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Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.


Disk Utility Bit Me

January 2, 2009

I know you have had one of those days where everything went wrong. Even if you haven't you have probably had an experience where exactly the wrong thing happened. Mine happened yesterday (1/1/2009 -- doesn't bode well for the new year).

I was cloning a drive in a PowerBook G4 to a larger drive. I had booted from CD and was using Disk Utility to Restore the internal drive to the new hard drive, connected via an external FireWire case -- I do this all the time. For whatever reason it failed.

As a normal course of action, I erased the external drive using the Zero All Data option. After trying again, it failed again, but with a different error. I thought that maybe I should have rebooted between tries, so I did, then re-erased the drive. At that point the new drive had the same name as the old drive. They appeared under different device profiles, so I know I selected the correct one (FireWire), but I noticed that both drives disappeared when the erase began. The upshot is that Disk Utility erased the internal drive. All I can imagine is that somehow the clone worked well enough to make Disk Utility confuse the two volumes -- for that matter, it may have been one of the earlier erases (when I hadn't rebooted) that did it.

Either way, I was hosed -- total loss of data. At least we had backups to go back to. Still, it is a TON more work to rebuild from scratch rather than clone.

Moral of the Story: if you run into issues cloning a drive, do not go back and erase the new drive using the same machine. In the future I will remove the drive and use a different computer to erase the drive (booted from the internal HD and not a CD so that Disk Utility CAN'T erase the boot volume). Better to be safe than sorry.