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wildthing

Burning Mac Home Folders To Blu-Ray Data Discs: Problems Galore

Question

For some time I've been using/attempting to use Toast to make backups of my Mac OS X home directories to Blu-ray data discs.

 

The reason for wanting to make a backup of entire home directories is that the OS X system folders within the users' home directories contain important stuff like e-mails, bookmarks, calendar, address book, as well as hidden application data and preferences and so on -- naturally, stuff you'd want to back up.

 

Along the way I've come across many different issues and some workarounds which I thought I'd share on here.

 

Some of these are known and previously discussed issues (that is, they're known on these forums, not apparently to technical support).

 

 

1. Random "-43" errors while trying to backup home OS X directories

 

While trying to backup Mac OS X home directories, I was getting random "-43" errors, especially for files in the user's "Library" system folder, for example:

 

The file "com.apple. …… .plist" could not be accessed (Data fork, -43)

Result Code -43

 

The file "8B554403-AFA1-4F72#11CD138.data"

could not be accessed. (Data fork, -43)

 

Couldn't complete the last command because a file couldn't be found.

Result Code = -43

 

I found that these -43 errors are all over the Roxio support forums with no solution. Creating a disc image or temporary partition did not help.

 

I tried speaking to Roxio support but they didn't have any idea, nor could they tell me whether Toast officially supports backing up Mac OS X home directories or not in principle.

 

Workaround: I eventually managed to workaround this issue by using the Mac disk-to-disk backup application SuperDuper! (http://www.shirt-poc...com/SuperDuper/) to clone my system HD to another backup HD, and then using Toast to burn a BD-R from the backup HD, instead of the original HD.

 

I suspect this may work because SuperDuper excludes a whole bunch of transient and temporary system files that cannot be (and don't need to be) backed up - you can see that from the SuperDuper logs. Maybe Toast just isn't smart enough to do this on its own.

 

 

2. The "hanging at 99%" bug

 

Sometime later I updated Toast from 11.0.4 to 11.0.6, and then tried to make another backup of my home directory to BD (of course using the SuperDuper clone of my home directories, rather than the actual live home directories, to avoid the -43 error).

 

Then, I repeatedly got the "hanging at 99%" bug where it writes up 99% progress and then just hangs. Even when I tried copying to a disc image (.toast file) instead of an actual blu-ray disc, it still hung at 99%.

 

Again I find that this issue is all over the forums, with no real fix.

 

 

3. Verification errors with the 11.1 beta

 

So to avoid the "hanging at 99%" bug, one of the threads suggested that I try the Toast 11.1 Beta, so I downloaded and installed the beta 11.1.0a1(35) from the link given in that forum thread, and this time was able to burn the entire disc successfully - no hanging at 99% - however, it failed on verification with the following error:

 

Mismatch at byte 0/sector 5391379. Verification failed.

 

At first I thought this was due to bad media, but then this happened two more times - generating 3 consecutive coasters, each with the exact same verification error. I hardly ever got verification errors with 11.0.4 or 11.0.6 - certainly never 3 in a row - so I concluded this MUST be an issue with the Toast beta, and not with my media.

 

Workaround: In the end I resolved this by downgrading(!) to 11.0.4. One of the forum threads said that the "hanging at 99%" issue did /not/ occur with 11.0.4, and that it was an earlier bug which actually re-appeared in 11.0.6.

 

So I actually managed to avoid both the "hanging at 99%" error (which occured with 11.0.6) and the verification errors (which occured with the 11.1 beta) by downgrading Toast to 11.0.4.

 

Surprisingly, the Roxio downloads page shows 11.0.4 is the only version there. I'm not sure why that is, seeing as 11.0.6 is the latest version according to the "Check for Updates" within the app itself. But anyway, this enabled me to "downgrade" my Toast installation to 11.0.4.

 

This has finally allowed me to burn my home directory to BD again. So, yes, I eventually got it working again in the end.

 

 

4. Toast can only burn files belonging to the user who is currently logged in

 

This is not a bug, more a feature request.

 

I waste a lot of disc space because I could fit multiple users home directories on one BD, but I can't do this easily because Toast doesn't support it (it gives permission errors if you try).

 

Other backup tools don't have this limitation. For example, I use SuperDuper! and JungleDisk which can both see ALL users' files and back them up. I'm assuming they install themselves with a form of run-as-root (a.k.a. setuid) privilege so they can backup files belonging to all users on the system.

 

I know that SuperDuper backs up to disk, and JungleDisk backs up to the cloud, whereas Toast backs up to optical media. That's not the point; they're all backup tools, and the others have this feature whereas Toast does not.

 

As a backup tool it would be nice if Toast could do this. Just a thought.

 

 

Tech support: intense frustration

 

I spent many hours dealing with the bugs and issues but I wasted even greater number of hours speaking to Roxio technical support which was really one of the worst tech support experiences I've ever had in my life.

 

I know this is probably typical for many tech support these days, but these guys just bombard you with an endless sequence of almost completely random "try this" suggestions most of which bear no relation to the actual problem.

 

They never show any inkling that part of their job might be to report bugs to their engineering team so they might eventually get fixed.

 

 

The future

 

I doubt if I can use 11.0.4 forever - at some point I'll probably need to upgrade.

 

If anyone from Roxio reads this: it would be nice if a future version of Toast doesn't have these bugs, and can be used to backup Mac OS X home directories?

Edited by wildthing
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Everything you learned and report rings true for me.

 

I don't know if Roxio has marketed Toast as an OS X backup tool, but you are correct that it isn't one. As you found there are other applications specifically designed for this. I believe that Roxio used to include a third-party backup application in the Toast bundle, but that may be back before the OS X days.

 

Toast 11.0.6 won't complete disc burns and 11.1 beta has verification errors. I don't know if the verification errors actually mean that something is wrong with the disc or whether it something is wrong with the verification process. It might be interesting to try the Compare... feature in the Toast Utiltiies menu to see if there is any actual difference between the disc and the selected content. I've never used Compare but I recall Roxio people several years ago say it is more reliable because verification errors can be false (at least with Toast). I mostly use 11.1 beta and have not encountered a verification error as yet. However, I'm not burning Blu-ray discs nor spanned discs with Toast. Mostly I burn audio and video discs.

 

The reason Toast 11.0.4 is in the software updates page is it is the last update that included the entire Toast 11 bundle. The 11.0.5 and 11.0.6 are only available via Toast's built-in updater (which is new to Toast 11). Of course, it is unwise to do that update unless the plan is to use it for projects that don't involve burning discs or saving as a disc image. For instance, a user can save a disc image with 11.0.6 and burn it to disc using 11.0.4. Why bother? As I recall there were some Blu-ray video authoring bugs that were supposedly fixed with Toast 11.0.6. I don't remember specifically what they were.

 

Roxio's support seems ill-informed about Toast bugs. From what I've read in the forum the tech support people assume that every feature works as promised. So any problem is either user or computer error. I've said many times that I wish Roxio would publish a list of known issues with Toast. They could then share that list with their technical support and with us in the forum. It won't ever happen.

 

I'm getting weary of waiting for Roxio to issue a Toast update that works more reliably. I'm nervous about what will happen when OS 10.8 is released. I want to think that Roxio is holding up the release of 11.1 because they are taking care of any issues that Mountain Lion is presenting. But the glass looks more empty than full no matter how hard I try keep my optimism.

 

Thanks for your informative post.

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Thank you for your reply Eugene.

 

I don't know if Roxio has marketed Toast as an OS X backup tool

 

Well it depends what we mean by "backup", but burning data discs (as opposed to video/audio) is one of Toast's advertised features and I would assume people do this for backup/archiving purposes.

 

As you found there are other applications specifically designed for this.

 

There are other applications specifically designed for backup – but none of them can back up to optical discs as far as I'm aware. All the consumer backup Mac OS X applications I've tried/used either back up to hard disk, or the cloud.

 

Before I bought Toast, I did actually try using Mac OS X's built-in data disc authoring capability in Finder.app, as this worked fine for me previously with data CDs and DVDs. However it would not work with my Blu-ray drive (a Pioneer BDR-206DBK in a USB enclosure). It recognized the drive and said "Writing track 1" for about 10 minutes and then ejected the disk saying:

 

"The disc can’t be burned because the disc drive is not accessible (error code 0x80020020)."

 

When I got in touch with the vendor of the drive, a data archiving specialist (http://imagestore.co.uk), they were very helpful and they basically said all their clients use Toast for authoring data Blu-ray discs on the Mac platform. This is how I came to use Toast — and for all its faults, Toast did enable me to overcome this particular error.

 

So — it looks like if you want to backup/archive data to Blu-ray on the Mac OS X platform, Toast is the only game in town right now.

 

I believe that Roxio used to include a third-party backup application in the Toast bundle, but that may be back before the OS X days.

 

There still is — it's called "Get Backup 2" from Belight Software.

 

When I first experienced the Toast issues, I wondered if I should be using Get Backup 2 instead.

 

There are actually a total of 7 apps in the Toast 11 Titanium bundle but no obvious place to find an overall summary of what each app does, or guidance along the lines of "if you're trying to do task X, use app Y". So I didn't know if I should be using Toast or Get Backup 2 to backup my Mac home directories.

 

However the Get Backup 2 user interface specifically mentions e-mails and other items which are stored in Mac OS X system folders, so I thought — maybe this product is actually designed to be able to deal with the system folders within Mac OS X home directories?

 

The bundled version is "Get Backup 2 RE" which does not natively support burning to optical discs, however it can integrate with Toast to burn optical discs. You can also upgrade to the full version for $9.95 which natively supports burning backups to optical discs (http://www.belightso...oxioedition.php).

 

I tried both, and in case it's of any help to anyone else thinking of going down this path, here are my experiences using Get Backup 2 (both RE and Full versions) to back up Mac OS X home directories to optical disc, which I tried in order to overcome the -43 errors I was getting with Toast.

 

This is the same text I reported to technical support in late 2011, based on Get Backup 2 version 2.4.7. Some of these issues may have been fixed since then, although I'm doubtful.

 

1. The Toast start-up wizard prevents Get Backup 2 RE from launching toast. When you configure Get Backup 2 RE to use Toast to burn a disc, it fails to work at all if the Toast start-up wizard is enabled. Unfortunately the start-up wizard in Toast is enabled by default, so with the default settings it doesn't work. You have to disable the Startup Wizard in Toast, before Get Backup is able to launch Toast to burn a disc.

 

2. Get Backup 2 RE fails preserve the correct disc name when it invokes Toast. For example, if you carefully name your backup "BD-R-2011-09-11a" in Get Backup, then when it launches Toast the disc name becomes "Backup Disc 1", and there's apparently no way to change it.

 

3. Get Backup 2 RE dumps all your data in a single gigantic tar file, which Toast then burns to disc. For me, this is not acceptable — I don't know how resiliant the "tar" format is to corruption; for all I know one small corruption on the disc could make the entire tar file unreadable. I want individual files to remain as individual files on the disc itself in an HFS+ filesystem, as with Toast.

 

4. Get Backup 2 Full version does not support native burning to Blu-ray discs. After through the whole "Preparing" and "Building" process, it then says: "The inserted disc is not a CD or DVD". For this reason, the $9.95 upgrade (paid to Belight, not Roxio) was a complete waste of money for me.

 

At this point I gave up on Get Backup 2 entirely, and went back to Toast, and then I eventually found the workaround to the -43 error in Toast, described above.

 

Toast 11.0.6 won't complete disc burns and 11.1 beta has verification errors. I don't know if the verification errors actually mean that something is wrong with the disc or whether it something is wrong with the verification process. It might be interesting to try the Compare... feature in the Toast Utiltiies menu to see if there is any actual difference between the disc and the selected content. I've never used Compare but I recall Roxio people several years ago say it is more reliable because verification errors can be false (at least with Toast). I mostly use 11.1 beta and have not encountered a verification error as yet. However, I'm not burning Blu-ray discs nor spanned discs with Toast. Mostly I burn audio and video discs.

 

The reason Toast 11.0.4 is in the software updates page is it is the last update that included the entire Toast 11 bundle. The 11.0.5 and 11.0.6 are only available via Toast's built-in updater (which is new to Toast 11). Of course, it is unwise to do that update unless the plan is to use it for projects that don't involve burning discs or saving as a disc image. For instance, a user can save a disc image with 11.0.6 and burn it to disc using 11.0.4. Why bother? As I recall there were some Blu-ray video authoring bugs that were supposedly fixed with Toast 11.0.6. I don't remember specifically what they were.

 

Roxio's support seems ill-informed about Toast bugs. From what I've read in the forum the tech support people assume that every feature works as promised. So any problem is either user or computer error. I've said many times that I wish Roxio would publish a list of known issues with Toast. They could then share that list with their technical support and with us in the forum. It won't ever happen.

 

I'm getting weary of waiting for Roxio to issue a Toast update that works more reliably. I'm nervous about what will happen when OS 10.8 is released. I want to think that Roxio is holding up the release of 11.1 because they are taking care of any issues that Mountain Lion is presenting. But the glass looks more empty than full no matter how hard I try keep my optimism.

 

Thanks, this is useful — and also good to know I'm not the only one suffering.

Edited by wildthing

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Thanks so much for the info about your experience with Get Backup 2.

 

I, too, would expect Toast to be able to back up everything in the user directory as long as nothing changes in the directory from the time the files are added to Toast to the time they are burned. What that means is one can't be using the Mac that is being backed up to do the backup. You may be familiar with the Target disk mode in which one Mac becomes an external hard drive attached to the other. What I'd probably do to copy my entire user account to Blu-ray for backup is connect one of my Macs to the other in this fashion and then use Toast to copy the directory from the slave Mac. Of course the Blu-ray drive needs to be connected to the Mac that's in charge. Since your Blu-ray burner is external you could swap everything around and back up the other Mac as well. The steps to use Target Disk Mode are in the Finder Help.

 

What I don't know is what happens to permissions when trying to restore the content from the discs. Will the permissions still be the same?

 

I use Target Disk Mode whenever I want to run DiskWarrior to check for directory problems. It's much faster than booting the Mac using the DiskWarrior DVD.

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Yep, that might work as well, I haven't tried that.

 

I only have one Mac, however when I clone my system HD using SuperDuper, the clone is bootable. So another solution might be to boot from the cloned HD, and then burn the primary HD to disc. I haven't tried that either. I've only tried burning the cloned HD to disc while booted into the primary HD.

 

But if it works, then the general principle would be as you say, avoid burning from the HD you booted into.

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