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#846: Backing Up Boot Camp, Quick Problematic Data Removal Workaround, Not Quite as Quiet as We Thought


Hello all,

Financial cliff or not, I am planning to relax a bit this week. I will also reflect in my standard happy, yet morose, holiday way about how modern communication separates people as much as it unites them. We never seem to talk to each other, despite having at least a half-dozen ways of doing so basically instantaneously and so on…ad nauseam.

It’s a good, comfortable soapbox that I enjoy standing on, and likely won’t be bored with for several years. I am also lucky enough to be spending some time with the aforementioned family celebrating the upcoming uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving. Hopefully this week brings you some good times as well. Best wishes to you all.


  Backing Up Boot Camp  

Backing up your data is a critical aspect of computing. A few years ago, Apple started taking steps to make it easier for people to do this with their Time Machine software. In conjunction with an external hard drive, Time Machine will make a complete backup of your computer and continuously update it so in the event of a crash, Time Machine has a very recent backup to help you restore your data. It works well and is simple, but it doesn’t do everything.

One of the things it does not do is back up Boot Camp Windows partitions. This can be problematic for those of us who spend lots of time setting up and using our Boot Camp partitions — we don’t want to lose them any more than we want to lose our Mac partitions. There are some spendy Windows backup options out there, but we have always used Winclone, a free application that backs up Windows machines.

Freeware can be great — the Mac backup software SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner are fantastic tools we use all the time. There are usually compromises, though. In the case of Winclone, the drawback has been that the backups could not be used to restore a Windows partition. All the data would be saved, but it would have to be manually restored after Windows was installed, which can be a daunting task.

The new version of Winclone, though has resolved this issue. It’s a great way to be able to backup and restore your Windows side as well as your Mac side. You can save the backup as a disk image to your Time Machine drive so it is in the same place as your Mac backup, or if it is small enough, you could even put the image on your Mac side, where it will be preserved in Time Machine with your Mac backup.

Please note: this only applies to people using Boot Camp. People who use Parallels and other programs that create virtual machines do not have to do anything extra to back up their Windows data, since virtual machines are treated like any other file by Time Machine.

  Quick Problematic Data Removal Workaround  

One of the services we offer is data backups and recovery on machines checked into service. Customer data is backed up to our servers in a variety of ways, depending on the state of the hard drive and if necessary, restored to customer machines before pickup time. After a few days to allow for customers to confirm the data, the backups are deleted from our server.

We sometimes experience permission-related conflicts when attempting to remove those old backups from our server. Data retrieved from failing hard drives can have corrupted permissions and cannot be removed by simply emptying the trash as usual. Normally I would use the “sudo rm -rf” command in terminal, and drag in the corrupted files/folders into the terminal window for deletion.

I wanted to speed this process up a bit, as I was doing a lot of data backups in this way, and it was proving to be slightly more time consuming than it needed to be. I knew Automator would be able to help me out, so I decided to create a very simple workflow that would allow me to simply double-click to execute the necessary command.

I opened up Automator, and selected New > Application. On the sidebar, I selected Utilities, and dragged “Run Shell Script” onto the workspace on the right. The command I then inputted is “sudo rm -rf ~/.Trash/*”. This command, when executed, is simply telling your computer to empty whatever’s in the trash, whilst bypassing any permissions tied to those files. The last step is to save the workflow as an application to the desired location on your computer. I also swapped in the stock Apple Trash icon for quick visual identification.

  Not Quite as Quiet as We Thought  

Here’s an update to last weeks article on muting your system chime using a Terminal command. It turns out that these commands (as well as the one I’ll be giving you now) may not work on every computer. I’ve found that no matter what I do I can’t get any of them to work on my 2009 27” iMac. They’ll also not work if you have speakers or headphones plugged into your Mac.

It’s an interesting thing that from what I can tell has to do with differing firmware for each machine. The startup chime does serve a purpose beyond just making noise. This chime tells you that the computer found no hardware problems at start up.

A fair number of people wrote in about just muting your system volume before you restart. This does work for most machines but the whole point of using the Terminal command was so you don’t have to remember to do that.

Here’s an alternate way to mute your volume:

Step 1: Open Terminal and type in nano. Then press enter. The nano editor will open.

Step 2: Type the following lines into the nano editor:

osascript -e ‘set volume with output muted’

Step 3: Press control and O then type the following and press enter: ~/Documents/

Step 4: Change the script in the nano window to the following:

osascript -e ‘set volume without output muted’

Step 5: Press control and X, then press Y to agree and change the save name to and then press enter. Nano should quit: ~/Documents/

Step 6: Run the following commands in Terminal. If it asks for your password give it.

sudo chmod u+x ~/Documents/
sudo chmod u+x ~/Documents/
sudo mv ~/Documents/ /Library/Scripts/
sudo mv ~/Documents/ /Library/Scripts/
sudo defaults write LogoutHook /Library/Scripts/
sudo defaults write LoginHook /Library/Scripts/

Step 7: Quit Terminal and reboot your machine.

This may or may not do it depending on your computer. There is a free application you can get called StartNinja ( that will do much the same thing, without all the Terminal fun. The app doesn’t work on all machines, so those of us with iMacs may be out of luck.

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