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ashleykaryl 04-25-2020 08:19 AM

Failing to start fro external backup
In anticipation of the new computer arriving I have started preparing the old Mac Pro for semi-retirement, however I want to keep it usable and maintain backups with SuperDuper.

I read here on the forum that it was possible to encrypt external drives in disk utility for use with SD, so I did that with APFS, then performed a smart update. This was external drive that is limited to USB 2 on the Mac Pro and I knew it would be slow, but I just wanted to know it would work in an emergency.

After selecting it as the startup drive I restarted and nothing much happened for about a minute, then it proceeded to start up with the usual drive. In the past I have been able to start via USB, so I figure this is likely related to the encryption.

Although the Mac Pro is supported on Mojave it cannot enable file vault for some reason. I did wonder if I need to run another backup to SD that saves the password for the encrypted drive. Obviously the easiest answer would be to wipe it all and just make unencrypted backups, but this seemed like a safer option if possible.

Having ordered various new drives it should be possible to free up a slot in the Mac Pro and install a SATA drive purely for SD.

dnanian 04-25-2020 08:21 AM

Was the USB drive connected directly to the Mac? If so, try powering off completely, disconnecting the drive, holding down Option, powering on and getting to the boot menu.

Then connect the drive, directly to the Mac. When it appears, select it and see if it boots.

ashleykaryl 04-25-2020 08:30 AM

Yes it was connected directly to the Mac. One of the problems with the old Mac Pro is that I had to replace the original video card with a new one that is metal enabled just to install Mojave and that meant I lost the boot screen.

The Mac Pro is running into all kinds tricky difficulties like this nowadays. Updates always feel like Russian roulette.

dnanian 04-25-2020 08:35 AM

It almost seems like the drive prompt, which would come up early, may not work with the different video card, since it may be done by part of the OS that doesn't support the card.

Since it's quite unlikely you'll ever boot from this drive (since any new Mac you get won't support the old OS), it may not matter that you can't boot from the backup. But, perhaps keep it unencrypted if that's proving problematic?

ashleykaryl 04-25-2020 08:41 AM

Yes I think keeping it unencrypted in this case may be the best option. The video card is supposed to be fully compatible, but in practice creates all sorts of difficulties. For example, I cannot run disk utility in recovery mode with this card installed and security updates often result in excruciating ordeals with a black screen that are only resolved by resetting the NVRAM.

I guess a SATA drive will always be faster than this external drive given the USB 2 connection, so probably better to do this without the external drive anyway.

BTW I followed your advice and bought an SSD drive for SD on the mini. I planned on enabling file vault and wondered if that will automatically carry over to the back-up drive or should I encrypt that in disk utility first?

dnanian 04-25-2020 09:27 AM

Neither. Format APFS, back up, boot, turn on FileVault, boot back. When prompted after booting back, add the password to the keychain.

ashleykaryl 04-25-2020 02:00 PM

Thank you I'll give that a go after the mini arrives. BTW the instant email notifications have never worked for me on this forum.

dnanian 04-25-2020 02:43 PM

That's weird - I get the notifications...and it's no longer "local" to my office.

ashleykaryl 04-25-2020 08:01 PM

I've just changed my profile email to see if that helps.

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