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SuperDuper! Is My Savior

Today I exposed several of my shortcomings. I also exposed the excellence of SuperDuper! and Shirt Pocket software.

10 A.M. Minding my own business, coding on Harvest when my bumbling self knocks a half glass of water into my MacBook. “A half glass” is a kind way to say “half of a 32-ounce stadium cup.” You know, those giant cups you get with your $7 soda. The cups that make Super Size Me cups feel inferior. Half of one of those cups - with ice water - into my laptop.

The laptop shut down immediately. I’m hoping that was a detection mechanism and not a sign of failure. In any case, I immediately removed the battery and began the drying process. The laptop will sit untouched until the weekend is gone.

Luckily, I have two nights worth of bootable disk images on an external hard drive, imaged with SuperDuper! I was assured from the Shirt Pocket people that I could boot my new Mac Mini from the MacBook disk images. This amazed me, but I believed them.

Here’s where my stupidity reaches legendary proportions. I’ve had the disk images scheduled and created for at least a couple weeks. The Mac Mini has also been running for a couple weeks. Had I tested the simple process of booting the Mini to the disk images yet? Hell no!

Disaster hit today, and off I go to boot my Mac Mini from my MacBook disk images. Wait a second. In the Startup Disk preference pane, I see no option to boot from my external hard drive. Well, crap on a stick!

Thus began a long and arduous email thread with Dave Nanian of Shirt Pocket software. First, Dave quickly isolated why I was unable to boot from my disk image (I partitioned the drive incorrectly despite my best intentions). Then Dave helped me figure out how to use SuperDuper! to clone the data on my poorly partitioned external hard drive to a second, correctly partitioned external hard drive. This was made even more hairy because SuperDuper! does not yet support the Leopard OS, which my Mac Mini is running. Let’s just say Dave made it happen for me and I’m extremely grateful.

After an hour or two of cloning, the moment of truth arrived. YES! SuperDuper! saved my tail.

If you are a two Mac user on Tiger, you need to get SuperDuper! and get a bootable clone in place.

If you are a two Mac user on Leopard, you may also need to get SuperDuper! I don’t know enough about Time Machine to know if it would have helped you in this situation.

If you are a freelancer or consultant who depends on your MacBook for bread and underpants, I’d strongly advise getting an emergency Mac Mini along with SuperDuper! (or something equivalent) so you can get back to work soon after a failure. I’d also strongly advise testing this process.

Rarely do we get the opportunity to find out if our backup processes work as intended. While my intentions were true, my execution failed. Thanks to Dave Nanian and Super Duper!, the cost of my mistake was drastically reduced.