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FWB Backup Toolkit 3.0 for OS X:Return to News Page

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Reader Comments on using FWB Backup Toolkit 3.02 for OS X
(including using DVD-R)

Posted: 11/16/2001
Updated: 11/19/2001 with more user comments
Updated: 1/5/2002 for reader's alternative backup method
Updated: 1/6/2002 for note on updated FWB version/fixes for restore.
Updated: 2/24/2002 for more comments on Carbon Copy Cloner

This page has reader comments on FWB's Backup Toolkit version 3. (Note: some readers said that FWB backup for OS X is a licensed version of Tri-Backup.)

[added 1/6/2002]

" Hi, Mike- While I haven't tried it myself, FWB says that the latest version of Backup Toolkit/Tri-Backup DOES let you do a complete OS X restore from a backup. Take a look at this page:
(NOTE: as of 2005, links to FWB's pages removed as the domain name/original web site not online.)

    Q. I am going to backup my Mac OS X volume, can BackUp ToolKit backup and restore a bootable Mac OS X volume?

    A. Yes! Version 3.0.4r1 can copy or restore a complete Mac OS X volume. To copy, backup, or restore a Mac OS X volume, you need to run BackUp ToolKit under Mac OS X, and have full permissions for all files.

Sorry to hear you won't be at Macworld....Keep your eyes peeled for some cool stuff from us. -John Fu
Asst. Product Manager
Retail Product Marketing
Maxtor Corp."

" Hi Mike,
I'm the guy that wrote in about getting the wrong version of BackupToolkit. It turns out that the $35 version is the old 2.2 version and that the OSX version is more money. It was very misleading since the 10% off coupon page only had a link to the old version. Digital River was very good about fixing the problem and I had the correct version the same night [around 2AM :-) ]

Since working with it I've been fairly pleased with it's operation although as the other reader commented the UI could use some work. I am concerned though after looking through the backup logs it gets quite a few errors during backup.

Big X: Library: Preferences: DirectoryService:SearchNodeConfig.plist **ERR* *
Big X: private: etc:kcpassword OK
Big X: private: etc:kern_loader.conf **ERR**
Big X: private: etc:master.passwd OK
Big X: private: etc:monthly **ERR**
Big X: private: tmp: 501: Temporary Items:Download Cache OK
Big X: private: tmp: 501: Temporary Items:IE Cache.lck OK
Big X: private: tmp:slp_ipc OK
Big X: private: var: backups:local.nidump OK
Big X: private: var: db:SystemEntropyCache OK

Just to show a few cases. There are many more. Is anyone else seeing this?

Since it does not run as root I wonder how it gets permission to read some of the files it is backing up?

I've been using the Evolutive backup which for some reason does not give the option to break the backup folder into 650MB chunks like Mirror does. After running it for several days I've noticed also that its backing up things that are not changing. For some reason it thinks that everything involved with ProjectBuilder changes even though it never has been run in between backups. This can waste a lot of space. There are many others too. It would also be nice if it included some default exception filters.

Overall it seems like it was a little rushed and the translation from the original French version could be a little more polished. Since there is no other real alternative out there I guess "Beggars can't be choosers".

If anyone else using this software sees errors like this or has a suggestion, let me know.

Another reader asks a question to users of this software:

" Mike,
Regarding the new FWB Backup app, I am curious to know if this app can properly backup UNIX hard links, which is one of the main challenges that Dantz is still working out. If you copy a hard link to a backup volume, and then restore it to the original volume, it is no longer a link but becomes an individual file. And of course, when the link gets broken, it no longer points to the proper "orginal" file. By the way, a "man ln" from terminal gives the following explanation of links:

"The ln utility creates a new directory entry (linked file) which has the same modes as the original file. It is useful for maintaining multiple copies of a file in many places at once without using up storage for the "copies''; instead, a link "points'' to the original copy."

A simple test for any backup scheme would be the following:

1) create a text file called "orig.txt" and put some text into it.

2) make a hard link of the file from terminal, using:

    ln orig.txt link.txt

You can edit link.txt, and observe that the original file orig.txt gets modified (since link.txt is really a hard link that points back to orig.txt).

3) backup both files, and then restore.

4) edit link.txt, and add some new text to it. Now check orig.txt. Has it been updated with the new text? If yes, the link was properly backed up. If no, the backup failed to properly handle the link.

If anyone using this software sees can test this, let me know.

(The First reader report from 11/16/2001 follows)

" Mike-
As I am writing this in X, the new BackupToolkit (v3.0.2 for X) is churning away in the background backing up and compressing my data to a DVD. So far, so good. The speed is nice and the interface is reasonably clean even though the execution and features are not up to the Retrospect standard; but at least there is a viable backup solution for X users.

The user interface does not take advantage of the dynamic capability of dock icons, instead choosing to put a small button/progress meter just below the clock in the right top corner of the screen when the app is in the background. This progress meter disappears when the app is the frontmost application. This really seems kludgy and a duplication of the dock and its capabilities. Perhaps they rushed out with a functional product knowing that X users were looking for some viable backup alternative in the absence of Retrospect?

I have not had the opportunity to try any other features other than the initial backup, but when I get this completed I will try to do restores on data and determine if it maintains the user access settings etc, that seems to be the sore spot for the other X backup applications.

In addition, it's nice to start seeing the power of X and multiprocessing/multithreading. I have been running the backup, surfing the web, writing emails, and downloading and watching the new Star Wars trailer, all without a skip or a hitch. There are times that the processor meter pegs both CPUs, but even then there is no loss in usability in any of the programs.

The system I am currently running is a DP800, 1.5GB, 100GB WD Special Edition, 60GB WD, GeForce3, Cinema Display. Running X 10.1.1 5M28.
Derek "

I asked Derek if he downloaded v3.02, since a reader wrote that his download last night was version 2.2. (See earlier news item below).

" The download worked correctly for me. According to my receipt, I purchased/downloaded it at 2:46 cdt.

Further Experiences:
Well, it certainly helps to automate backups, but it is nowhere near the functionality that Retrospect has. Its greatest flaw, in my opinion, is that it has no capability to automate backup to multiple removable media volumes. For example, Retrospect allows you to specify a "set" of cd-roms to back up to, and when one cd-rom is full, it simply ejects the full one and requests a new blank piece of media. Once inserted, Retrospect continue on it's merry way.

Backup Toolkit is far more rudimentary in its handling of this kind of situation. In an incremental backup situation (in which a complete backup is made and subsequent backups only do changed files), Backup Toolkit really only allows you to specify that you would like it to partition the results of a backup via a chunk of space, i.e. 600 for cd-roms, 4000 for dvd roms, etc. However, this will only create folders and backup the files to a folder of that size on another hard drive. It is your task to then take each of those folders and utilize Apples built in cdrom burner or Toast to burn each of those different pieces of media. Additionally, it is your task to then create an alias of that pice of media and place it in a special aliases folder within the Backup Toolkit folder in order for the software to automatically ask you to insert those volumes upon a later restore. This is definitely not an eloquent solution and certainly will not work for an automated environment (especially servers.)

I'm not sure how valuable this software will be to me long term. In my mind it is simply a stopgap solution until Retrospect is ready to go for X.
Derek "

Tips/Guide on Backing Up OS X Volumes: In reply to this article (feedback on FWB's backup for OS X), a reader sent comments on a cheaper way to backup OS X disks. (see updated comments below this post)

" From what I understand, while FWB Backup Toolkit can back your files up in Mac OS X, when you want to perform a _real_ backup--restorable, like backups have been in the past--you're left standing in the wind. (Perhaps Retrospect for X will be able to do this, whenever the hell it's released.) At any rate, Backup Toolkit is useless, really, for those looking to create backups of OS X that can be restored and used without having to reinstall the OS.

But all is not lost, as Apple has kindly provided us with a solution. Using Disk Copy and Apple Software Restore (or some Terminal scripting), your X volume can be archived for restoration. Check out Mike Bombich's OS X site for info:

I'm trying to spread the word about X backups, since many people out there are out in the cold. Spread the word!

Later updated comments:

" A while ago, I submitted the last comment on this page. A month ago, I removed the PDF from my website, and a few people have e-mailed me about it. Here's the response I've been giving:

    "After discovering--the hard way--Apple Software Restore's 4-GB limit on disk image configurations, I removed the PDF completely.

    I can recommend Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner utility for X backup stuff. [Carbon Copy Cloner is available at http://www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html-Mike] I _literally_ just used it 30 minutes ago to restore my PowerBook's HD from a 3-day-old backup. Microsoft decided to hose my drive in ways I thought impossible, so I restored a drive backup from my FireWire drive. All I had to do was re-bless my X and 9 system folders in Terminal (which CCC was supposed to have done, but didn't [I think this is fixed in the latest version of Carbon Copy Cloner-Mike).
    Sorry for any incovenience. "

Manually using the ditto command (with the -rsrc switch) in conjunction with the bless command, backing up and restoring your X drive is possible. Bombich's utility automates this process, though, so I think most users will find it more appealing.

The utilities (CCC and ditto) are quite awesome, especially for being part of the OS itself: I was able to boot from my backup and perform a complete restoration of about 7 GB of data in a matter of minutes. Very impressive. (Ditto is the fastest thing since dual-GHz G4s, and Apple's core FireWire I/O support is very slick.)
I'm happy to address any concerns people may have on this topic.
Michael Watson
Apple Product Professional
Apple Certified Service Technician
Capitol Mac Consultants
(804) 358-3100 - http://www.capitolmac.com/
Update: On 5/7/2002 Mike again wrote that he's posted a PDF file again that some might find useful.

"A while back, I wrote a crappy PDF that explained how you could back up a Mac OS X disk with Disk Copy and Apple Software Restore. Soon after I wrote the PDF, I found out about a nasty disk image size limit ASR had, and quickly removed it [the PDF]. Well, I'm still getting e-mails about it, mostly from people hitting 404 errors when looking for it. So I did something about it: I made a new guide.

It's not that great, but it's free. Someone might find it useful. Maybe. I don't know. It covers a lot more than just "do this, and this, and this to back up stuff". I try to explain why certain things are done certain ways.
It's available for download at:
http://www.mikey-san.net/mirth/trinkets/mac_os_x_backup_guide.pdf "

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