Thursday, 16 March 2006

Backing up the Home and other notes

Recent process changes at work have put me in a pickle. Well, not one that can’t be beat with some research.

A large part of my day-to-day work moved to CVS. This is a good thing, I pushed for it. But the Mac OS file system is case-insenitive by default—and before I get a bunch of noise about HFSX, rest assured I researched this format and it’s a no-go as Photoshop, hell, Adobe, has not “certified applications” on HFSX—but I still have to reformat my HDD, so...

...I’ve opted to go with two partitions, one standard HFS+ and another HFSX. OS and applications on HFS+, CVS and development on HFSX. Good trade off I think.

In preparing for this move, I found that MS Entourage was hoarding drive space...about 7GBs of space in the database. I’m compacting that now to see how much I can get back. I need a lot of it back, as my home directory will not back up to a single DVD! Ugh, everything about MS seems to be bloated.

Some notes:

  • Compacting the Entourage database needs 2x the disk space as the database’s starting size (7GBs needs 14GBs)
  • A 7GB database takes +/- 2 hours to compact (on a 2GHz iMac)

Possibly more to follow.


Well, I learned a few things about backing up a home directory in Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.x). Top of the list, recursive references to the Desktop will bomb a "Burn Folder" and items in your ~/Library will do so too.

On the former, delete the Desktop reference after dragging your home folder to the burn folder mounted on the Desktop.

On the latter, run the following command to see what files are not really owned by “you”:

% find ~/Library -not -user yourusername -not -type l -ls

Note the directories and files listed, determine just how expendable those files might be, then make a Library folder in the Finder’s Burn Folder and drag the contents of your ~/Library (not the Library folder itself) sans the previously flagged directories, and cross your fingers! :)

Take special care when manipulating “burn folders”: Items dragged to the burn folder appear as aliases, double-clicking on them will take you to the original directory. Deleting a file on this click path, deletes the original file, not some aliased version of the file.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:21 AM in the mac bloc


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Comment: Andy Ruff at Thu, 16 Mar 5:11 PM

The reason it needs 2X is Entourage creates a backup of your database to insure that no data is lost on compact/rebuild. I'd recommend going through your Entourage mail and removing unused attachments. That's generally the biggest consumption of space in your database. A standard, blank Entourage database is 18 MB--after that, everything else is your e-mail, contacts, events, etc.

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