using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner will add and delete whatever is necessary to make the backup perfectly mirror the original. By making a regular incremental backup you always have a recent bootable copy of your system for the day disaster strikes. I say this because as a computer user for the past 28 years I know that it’s not a case of if something goes wrong, but when.

The theory of an external drive is sound, unfortunately this doesn’t work with all external drives. I tested four USB and Firewire enclosures that I use, and found only two were usable for external booting.

  1. My Firewire 3½ inch case was a non starter, as I am using a PCI Firewire card. The BIOS will not recognise anything plugged into the card. I don’t know if a motherboard with integrated Firewire would be any different, does anyone have experience of this?
  2. For backups I am currently using a 3½ inch Firewire/USB enclosure with a Prolific Technology chipset, product ID 0x3507. This works fine when connected using USB, and is currently fitted with a 300Gb IDE drive.
  3. A 2½ inch unbranded case with Sunplus Technology chipset ID 0x0c15 works, and is fitted with the 120Gb SATA drive that was recently removed from my Macbook. I currently have two installs of 10.5.2 on this. When a software update is released that may compromise my system I install it to the first leopard installation on this disk. If all is well that gets mirrored to the second installation. If it doesn’t work I boot to the second (not updated) installation on this disk and mirror that back to the first. It takes about an hour to test a new update, but the security is well worth the time.
  4. The last enclosure is a 2½ inch branded ‘Transcend’ using a JMicron chipset ID 0x2338. This doesn’t currently work, but I’m unsure if I have the JMicron drivers installed that were an option on the Kalyway 10.5.1 disk. Testing JMicron drivers is the next job as this case has the original 60Gb Macbook SATA drive fitted, which if bootable would replace the 120Gb testing drive and free that for other uses.

The ID’s of the chipsets were obtained from the Leopard System Profiler.

By making backups using the methods described here it is possible to have just as much disaster resilience as an Apple Macintosh, so that’s another perceived weakness of the Hackintosh debunked. I hope to buy a 1Tb internal SATA drive soon and use half for a backup and the other half with Time Machine, so a future article will detail the results of that.

  1. LoneWaffle
    September 12, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    By “incremental backup” in SuperDuper, are you referring to the SmartUpdate option, or the Copy Different option?

  2. basshead
    September 12, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    SmartUpdate, I’ve found it to be reasonably fast and haven’t had any problems booting or restoring the backups it makes.

  3. LoneWaffle
    September 13, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Awesome, thanks so much for this!

  4. robinson
    October 5, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    You made my day! Would have saved me a lot of trouble and time if I knew this earlier… Thank you so much!

  5. August 2, 2009 at 11:49 pm


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