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GUIDE: Creating USB installer; bootable backups and restoring them.


JustinTD
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LAST UPDATE: 10.01.08

 

Ok, before we get started, let me explain some stuff on this guide and how it is setup. Firstly, this guide is based on my experience performing these tasks, along with some help from people "in the know". Feel free to reply to this thread asking for help, but don't expect me to help since outside of what is contained in here, I don't know much else LOL. Secondly, I broke this down into sections to better suit the possible options people have for not only creating the USB installer, but also a backup of a working install of OSX. I used the system and software I will outline below to perform this and to test it. At the bottom of this guide you will find the testing procedures I used. If updates to the guide are needed, I will be sure to post them and to update the "LAST UPDATED" marker above. As always you should backup your data before trying this out. I don't want you nuking your system and blaming me.

 

What I used to test this:

1. Leo4Allv2 OSx86 installer DVD image (ISO format)

2. Working OSx86 install (updated to 10.5.4)

3. Intel Q6600 C2Q CPU

4. FoxConn MARS mainboard (P35A chipset, ICH9 SATA chipset, ALC888 chipset)

5. 200GB SATA internal drive (referred to as 'primary drive', 1 partition)

6. 80GB SATA internal drive (referred to as 'internal backup drive', 1 partition)

7. 160GB USB drive (referred to as 'USB drive', 6 partitions outlined below)

- 1: Leo4All (5GB), 2: Leopard Intel (9GB), 3: Leopard PPC (9GB), 4: Snow Leopard Preview (9GB), 5: Hackintosh Backup (92GB), 6: Applications (24GB)

 

Requirements for this:

1. Your flavor of OSx86 install DVD image file.

2. USB device with enough space to store said image file once restored.

3. Chameleon EFI installer (as of this date, 1.0.11 was current)

4. Working OSX install.

 

Attachments:

Chameleon EFI installer v1.0.11

 

PART 1 - Creating your bootable USB installer

The procedure for doing this is the same whether you have multiple partitions on your USB drive or not. The only consideration here is having multiple bootable partitions (IE, Windows install etc...), I have not tested this with Windows installs but will likely try it today.

 

1. While in OSX, open Disk Utility (located in Applications/Utilities).

2. On the right hand side, select the USB external device you wish to put your boot image onto.

3. Click on "partition" and selected the number of partitions you need (in my case, 6, in most cases you will need 1 if this is an installer only USB setup).

4. Click "options" and select GUID (I have had VERY limited success with MBR).

5. Click "Apply" to partition and erase the device.

6. Click the "Restore" button and drag the image file of your OSX installer to the area marked "Source".

7. Drag the USB partition you wish to setup as an installer to the area labelled "Destination". NOTE: Be sure there is enough space on the destination for the image to be extracted on and still have some room (maybe 200MB extra).

8. Click the "Restore" button. This took about 10 minutes on my system.

9. Once completed, open the Chameleon installer and select the USB partition you extracted your installer to as the install location.

 

This should give you a working USB bootable installer provided your BIOS allows for booting from USB mass storage devices (most modern BIOS's do.) In order to boot from this, you need to be sure to setup your BIOS. I can't tell you how to do it since all BIOS's are different. In my case, I have to press PRT SCR to get a boot menu and select the USB drive. It would be a good idea to boot into the installer and test that you can run it to be sure it worked.

 

PART 2 - Backing up your HD and making it bootable

This procedure varies depending on where you are backing up to. I will explain the differences as we go. Be sure you have partitioned and erased your backup drive as you needed, but using GUID!

 

1. While in OSX, open Disk Utility and goto the "Restore" section.

2. Drag the OSX install you wish to backup to the "Source" area.

3. Drag the drive you wish to backup to to the "Destination" area.

4. Click "Restore". This took about 1 hour to another internal HD, about 1 1/2 hours to a USB drive on my system (copying ~60GB).

5. This is 1 variation. If you are backing up to a second internal HD or a USB device which will only serve as your backup install, you can simply run the Chameleon installer and install it to that drive. If you are using multiple partitions for you backup device (as I am), you want to be careful not to destroy existing boot information. In my case, the boot loader is Chameleon since this drive also serves as my USB installer.

6. Place a copy of the Chameleon installer on your backup drive for restoration purposes.

 

Once done, this should give you a working bootable backup of your system. It would be a good idea to test this by rebooting and using your BIOS's boot menu selecting this drive. Don't just boot from your installer or primary partition as you are attempting to test not only the backup system but its' boot loader also.

 

PART 3 - Restoring a backup to your primary system

Again, some variation here, so I will explain the differences as we go.

 

1. Boot from your backup (either internal or USB). In my case, once I start the USB drive I get the Chameleon boot loader, I interrupt the boot sequence and select the partition which contains the backup. If this drive were standalone, I would not interrupt the loader.

2. Once at your desktop, follow the steps outlined in Part 2 above, but instead this time you will use the backup as your "Source" and the new primary drive as your "Destination". Again, be sure you are using GUID for your partitions.

3. Once done restoring, run the Chameleon installer and select your new primary install as the location to install to.

4. Reboot into your new primary drive and all should be well.

 

Test procedures I performed

Testing USB installer ...

1. Using partition 1 of the USB device, restored installer image to USB and installed Chameleon. Rebooted.

2. Using BIOS boot menu, booted to USB installer and installed to my backup drive (80GB SATA). Rebooted.

3. Using BIOS boot menu, booted into the new install.

 

Testing backup ...

1. Restored primary partition to 80GB backup drive (internal).

2. Installed Chameleon. Rebooted.

3. Using BIOS boot menu, selected 80GB backup drive.

Testing backup to USB ...

1. Restored primary partition to USB partition (partition #5 on USB drive)

2. DID NOT INSTALL CHAMELEON! It was already loaded from the USB Installer procedure. Rebooted.

3. Using BIOS boot menu, selected USB drive as boot source, interrupted boot loader and selected backup partition to boot from.

 

Testing restore ...

1. Using BIOS boot menu, booted into USB drive.

2. Interrupted boot loader and selected backup partition as boot source.

3. Restored backup partition to 80GB internal backup drive (after wiping drive of course).

4. Installed Chameleon to 80GB backup drive. Rebooted.

5. Using BIOS boot menu, booted to 80GB drive.

 

Hope some people find this helpful!

Chameleon_1.0.11_installer.zip

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  • 2 weeks later...

hi, very usefull guide!

I have some questions to ask you:

 

1- I have a small external usb drive (100GB partitioned half to store windows data, half for mac ones) and I would like to backup my working iDeneb 10.5.5 install: I have to follow point ONE of this guide or I may switch directly to point TWO installing then Chamelon?

 

2- point ONE is about creating a usb installing partition: I think it is always suggested due to the usb disk being faster than a dvd or there is no difference in terms of installation duration?

 

Thank you for your support and bye.

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hi, very usefull guide!

I have some questions to ask you:

 

1- I have a small external usb drive (100GB partitioned half to store windows data, half for mac ones) and I would like to backup my working iDeneb 10.5.5 install: I have to follow point ONE of this guide or I may switch directly to point TWO installing then Chamelon?

 

2- point ONE is about creating a usb installing partition: I think it is always suggested due to the usb disk being faster than a dvd or there is no difference in terms of installation duration?

 

Thank you for your support and bye.

 

Part 1 is if you want to take the DVD you install from and make it a USB installer. It is faster to install on my system by quite a bit (roughly takes 1/2 the time)

 

Part 2 is for making the backup of your existing install.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i had limited success with using MBR, for some reason chameleon didnt want to boot it, it would just hang...

 

I was forced to use my methods as a final resort earlier last week, and they worked perfectly. For some reason 10.5.5 doesn't want to agree with my system. So, I restored to my 10.5.4 backup and all was well.

 

Ultimately, I bought an iMac 2.4ghz C2D 24" 2GB RAM, 320GB HD from a lady at work; she just bought a new MacBook Pro (lucky), so, my playing with OSX86 will be limited now to VMWAre on my windows box.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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