Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Create Image of Your Mac OS X Startup Disk Using Apple's Disk Utility

Backups are undoubtedly the best way to keep your data loss woes at bay. They help you keep your data safe and sound on another media that is less vulnerable to failures. The backup media can be used to safely restore all of your mission-critical data that has been lost to a serious disaster. Apple's Disk Utility, which is built into OS X, is a good backup option for Mac users. It works by creating a disk image and then allowing you to restore the entire contents of the disk from the image file. The disk image should be saved on an external hard disk, either FireWire or USB. The image completely replicates the source disk keeping the file attributes (permissions, ACLs, UUIDs) intact.

To back up your data using Disk Utility, follow the given series of steps:

Creating Image of OS X boot volume ('Macintosh HD')
  • First off, attach an external hard drive to your Mac. This drive should be greater in size than your startup disk.
  • Boot from the Mac OS X Install disc and choose a preferred language.
  • When the Installer window appears, click 'Utilities' and select 'Disk Utility'.
  • From the left pane, choose your startup disk.
  • In the right pane, click 'Verify Disk' button to verify the hard drive for errors. If the Disk Utility finds issues with the drive, click 'Repair Disk' to fix these errors.
  • Click on the 'New Image' button in the Disk Utility window.
  • Specify a name for the image to be created. You can also encrypt this image via the 128-bit or 256-bit AES encryption method.
  • Specify a destination to save the disk image. You should save the image on your external hard disk.
  • When asked, specify the admin name and password. This will start the imaging process. The overall time consumed by the process will depend on the size of the drive being imaged, performance of your Mac, and the like.
  • After completion of the process, choose the disk image you recently created from the device pane.
  • On the menu bar, click 'Images', and then select 'Scan Image for Restore'.
  • Once the scan is finished, close Disk Utility window and quit the OS X Installer.
  • Restart your Mac.

You can easily restore this image to your OS X volume using Disk Utility by booting from the OS X Install disc. In case you encounter a hard drive failure prior to performing any backups, use professional software to Recover Mac data from the troubled drive. These utilities come as a bootable DVD to enable you to boot into your Mac in case your startup disk fails.

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