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Easy Way to make a Bootable Clone of your macOS System Drive

Joined
Apr 13, 2011
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Gigabyte GA-H97M-D3H, Asus Z490-G Gaming (non wifi)
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i5 4690k, 10700k
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RX580
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Thanks @pastrychef that's a free and secure solution compared with CCC's dubious future with APFS. Incidently, is your z390m still working great with Big Sur? My son has a gaming pc with that Gigabyte board, might swap my Asus Z490-G for it, as OSX often prompts an F1 error on my BIOS after a normal reboot which I presume the Z390M doesn't do..
 

pastrychef

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Thanks @pastrychef that's a free and secure solution compared with CCC's dubious future with APFS. Incidently, is your z390m still working great with Big Sur? My son has a gaming pc with that Gigabyte board, might swap my Asus Z490-G for it, as OSX often prompts an F1 error on my BIOS after a normal reboot which I presume the Z390M doesn't do..

Yes, it has been running absolutely flawlessly for a very long time.
 
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Gigabyte P67A-UD3P-B3
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I've used EaseUS Disk Copy for years. It's free, you put it onto a USB thumb drive. Boot from the thumb drive, select drive to copy and destination drive and it copies one HD to another HD sector by sector. An Exact copy of the entire HD - EFI...everything. It's absolutely perfect for Hackintosh.

I downloaded it 5 or 6 years ago.

I think I've I've found a link to the version I use (v2.3) here:
https://easeus-disk-copy-home-edition.en.uptodown.com/windows/download/40316

All I know is that I've got a USB thumb drive with a free version of EaseUS Disk Copy on it that clones all my OS HD's in thier entirety.
 
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Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H97M-D3H, Asus Z490-G Gaming (non wifi)
CPU
i5 4690k, 10700k
Graphics
RX580
Mac
  1. iMac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Thanks @JazzyJ2020, that would save time over a recovery image and I have a few spare 16bg usb sticks lying around.. :mrgreen:
 
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Asus ROG Z590 Maximus XIII Hero
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Latest CCC still works, is still shareware, and can create bootable clone with Big Sur signed system volume, but more care is needed since Big Sur.

The CCC author recommends making a Data volume only clone with incrementals and recovering by reinstall macOS and run Migration Assistant. This is far less usable than pre-Big Sur bootable clones, but hackintosh users should be used to handling multiple installs.

CCC can still make Big Sur bootable clone with some caveats.

The key to a bootable clone is to choose Destination: "Legacy Apple APFS Replicator" to make the bootable clone.

(You can also run the replicator from the command line, but that's another topic.)

APFS Replicator can work fine but has some major drawbacks:
  1. The destination must be reformatted, so you may want an alternate drive. CCC does the format automatically after a warning.
  2. Any source device read error causes the APFS Replicator to fail with no explanation, and it can't be restarted. THIS IS A BIG PITFALL BUT IF SOURCE HAS ERRORS AT LEAST YOU KNOW.
  3. Doing later incremental updates to system files will break the crypto seal and make macOS unbootable, so incrementals should only update selected areas of the Data volume. A PITFALL HERE is due to macOS updates not being included, this can lead to problems if OS updates applied since Replication changes data formats or locations of user data. Your clone OS might be an earlier release than last used with your data.
  4. EFI must be migrated by hand, but there is a 3 party script add-on for CCC which can automate it.
I prefer making a APFS Replicator clone, then updating Data volume incrementally and applying macOS updates to backup drive by hand.

If you have OCD tendencies on updates, you may want to consider changing to a restrained approach such as SW updates once per quarter to keep organized and manage change. It can pay to let others live on bleeding edge.

CCC native file copier is still tolerant of source errors and will report specific affected files.

INSTEAD OF CCC:

If your destination is same size as source (or larger, with a caveat) another option is to use GNU ddrescue command. This will copy every block of source to destination like dd(1) but is restartable and therefore great for recovery from falling source. Use a Linux rescue image or Ubuntu live image. You will have to install the tool using a package mgr, but this is not hard for anyone who can build a hackintosh. Also you need to ensure that neither the source nor destination is touched during the clone or the destination will be corrupted. You can google ways to secure them for the clone.

(Caveat: If you ddrescue to a larger drive, you need a proven way to expand your partition table, to gain access to extra space. On Linux Gparted helps with this. But it's not APFS cognizant so there are limitations)

ddrescue is also good for determining source device errors. If you make the destination /dev/null you can scan the source at top speed and use the resulting map file for simple forensics. Again, Apple's proprietary APFS is a limit.

There is a very complete guide for GNU ddrescue online.
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H97M-D3H, Asus Z490-G Gaming (non wifi)
CPU
i5 4690k, 10700k
Graphics
RX580
Mac
  1. iMac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
I've used EaseUS Disk Copy for years. It's free, you put it onto a USB thumb drive. Boot from the thumb drive, select drive to copy and destination drive and it copies one HD to another HD sector by sector. An Exact copy of the entire HD - EFI...everything. It's absolutely perfect for Hackintosh.

I downloaded it 5 or 6 years ago.

I think I've I've found a link to the version I use (v2.3) here:
https://easeus-disk-copy-home-edition.en.uptodown.com/windows/download/40316

All I know is that I've got a USB thumb drive with a free version of EaseUS Disk Copy on it that clones all my OS HD's in thier entirety.
Thanks for that link, I burnt it onto a working 16gb USB drive, and it boots with a splash screen saying ...please wait.... and hangs. It's probably something in the Z490 chipset/bios but it's sadly not running in DOS. :(
 
Joined
May 12, 2020
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Motherboard
Gigabyte P67A-UD3P-B3
CPU
i72600K
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GTX770
Thanks for that link, I burnt it onto a working 16gb USB drive, and it boots with a splash screen saying ...please wait.... and hangs. It's probably something in the Z490 chipset/bios but it's sadly not running in DOS.
That's a shame, you could try the latest version - https://easeus-disk-copy-home-edition.en.uptodown.com/windows/download
My Gigabyte P67A-UD3P-B3 runs it fine but I had a HP PC and a Lenovo laptop that came my way that wouldn't run it so I ended up taking out the drives and cloning them via my P67 mobo Hackintosh. Perhaps it's a bios setting, I'm not sure. You could email or live chat EaseUS and ask them - they usually answer quite quickly. https://www.easeus.com/
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H97M-D3H, Asus Z490-G Gaming (non wifi)
CPU
i5 4690k, 10700k
Graphics
RX580
Mac
  1. iMac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
That's a shame, you could try the latest version - https://easeus-disk-copy-home-edition.en.uptodown.com/windows/download
My Gigabyte P67A-UD3P-B3 runs it fine but I had a HP PC and a Lenovo laptop that came my way that wouldn't run it so I ended up taking out the drives and cloning them via my P67 mobo Hackintosh. Perhaps it's a bios setting, I'm not sure. You could email or live chat EaseUS and ask them - they usually answer quite quickly. https://www.easeus.com/
Just tried the 'free' version. Turns out it's anything but free when trying to use it.. £19/ month or £49/ year. Not sure it's good value. Might try time machine and restoring from a system image.. CCC used to be so easy, just clone, boot from the clone, everything was perfect. Damn APFS and all the tricks they use to basically annoy us. lol
 

pastrychef

Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
17,432
Motherboard
Gigabyte Z390 M Gaming
CPU
i9-9900K OC'd @ 5.0GHz
Graphics
Vega 56 (Bios flashed to 64)
Mac
  1. MacBook
  2. Mac Pro
Classic Mac
  1. iBook
  2. Power Mac
  3. PowerBook
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Just tried the 'free' version. Turns out it's anything but free when trying to use it.. £19/ month or £49/ year. Not sure it's good value. Might try time machine and restoring from a system image.. CCC used to be so easy, just clone, boot from the clone, everything was perfect. Damn APFS and all the tricks they use to basically annoy us. lol

Just do the Migration method. It's painless.
 
Joined
Apr 13, 2011
Messages
32
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-H97M-D3H, Asus Z490-G Gaming (non wifi)
CPU
i5 4690k, 10700k
Graphics
RX580
Mac
  1. iMac
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
So to summarise the new backup experience for anyone obsessed with keeping their recent hardware Big Sur hack going...it's a pain now.

You will not have the luxury of a bootable clone of your Big Sur anymore.

Didn't manage to test the new CCC but I'm not confident that will always work. Shareware solutions including EaseUS (anything but free or 'ease'). Super Duper was anything but 'super'... So before you waste hours (or days) of time, fill your Mac and Windows downloads folder full of junk backup shareware, try to force CCC to comply or use older software on newer chipsets..

You have to use Timemachine and/or create an image of your OS HD in Disk Utility, to be restored and/or Migration Assisted in a new install or repair OS.

Although Timemachine is great, it's not perfect. A bootable snapshot of a stable hack is gold in this community, especially with a working EFI folder, should anything go awry in your working machine.

Which is why I may downgrade to Catalina, which is where I can easily make bootable clones using CCC. With Apple moving closer to their own hardware, Calalina makes more sense for the Hackintosh community.

Good luck to anyone in the same boat. Make sure you have a bootable install USB and/or bootable recovery partition.
 
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