Damn you Apple hardware! Damn you to hell!

Powerbook Xray

No less two months after I brought my PowerBook G4 in to get the trackpad, power input and white spots fixed, not only are the effing white spots back but the lower RAM slot is b0rked.

You know what the means.

My precious two jiggabites of humina humina memory have been slashed in half like the rainforests that were destroyed as a result of Apple’s poor environmental record.

So it need not be said that Tiger’s speed isn’t so speedy anymore; in fact, its moves more resemble a sloth with a limp. But I digress.

This is apparently a “common problem” according the Mac Genius who took my repair details down — notably the same one that I talked to two months ago when I had my other issues. And it’s also apparently the reason that my PowerBook doesn’t sleep when I tell it to — coming alive like some “Sorry, Dave I can’t do that” somnamulbot when I tuck it away in my fraying Timbuk2 bag.

Man I’m a mess.

Anyway, here’s what I need some advice on… I happen to have another PowerBook G4… the previous model — that works fine. All I want to do is copy over my system verbatim to the old and pick up from where I’m leaving off from my current system so that I can ship this puppy off to Apple to get repaired. This shouldn’t be that hard, should it?

Anyway, I left Synk (an rsync wrapper) running for 8 hours last night but after encounteringo only 5 minor errors, wasn’t able to produce a bootable clone machine… I’m sure the data’s there, but a key component here is zero downtime when switching over — I just want to swap the data from one system to another and keep going!

I’ve tried Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner in the past but had a similarly sticky time — having it crash midway through a backup.

Is there any simple way to do this?! Preferably with a GUI? I mean, I could try to just take out the whole harddrive and deposit it in the other, but I’ve never done that… would you recommend that route for a fairly savvy hardware dude?

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: Molly.com (YC W18), Uber, Google.

10 thoughts on “Damn you Apple hardware! Damn you to hell!”

  1. Won’t the Migration Assistant do that for you?

    I used it on my iMac to copy the contents of my PowerBook across. It copied everything. Down to the Browser histories. If I started to type a url – the iMac autocompleted the uri – freaky!

  2. (warning, the following comes from someone who still has 10.3.9 on his old powerbook so YMMV)

    I’ve been very happy with Carbon Copy Cloner myself after trying a few other things. After months of using it the only “issue” i’ve had is that its not smart enough to notice that the FW drive i have designated as the destintation isn’t on so on that rare occation it runs when things aren’t hooked up it tries to write to /Volumes/drivename anyway. Kindof a pain in the ass but its a very rare occation.

    SuperDuper (already mentioned) is next on my list to lookat if CCC ever makes me not want to use it.

    I tried to use lacie silverkeeper (again, on 10.3.9) but it never seemed to setup / execute like i would have expected it too… maybe i’m just a “dumb user”… http://www.lacie.com/silverkeeper/

  3. SuperDuper is what you want. What i really recommend is getting a small external firewire drive and backing up to that with SuperDuper, but doing it straight onto the other PB in firewire disc mode will work too.

    SuperDuper is much easier and quicker than CCC, and when I had a glitch with it, the developer responded with a patch by return of email – can’t beat that.

  4. Second the recommendation of SuperDuper. It’s aces.

  5. of course if you have a system cd and there is nothing of value on the old power book, you can reinstall the system on the old one, connect the two with a firewire cable, wait until the installation manager pops up the migration manager. follow all the instructions, which basically means, boot the broken machine while pressing T. T stand for target mode, which lets you run another computers disc drive as external drive of your current computer. the migration manager will ask you which files to copy. you tell himwhat to do and click ok. that’s it. the machine will do the rest for you. of course there is the problem, that most likely your older powerbook has a smaller harddrive than your new powerbook. that means you might not be able to migrate all your data. however, if you migrate your data like that, it will also copy your apps with correct registration and all your prefs.


    warning 1 // do not forget to cancel your itunes musci store log in on the old machine befoe deleting it. otherwise your music is still registered for the old machine. there is some way to fix that, but i do not know how.

    warning 2 // even though you can repeat this procedure, when you get back the powerbook, and again when you get your next computer etc. it is highly recommended to install from scratch once in a while. if there is any broken preference files for exmaple, these files are also copied and the computer will be slower and buggier. usually it is enough to have an install from scratch every 2 to 3 years.

  6. ok, should have read the first comment more closely. hehe. tom raftery proposes the same. however i hope i was able to give some more detailed information. maybe this even works without a proper new installation. the migration manager is in your utilities folder in the apps folder. please note, that this might not work to good if the old machine has an older version of the OS than the broken machine. (this is usually no issue, because most ppl need the migration assistant to get data to their new machines…)


  7. Carbon Copy Cloner works for me. Boot your old powerbook into Firewire target mode, attach it to the borked PowerBook, and have Carbon Copy Cloner back up to it. I would recommend using AppZapper to Zap your existing install of Carbon Copy Cloner, just in case.

    Also, I think an emphasis/italic has been left open somewhere.

    Hit me with an email if you need more help =)

  8. Pingback: A Fool's Wisdom

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