Posts Tagged ‘Time Machine’

I was in OS upgrade/update hell.  Okay, maybe not hell, but hell adjacent.

I am of course referring to the latest Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks.  The actual download was not so bad, if you don’t mind waiting for a 5.3 GB download that is, but the related app updates afterward got to be a little tedious and time-consuming. Especially when you get one that you’ve already done showing up again like the persistent iMovie 10.0 update.  I’ve already installed the latest version, but for some reason the App Store wants me to install it again since it seems to be showing up with a different date even though the release number is the same.  sigh.  All in all, if you are doing the update, make sure you set aside a large block of time and LOTS of bandwidth/data.  Maybe find someone with unlimited data from their ISP.
mavericks-03

mavericks-06Speaking of updates, I lost track of the number of them and the size, but suffice to say the first time I connected my Time Machine backup to the updated MBA running Mavericks, there were over 65 GB of changes to be backed up.  Thanks to a rather speedy Thunderbolt drive, it only took a couple of hours.
mavericks-04There were a few strange glitches after the Mavericks install. The first time I connected my iPad and synced it, the “finishing sync” lasted for an hour before I gave up and ejected it. Thankfully no harm done.  Another was the mail app that didn’t want to fetch new mail, even though it was set to “automatically” retrieve it seems to be on it’s own schedule.  I changed it to “every minute” and its working fine now.

mavericks-05I haven’t had much time to play with it yet, but the install went smooth for me (it’s always a crapshoot on a x.0 release so you may want to wait for the x.1) and speed seems to be good for opening programs.  I’ve noticed that my fan on my MBA is not running as often, which makes me think they’ve done some nice behind the scenes work on power usage.  To that end, in the battery indicator located in the menu bar, the “No apps using significant energy” is kinda cool.  I’ll have to try to bring my little laptop to its knees with some graphic and memory intense apps and see what that readout changes to.

If you were already running the last version of OS X you may not notice a lot of changes on the surface, aside from some new icons for a few apps.  Seems most of the big changes are behind the scenes.  Maybe they are running low on major changes to the operating system, after all its been a decade now since OS X debuted.

old iPhoto

old iPhoto, new Maps & iBooks

new iPhoto icon

new iPhoto icon

Speaking of changes, I have to say, bringing the Maps App from iOS to the OS X version has made it much nicer to find and adjust your route on a larger screen and then have it automatically appear in your recent’s on the iPhone and iPad. Sweet.  Also a welcome change was moving iBooks out of iTunes to become its own app and allowing it to be synced across all devices.  Sometimes I like to read on my Mac, not just my iPad or iPhone, so for me it is a good thing.  Depending upon your setup, you may not be as excited, but picking up where i left of on any device makes reading more accessible.

mavericks-08One thing that hit the news after the update was the fact people were seeing the latest iWork apps for free on some computers.  Turns out if you had a trial version of certain Apple software on your Mac, the trial allowed you to update to the full version after installing Mavericks.  I read a little about the issue and wondered if it still worked after the install was already done.  As a proof of concept – you know, purely for scientific reasons – I tracked down an installer for the trial version of iWork ’09.  It is still out there on a number of mirror sites if you hurry.

I installed the trial from the nearly half GB dmg file, and as soon as I opened Pages on my Mac I was greeted with the window telling me there was an update and asking if i’d like to install it.  No “purchase now” tab, just “update” in the App Store.  To ensure it worked, I of course installed it and yes, in fact, it is a full-blown version of Pages.  Same thing happened with Numbers and Keynote.

mavericks-07As was reported from an Apple source on MacTrast’s website… “Rather than maintain separate updates for these in addition to the Mac App Store versions of each app, Apple has decided to eliminate their legacy software update system for apps entirely. Instead, when Mavericks discovers legacy apps installed on your Mac, it provisions them as a Mac App Store purchase using your Apple ID. It saves us a lot of time, effort, and bandwidth. After the provision is complete, it will appear in your Mac App Store history as though you have purchased the Mac App Store version of the app.”  

Apple knows about the “glitch” and seems to be fine with it, figuring most people are honest and won’t abuse it.  They are probably also hoping that not many sites will continue to host the iWork ’09 Trial, but I personally expect a resurgence in the popularity of that particular download.

There will always be small problems with any major update to an OS and if you are using your Mac for business you may want to wait a week or so until the 10.9.1 update comes out, but I for one am happy so far, especially with having a few new free iWork apps to play with.  You know just to ensure they work.

barkerp

timemachine-newDoing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is said to be the definition of insanity. Well, you can call me insane.  But don’t lock me away just yet.

I bought a new external Thunderbolt drive (TB) for backing up my MacBook Air (MBA), since the one i was using for Time Machine was saying it was full all the time, and was around 6 years old.  A backup is only good if it actually works, and as we all know, hard drives fail so to ensure I didn’t lose any data I decided to replace it.  After all, according to Apple’s own knowledge base, it’s a simple procedure to copy the old backup to a new one.

Yeah, i beg to differ.

After waiting approx. 2 hours for the copy command to calculate all the files in the “Backups.backupdb”, then another couple of hours for the actual copying to occur, I got an “Error code 8062“.  Which is a lovely generic error, that really doesn’t help me to figure out what the actual problem was.  It mentioned a few of the files were not compatible “Newer version of iWork needed” which confounded me a tad, since I don’t use iWork except for Pages on my iPad and iPhone.  There was about 50 files I had to cancel on and then the backup hung.  I went back and started again, reformatting the drive, changing the permissions and all, just like the Knowledge base article described.  To no avail.  I Even tried to copy the files within the backupdb (database) individually but something happens when you do that. It is as if the linking of files is disabled and each folder inside the larger db becomes massive. Folders were 139gb each. After 4 folders I had already copied more info that the total db size was listed at in the first place.

It was about this time I had to decide if I really wanted to waste more time trying to continue from the existing backup, or just start anew.  Eventually  I realized I didn’t have to get rid of the old Time Machine backup, it can stay right where it is for a while until I’m comfortable enough with the new backup to feel secure nothing will be lost, or nothing will need to be restored.  When that is?  Who knows.  That is the beauty of Time Machine and OS X, you can use more than one drive or location to backup to.  So, throwing caution to the wind (okay not really, since existing old backup is still accessible – just going for dramatic effect here), I connected the clean TB drive and let it do its initial backup, all nice and new and empty.  A few hours later I had a current backup.  Sure I couldn’t go back more than a few hours to retrieve anything, but its a start, and like I said I did still have the old backup if worse came to worst.
Gotta love the speed of the Thunderbolt drive. I plugged in my backup when I got to the office and it had 1.4 gig to update. Took less time than it took to type this paragraph I swear.   I was using a FireWire drive previously, with a TB adapter since the MBA no longer sported a FW connection, but the real deal TB is Soooooooo much zippier in its native form.
We’ll call this one a win, and a lesson learned.  Now, can someone help me out of this straight jacket…
barkerp

You can never have TOO much money, TOO much time, or TOO much space:   Especially when it comes to data.

A while back I moved my Time Machine data from a smaller partitioned drive to a larger one thinking “its twice the size of the hard-drive being backed up.  should be fine.”   It was for a while, but replacing my MacBook with a MacBookPro which had a larger hard-drive threw a spanner in the works as the saying goes (thats a wrench for those of you without british parents).  For those who aren’t all that familiar with Time Machine, it is a built in backup program in Mac OS X which once set up allows you to go back in time so to speak to previous saved dates and retrieve files or programs you may have edited or removed for whatever reason.  That’s the simple definition anyway.  Its actually a very cool feature of OS X that I have had to use once or twice to save my bacon so to speak.

As time goes by, our data seems to expand to fill its surroundings much the way Koi and goldfish do, and this was exactly what happened to me.  Having the space on the internal drive meant storing more stuff, which then meant backing up more stuff.  As such, my Time Machine backup became full.  So rather than buying a new external to use I wanted to just expand the partition of the one I was already using.  Sadly, no go.  Fortunately I did have another external harddrive available that was big enough to hold all the existing backups, so a simple but very lengthy “restore” from the current backup drive to the temporary one was all that was needed.

select source and destination carefully

This took about 4 hours.  After that I was able to reformat the existing backup drive to one large partition (about 450 gig) with one small partition (about 50 gig) instead of two equal partitions as I previously had, just in case I wanted to store anything else on the drive along with the Time Machine backup.

After the reformatting and repartitioning, it was a simple case of doing the same thing again only in reverse to copy the data off the temp drive back onto the original external backup.  Make sure you double check which drive is which and know which one is being over-written.

My only caution here would be to ensure you are comfortable with the fact you may lose everything when doing this.

You shouldn’t, but as with anything computer based there is always the chance that something goes horribly wrong during the process and you end up with a blank drive.  (for example, the power went out for me in the midst of the formating of the backup which blanked the drive completely and the process had to be restarted)   I was comfortable knowing that if something went wrong I could live with not having the ability to roll back time with TimeMachine and retrieve files from backup.

The process again took about 4 hours to restore and in the end I now have a fully functioning backup of my MacBookPro with the ability to use old Time Machine backups if needed, and it is all stored on a much larger drive with more room to grow.

I hesitate to say it’ll be big enough forever, but its definitely big enough for now.  I’m sure as the years go by, that little goldfish of data with grow to fill this new tank as well and I’ll be again moving it to a larger one.  But for now, there is room for it and maybe a sunken treasure chest or deep sea diver as well.

tcg

You have to appreciate a program that just sits quietly in the background and then, when you need it, comes through with flying colours.  Apple’s Time Machine is exactly that.

I’ve been using Time Machine since shortly after upgrading to Leopard otherwise known as Mac OS10.5 or X.5, and have used the restore component a couple of times to bring back older copies of files, or files that i thought i no longer needed that had been deleted, nothing major, but its nice to know it was always there, backing up on a regular basis all my data just in case something bad happened.  I hadn’t given it much thought about using it as a way to recover all the files etc when doing a hard drive replacement until last week.  I have been running my MacBook with about 20 gig free space, which always caused me grief when i needed to edit a movie or burn a DVD since i had very little “breathing” room on my drive.  So after deciding i would not get myself a brand new aluminum MacBook and just keep this one for a while longer, i knew i needed to put a larger hard drive in it.  I picked up a 7200 rpm 250 gig Seagate HD from a local store and proceeded to install it, after purchasing a torx 8 screwdriver that is.  I removed the drive mounting case from the old drive, put the new HD in it  and slid it back into my mac, put the ‘l’ bracket back in, installed the battery and flipped the ‘book over.  I pressed the power button.  Nothing.  i thought.  hmmm, that strange, and tried it again.  Nothing.  no noise, no lights, not even a flicker.  Yikes.  My first thought was, the drive’s dead, but that made no sense, there would have been a warning if the drive could not be found.  What had i done?  I decided to put the old drive back in and went through the process again.  still nothing, it seemed to have no power.  I figured now was a good time to see what the inside of my MacBook looked like and check for anything that looked wrong or disconnected or broke.

For any of you who don’t like to play doctor and dissect electronics, then this is not something you want to try.  there are about 20 screws you need to take out in a very specific order to get the top case off the MacBook, and a little prying is involved at just the right angle to release the top case which contains the trackpad and the keyboard and the power button from the bottom part of the case.  Without boring you with the details, i managed to get it all apart, checked over all the connectors and components and took the opportunity to blow out the 2 years of dust, but could find no evidence of a problem visually.  This is the point when i figure its best to let the pros deal with it, so i put it back together and brought it to my local Apple repair facility, who were nice enough to look at it right away and although i was expecting the worse – bad logic board was running through my mind – called me an hour after dropping it off to tell me it was a faulty power button.  So a whole new top case later and i had my trusty Mac back in my hands and ready for the hard drive replacement.  Remove battery, remove bracket, remove drive, replace drive, install bracket and put battery back in, and then push power button and voila!  Power.  i connected my USB external drive and inserted the Leopard disk and let the install proceed to the point i could quit it and then go up to the menu bar and under utilities, click on Restore.

Its a simple case of selecting where you want to restore from, and which restore point and then selecting where to restore to.  You get to see all the complete restore points on your backup drive, so i of course selected the latest, since i knew it was a good working install, if you were having issues with your os, or knew you had screwed up something or possibly installed something you didn’t want after all, you could choose a slightly older restore point for yourself.

The process is a bit lengthy, but that is understandable because in my case i was restoring about 90 gig of info to the drive.  At the end you will be greeted with a window announcing the operation is complete and you are about to start up from the restored drive.  A quick restart later and i was logging into my Mac’s brand new hard drive that was an exact duplicate of the older smaller drive.  I quickly checked a number of programs and files to ensure i had everything, and so far so good, nothing missing except for a Downloads folder which i never backed up in the first place, so no surprise it was not restored.  A simple copy from the old drive to the new one and i was done.

All in all, a relatively painless procedure that with the help of a very good built in app from Apple, went very smoothly.  Twice actually – but that’s a story for another blog.  Time Machine, not just an H.G Wells screenplay, its a must have app.

tcg

It’s been a while since i posted, mostly due to the oncoming holidays – i hesitate to call it a holiday season, as i’ve been corrected recently that “it is not a season, we have four seasons and none of them are named holiday”, but i digress. This post will be somewhat eclectic in it’s nature instead of just dealing with one subject as i am normally apt to do, but instead touches on a few favorite apps that i use almost daily.

I’ve been using the latest version of mac os X called “Leopard” and after a few updates and the usual growing pains have gotten to really like the new look and feel of it. so much so that when i use a pre-leopard mac it looks strange, tired, and old in comparison. Not only does it look prettier but the inner workings have been overhauled to make it faster and smoother and well, just more mac-like. I’ve said many times before – things on a mac just work, and leopard is another shining example of that.  anyone hesitating to upgrade shouldn’t wait any longer.

Parallels Desktop. this is a program i seem to use more just keeping windows on it up to date than actual working on it using windows programs. It’s handy to have and the ability to run windows apps without rebooting is nicer than Bootcamp-ing it, but it can be a bit of a hard-drive hog because of the rapidly expanding nature of the virtual HD’s. For anyone new to Parallels and VHD’s make sure you run the Parallels compressor once in a while – you’ll be amazed at how much space you can get back when it’s done. just be prepared for a very very long wait while it chugs away compressing.

This kinda brings me to my next point, which combines the first two nicely – i am the master of segues (and i don’t mean the two wheeled lazy persons standup thingy for zooming around town sucking on a non-fat low foam half caf latte). Part of OS X 5, Leopard, is Time Machine, and on top of having some of the coolest graphics it is quite easy to set up and use and as far as backup solutions go, this one is right up there with many of the paid solutions but best of all it’s free as part of the latest OS X. Anytime you can set up a program like this once and just let it do its thing without needing to remember to turn it on or off because you disconnected the external backup you are using, is good for me. i unmount the drive from my mac and take it home and the next day plug it back in and voila there’s Time Machine backing up again, right on schedule without a complaint. Sweet.

Yummy FTP: this little app made my life so much easier when it comes to keeping the company’s website up to date. The built in editor is everything i need, so much so in fact i blew away the other apps i was using to edit with, since they were a little long in the tooth and not as user friendly as i would like. Yummy FTP is so simplistic for both FTP-ing and editing that it has become one of my most used apps for keeping this website up to date and my real job’s website current as well.

And last but not least, speaking of apps, Silverkeeper. This is one of the most under-appreciated pieces of freeware i’ve come across for mac. I use it every week to keep my external drive synced with the network drives and it always works so smoothly and easily and allows you to save the settings so it will remember where the source and the target are, even if they are buried deep within a series of folders.

Happy ChristmasKwanzaaHanukkahFestivas to all!

– TCG