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dnanian 01-13-2010 12:23 PM

That means that the drive is either failing internally and not responding, so the bridge drops, or that you've got other FW issues. Contact LaCie.

jofallon 03-08-2010 02:13 PM

I've had trouble with Western Digital external drives myself. It looks like Seagate as of now is only doing USB 2 and USB 3 drives, though (looking for one to backup my wife's iMac yesterday). Even eSATA seems to be fading.

My experience with USB has been pretty slow. Are there any good current recommendations other than WD?

dnanian 03-08-2010 02:23 PM

Didn't I recommend a bunch at the top of thiis thread and n the User's Guide?

iamgreen 03-20-2010 01:39 PM

Drobo=no, another enclosure?

I've read highly critical reviews of Drobo. I *wanted* to hear good things, since I have about five large but different high-speed HDs. Have you seen NewEgg and Amazon reviews-- they are really awful, and Apple has pulled the product. Like many people, I want to put all these drives to work and not spend too much, but many enclosures seem to be $500, and they require matching drives. I also don't want wind-tunnel loud fans running in my living room. I'm a huge silentPC guy.

Oh- I'm somewhat happy with a stop-gap solution: the inexpensive BlacX dock by Thermaltake. It has an eSata connector (speed) and USB (for booting, if necessary). This way I can use some of the large drives for redundancy by having three.

Any more recent suggestions?




Originally Posted by dnanian (Post 20713)
Many users ask us what disks are compatible with SuperDuper! -- and while I have a list of brands and a discussion in the User's Guide that goes into some detail, I can't buy and test everything (sorry!).
  • Apricorn
  • G-Tech G-Drive
  • Drobo

Finally, as I've said elsewhere, I don't generally recommend MyBook drives. They cannot be used as startup devices on Power PC based Macs, and -- at least in our internal -- have been more prone to trouble/failures.

Have at it!

dnanian 03-20-2010 02:11 PM

I've got three Drobos here I test with frequently: a Drobo Pro, a regular Drobo and a Drobo S. I like all three (though I think the Drobo software - that is, the Dashboard - is pretty awful on the Mac).

jazzdog 04-14-2010 08:18 AM


Originally Posted by dnanian (Post 21899)
Not that strange: there must be some models that work. But their knowledge base pretty clearly indicates incompatibility with Power PC (Open Firmware) units... and that's been confirmed by me, too. But, I obviously haven't tested every drive. :)

I have 2 500GB MyBook Pros (FW800/FW400/USB2.0) that I've been using with SuperDuper for 2 or 3 years to backup my PowerPC Mac Mini. I've had no problems with them. Booting via FW800 works perfectly.

I've just bought a 2TB G-Tech G-Drive (eSATA/FW800/FW400/USB2.0). Only arrived yesterday, but I've already backed up my MacBook Pro and tested the backup. All good so far.

dnanian 04-14-2010 08:50 AM

Your experience with MyBook drives is atypical, and certainly conflicts with my own experience... Perhaps they have made some recent changes.

jazzdog 04-14-2010 11:08 AM

You're right to counsel against them. Most My Book's won't be bootable on Power PC Macs, but my model is one of the rare exceptions...

"WD external hard drives that are Mac bootable and how to format them to install an operating system..."

"...The following external hard drives should be bootable on Power PC based Mac computers systems through FireWire (1394a/b):

WD My Book Premium Edition
WD My Book Pro Edition"

dnanian 04-14-2010 12:03 PM

Thanks for that additional information!

Estuary 09-25-2011 04:03 PM

Updates to approved EHD list?
My Maxtor FireWire 400 EHD may be dying, so I'm looking to replace it with a FireWire 800 drive. I see that Maxtor is now owned by Seagate. Are Seagate EHDs recommended? Also, any opinions on Iomega FW 800's? Thanks in advance.

dnanian 09-26-2011 06:00 AM

I would probably suggest the LaCie d2 Quadra or 2big.

RockBottom 12-13-2011 12:22 PM

LaCie 3 TB
I recently purchased a LaCie d2 quadra 3-TB hard disk and plugged it using its FireWire 800 connector: I ran SuperDuper 2.6.2 using the standard "backup - all files" script to make it bootable (X 10.5.8), and it seemed that everything went well, but in the end the drive wasn't actually bootable… it didn't even show when pressing the option key at boot time, even though it appeared as one of the bootable candidates when viewed by the start-up disk pref-pane!
  • I tried again with the latest SuperDuper 2.6.4: same result…
  • I partitioned (GUID scheme) the drive (three 931-GB volumes) then tried to back up the system files on the first, then on the second partition: to no avail…
  • I tried the same on a 2-year old Lacie d2 quadra 1-TB : no problem!
should I conclude that this particular type of drive can't be used to boot OS X, or is there something I'm doing wrong?

dnanian 12-13-2011 12:26 PM

Try connecting it with USB instead. Does it show up at Option+boot then?

Enigmacode 12-02-2012 03:13 PM

Sucess With eSata Drives Using 2.6.2
Thought I'd also share:

Have #4 (discontinued), external OWC eSata Enclosures, (No Bridges - No Frills). Each enclosure contains #2 2TB Hitachi DeskStars, and a few older Seagates. Use straight up eSATA connections thru #2 Dat Optic PCIe 4 port eSata cards. Transfer speeds vary from approx. 10,000 MiB/s to about 2,000 MiB/s, (sometimes less).

*Depending on the size of the drive, the 'All Clear Green Indicators' sometimes take a few seconds to come up. All seem to work fine.

Why so many drives?

I'm working on a WWII Documentary - multitudes of Video.


htownhman 01-20-2013 11:41 AM

Avoid the Seagate GoFlex Slim 320 GB USB drive -

Tried this and it produced a very flawed backup.

La Cie Max drive worked well USB or Fire Wire

G-drive mobile drive via Fire Wire works flawlessly.

Moral of this story:


You will find a list of drives and brands that work.

Don't be like me - I read the manual and set up the backup properly a few years ago... jog your memory!!


G.Wright 02-07-2013 02:26 PM

Glyph and Seagate
I have two external drives, both set up the same way - two partitions, one partition for Time Machine and the other partition for SuperDuper full bootable backups for my Intel iMac.

The Seagate GoFlex 1TB came with both USB 2 and FW800 adaptors (There is an optional adaptor for USB 3) - I use the FW. I keep this one in my locker at work, and update it every couple of weeks.

For home/desktop backups I have a Glyph GT050Q 1TB which has an Oxford 924 chip and USB 2, FW400/800 as well as SATA connections. I use the FW800.

I recently tested my ability to boot from the Glyph - no problems. Need to test the GoFlex soon.

Budgie 03-12-2013 06:26 PM

256GB Samsung SSD 840 Series
Hi All

Just updated my 15" 2010 MacBook Pro's internal drive to a 256GB Samsung SSD 840 Series

1) Firstly backed up MacBook to external 1TB Lacie Quadra fire wire drive.
(tested boot from external, excellent)

2) Mechanical install of internal SSD drive flawless.

3) Went to format SSD drive using disk utility, had an issue
where disk utility said the drive was locked and couldn't be formatted.

4) Rebooted holding down "command r" (recovery mode) went to disk utility
formatted the SSD drive from here, perfect. (must have killed something
that was having a hold over the drive that disk utility couldn't cope with
from the mounted drive).

4) Booted into external fire wire drive, backed up to internal SSD
rebooted from internal drive, excellent.
(opted not to do a fresh install of the OS as some people have recommended,
as I trust SD implicitly).

5) Initiated TRIM Support
(as this is not an Apple drive trim was not initiated automatically)

5) Daily back up's to an external drive are flawless.

hope this helps


forgot to mention, back up's all though fast used to take approx 15 minutes, now they take 8, very cool

dnanian 03-12-2013 08:08 PM

That would make sense - we're I/O bound, so faster reads and writes mean a faster backup (and vice versa).

Thanks for the report.

Estuary 05-30-2013 12:05 PM

Hi, Dave. What are your current recommendations for EHDs? Is FireWire still preferred over USB? Are WD and Seagate still not recommended?

dnanian 05-30-2013 12:32 PM

So, new Macs don't even have firewire, so on those I'd suggest USB 3, which is both fast and cost effective. Thunderbolt is costlier by a lot, and overkill for our purposes.

For older Macs with FireWire, that's usually the best solution. I generally recommend LaCie d2 Quadra drives, which are well built, have multiple interfaces, and have good compatibility.

RFMoya 07-01-2013 08:52 PM

My frustrating situation is identical to RockBottom's post (on 12-13-2011) -- SuperDuper successfully executes a flawless backup to a brand new LaCie d2 Quadra 3-TB drive (purchased direct from LaCie 2 weeks ago) & the resulting backup correctly appears as one of the selectable/bootable drives in the Startup Disk pane of the Mac's System Preferences. BUT the new LaCie/SuperDuper backup will not boot when connected via FireWire; & will not even show-up at "Option+boot" when connected via FireWire. And as to the question asked of RockBottom (that he never answered), if I connect the new LaCie 3TB drive via USB it indeed shows-up at Option+boot & starts-up just fine!

Over the weekend, while I waited to be able to contact LaCie tech support, I tried everything I could think of to get it to boot off of FireWire: confirmed GUID partition, reset PRAM & SMC, tried the Mac's FireWire 400 port, tried it on 2 other Macs (an identical '07 iMac and a MacBook), new cables, etc… Nothing worked. I even tried a clean install of the Mac OS onto the new LaCie -- but the clean install failed of course because it has to re-boot during the installation process.

Monday afternoon, when I was finally able to speak with LaCie tech support, I was informed that LaCie hard drives are flat-out NOT SUPPORTED as to being bootable, on FireWire or any interface! I just could not believe it because I currently have 6 other LaCie d2 Quadra's (of various age & capacity) any one of which would always happily boot via FireWire! The tech support rep said that any of the LaCie drives may or may not be bootable, but none of their drives are guaranteed to support boot-ability!

Just to confirm what the tech support rep said, I then called & spoke with a sales rep and a "Customer Service Manager." Everyone was as nice as could be, but everyone agreed that no LaCie external hard drive is officially supported to be bootable!


So it appears that I must now re-think my backup strategy… Should I trust my backups to my older, but bootable, LaCie drives? Should I return my new LaCie drive & get an OWC Mercury Elite Pro? The OWC sales rep that I spoke with today said that they WILL guaranty their drives to be FireWire bootable; but maybe her information is not accurate… Or should I just not worry about the boot-ability of my backup 'cause I can always boot from a DVD or other drive… And just to make my decision even more complicated -- Apple is phasing-out FireWire & my '07 iMac will not last forever; maybe I should just be happy that the new LaCie 3TB 2d Quadra boots off the USB port & not worry about it now…

But "not worrying" is just not part of my nature; especially when it comes to computer backups…

Any feedback at all would be heartily appreciated.

malkruger 07-02-2013 12:11 AM

Disk compatibility
I found the previous well written posting to be of great concern, since I have a total of five LaCie firewire drives utilized for Superduper backups. The variety of four older drives have always booted properly, but my new LaCie drive, D2 Quadra Firewire 3-TB, had only been used to store Superduper backups.

So I attempted to boot from the new drive (identical to the one referenced in the previous posting) via Firewire 800 and it booted perfectly. I realized the same perfect booting as I had always experienced with every older LaCie Firewire drive.

dnanian 07-02-2013 12:35 AM

If the drive will boot from USB, that seems fine - for whatever reason, it's not working on FW, but use USB if you need to boot (and whatever interface you prefer for copying)...

RFMoya 07-02-2013 02:42 AM

I certainly don't mean to start a panic, but malkruger's 3-TB d2 Quadra booting fine via FireWire, while my exact same drive fails, is indeed covered in the LaCie tech's statement to me that "any given LaCie drive may, or may not, boot a Mac." Either way, a hard drive's boot-ability is not officially supported by LaCie, so as far as they are concerned, any of their drives that fail to boot a Mac (while operating correctly in all other regards) are NOT considered defective or any kind of problem or warranty issue for them at all! ... I guess it's just the luck-of-the-draw as far as LaCie goes…

Please don't get me wrong -- I have had a long & happy relationship with LaCie & their products. But what I heard from them on the phone today has really thrown me for a loop… I honestly don't know what to do… Because I purchased the drives directly from LaCie, and they are less than 30-days old, I guess I could return them for a refund… But maybe I'm expecting too much from LaCie -- I really don't know what's the "industry standard"… Is the boot-ability of an external hard drive that variable regardless of the manufacturer? Is this really "normal?"

dnanian 07-02-2013 08:25 AM

All external drive support people tend to say this kind of thing, and they're just being kinda silly. Really, don't worry about what they're saying.

jimco 08-24-2013 05:59 PM

Concatenated disks?
1 Attachment(s)
I'm trying to use SuperDuper! to copy from a Drobo to a pair of disks that are concatenated using Disk Utility. SD gets ready to do it, but simply quits immediately when I issue the final command. It creates no log file apparently.

Is it the concatenated disks that it is choking on? I attach a screenshot from DU to show how the concatenated disks appear there.

I don't want to unnecessarily complicate the issue, but I'm doing this remotely via Screen Sharing on a Mac Mini.


dnanian 08-24-2013 07:02 PM

Sounds more likely that it's incorrectly unlocked (not running from the startup drive, or copied from another system unlocked).

Try re-locking the lock in the main window, then copying (and entering the proper admin user info when prompted).

jimco 08-24-2013 07:47 PM

Yes that was it. Actually it was locked; I just needed to cycle through the lock setting, adding the password. I never would have guessed that, in fact I had never noticed that lock before - thanks!

Budgie 11-27-2013 04:34 PM

MacBook Pro
Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013
2.6 GHz 16gb ram
OS X 10.9 (13A3017)

Lacie 2TB P’9233 Desktop Drive USB3.0 & 2.0

SD 2.7.1 (V91)

Initial erase and copy, perfect, boot into external drive to test, perfect
subsequent scheduled smart updates, perfect

6 minute smart updates, oh so fast excellent :D

dnanian 11-27-2013 04:41 PM

Very nice indeed, Budgie!

justal 11-28-2013 05:49 AM

I've been using Western Digital MyBook drives with SuperDuper! for years and have been able to start up from them using a FireWire interface without any issues.

However, I recently got a new iMac (lucky me) which doesn't have FireWire. I have therefore also bought a new USB3.0 WD MyBook Drive (I couldn't afford a Thunderbolt drive). I have successfully cloned my new iMac to this but don't seem to be able to start up from it. Am I doing something wrong?

I have the older FireWire drives attached to the iMac now as well (using a Thunderbolt to FireWire adaptor) and they seem OK, I just can't start up from the new USB MyBook.

Any suggestions?

dnanian 11-28-2013 08:30 AM

Does it show up in the startup disk preference pane as a startup volume?

justal 11-29-2013 04:38 AM

Yes, it does. And it shows up as a start up volume if I hold down the option key on start up.


dnanian 11-29-2013 08:18 AM

And what happens when you select it? Does the same thing happen for both the startup disk preference pane and Option+Power On?

Francois 02-26-2014 11:56 AM

Compatibility with USB3
I have the new Mac Pro (6.1) with both USB3 and Thunderbolt connections. Due to the fact that any additional storage have to be external, and I have already several USB3 drives (OWC and QVoyager), I have added an Anker USB3 hub (9 ports).
For SD backups of the system disk I'm now using a Crucial M500 480 GB SSD in an OWC Mercury Elite pro enclosure. No problems, effective copy speed varies from 80 to 300 MB/s. The disk may be plugged into the hub, or directly to the Mac . No marked difference.
Booting from the Crucial disk is another matter. When connected to the hub , it won't boot, although it is displayed as "startup disk" in System Preferences. Furthermore, it is not displayed as a bootable option by an "Alt-Boot".
But if connected directly to an USB3 port on the Mac it boots OK.
So I don't worry but I'd like to know if some of you have experience of booting from USB3 on a hub (and which one ?) .

dnanian 02-26-2014 12:01 PM

This isn't a *huge* surprise - hubs are, generally, bad/evil/flaky/weird. But you have an easy workaround, should you need it - connect directly to the Mac.

chrisjonesxray 01-25-2015 01:16 PM

New MacBook Pro without firewire
I need to buy a portable drive for a new MacBook Pro (without firewire).

With thunderbolt and usb 3.0 as the only ports what are the best options out there?

Will anything available be bootable?

dnanian 01-25-2015 01:19 PM

As I already indicated in an emailed response, a LaCie or WD USB3 or Thunderbolt drive should work fine and will boot.

Note that some Macs don't like booting with some USB3 drives if they're in "SuperSpeed" mode (that is, using a USB3 cable). Substituting a USB2 cable (which will fit in 1/2 the port) at boot time will resolve that.

G.Wright 07-09-2015 09:09 PM

This topic needs an update

Originally Posted by dnanian (Post 20713)
Many users ask us what disks are compatible with SuperDuper! -- and while I have a list of brands and a discussion in the User's Guide that goes into some detail, I can't buy and test everything (sorry!).

In this thread, feel free to list your own experiences with disks, including boot compatibility, things you had to do to get the drive to work (e.g. most are shipped partitioned for Windows, and you'll have to repartition them for the Mac), speed, etc.

Note that, added to the list in the still-working-on-the-new-version User's Guide are (and remember -- FireWire is always preferred, although you can usually start up with a USB drive on an Intel -- not Power PC -- Mac):
  • Apricorn
  • G-Tech G-Drive
  • Drobo

Finally, as I've said elsewhere, I don't generally recommend MyBook drives. They cannot be used as startup devices on Power PC based Macs, and -- at least in our internal -- have been more prone to trouble/failures.

Have at it!

I just spent several days researching what external hard drive I should buy to replace my failed Glyph GT 050Q 1TB. As my Glyph failed after only 3.5 years of very light use (maybe 2 hours/week) and gave me quite a few failed backups over the years - and also often wouldn't Eject, etc. - I couldn't justify paying their price for another one.

By necessity, I share Dave Nanian's enthusiasm for Firewire, because the only other ports available on my 2011 iMac are: Thunderbolt (fast, but few and pricey), or USB 2 (slow). But fact of the matter is, since he wrote this post in 2008, there have been A LOT of changes in external hard drives.

When I asked about Firewire at my local Best Buy store, I was informed that those are 'obsolete' - they didn't even have a Firewire cable, much less a selection of Firewire drives. Almost all of the externals on Best Buy's shelves were USB 3.0, only. Yes, I'm told those USB 3 drives will work on my USB 2 port - but at USB 2 speeds, obviously.

Some of the HDD manufactures that used to be reliable, are now less so. And one that used to be somewhat flakey - Western Digital - is now of the more reliable brands - BUT - they are apparently putting some kind of firmware in the chips of their external drives which have caused problems for some, and which is hard to get rid of.

Another up-and-coming brand mentioned above is the G-Tech G-Drive. Overall the G-Drives get pretty good reviews, but there are an alarming number of people reporting that they have problems with Firewire, and they are forced to use USB. If you have USB 3 on your computer, that is no big deal, but for those of us stuck with USB 2, it may be - unless you schedule all your backups to happen while you are asleep.

I finally bought a Mercury Elite Pro - 1.0TB - from OWC. It has FW800, as well as eSATA and USB 3.0 ports. I've partitioned it so SuperDuper and TimeMachine can each have their own partition, and connected with FW800 (Intel Mac users MUST repartition this drive - Disk Utility works, fine). My first backup of each was flawless - a relief, after fighting the Glyph for the past few days.

I'd really like to see some reports on the Thunderbolt drives - particularly how they work with SuperDuper and TimeMachine - boot ups - etc.

I'd also like to know if any kind of Thunderbolt-to-USB3 or Thunderbolt-to-eSATA converters are available, and if those setups will boot an Intel iMac - because the selection of Firewire drives does not seem to be getting any better.

I almost forgot - I use a Seagate GoFlex for Mac portable drive, 1TB which can switch from USB 2 to Firewire - no significant problems since 2011. I backup that one once-per-week and keep it off site.

dnanian 07-09-2015 09:27 PM

I'm sorry. There are so many drives, and so many Macs, and so many combinations, it's nearly impossible for me to provide a list of drives that are "known good", but "known good" can only be for combinations that we can test.

Thunderbolt, in general, should work fine, as should USB drives. Some drives (like G-Drives) may need firmware updates to improve their Mac compatibility, but that's rare. Sometimes you need to attach the drive when you Option+boot, rather than having it attached before. Problems, though, are generally rare.

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