Recycled Computing

Backing Up Your G3 PowerBook Quickly and Easily

- 2008.10.27

Tiger, tiger burning bright
in the forest of the night
What immortal hand or eye
has framed thy fearful symmetry?

Who says you don't learn anything in school? I remembered that poemfrom my elementary school days many, many years ago.

I'm still running Tiger on my G3 "Pismo" PowerBook, and manypeople ask me how I manage running Tiger in the Age of Leopard.

Well, Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4.11) runs well on the Pismo (although Iwould like to max out the RAM to 1 GB), and I'm not sure throwinga G4 processor at it would make Leopard that much better an operatingsystem for this old 'Book. The limiting factor is the Pismo's graphicscard. In order to utilize Cover Flow with iTunes, I have to turn downthe display from "millions of colors" to "thousands of colors". A smallprice to pay, but Leopard is graphics heavy.

Backing Up without Time Machine

"But what about Time Machine?" you ask. "You have no way toautomatically back up your critical files."

Okay, Time Machine is a very useful feature, but I have a backupmethod which has a unique advantage.

As Pismo fanboys know, the Pismo has two modular bays that caneither hold batteries or (on the right side) optical drives, Zipdrives, floppy drives, and . . . drum roll please. . . a module containing a 2.5" hard drive. Stillmanufactured by MCE Technologies, the convenient Xcaret Pro modules(links at end of article), which currently sell for US$69, allow you toinstall an old laptop drive. It's very easy to do, and you can boot thePismo from this removable hard drive. (The same goes for the WallStreet and Lombard PowerBooks.)

To back up my drive, I clone my hard drive to the other hard drivein the MCE enclosure mounted in my right expansion bay using Carbon Copy Cloner(freeware, donations accepted). After the first full backup, you can domuch faster incremental backups to save only what's been changed (theshareware SuperDuper! programcan do the same thing).

If anything goes wrong with my Pismo's hard drive or I suffer avirus or hacking attack, I can boot the Pismo using the backup harddrive in my Pismo's expansion bay. I don't have to do much of anythingto get the computer going again in an emergency.

What About Leopard?

Since I started writing this article, Mr. Mike, our beloved computerrepair person, accidentally installed Leopard on a G4 PowerBook with a 400 MHzprocessor. It takes a little while to load, but once it's up, it's nottoo shabby.

Does this mean I can think about putting Leopard on the old Pismo?First things first: I would have to shell out for a G4 processor forthe Pismo. Hmmm. But think about installing Apple's latest operatingsystem on a 9-year-old laptop. It would make a nice commercial.

I'm waiting for Steve Jobs' phone call. LEM

Xcaret Pro for Lombard and Pismo

Xcaret Pro for WallStreet

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