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Mac OSX update to 'Big Sur' - caution

Tenor Viol

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Apple have issued a major update to Mac OSX called 'Big Sur' which replaces Catalina.

SUMMARY: if you have data used by apps e.g. Adobe products or music software on the same drive that is used for your Time Machine back ups, be VERY careful.

DETAILS
I got caught by surprise by this and wasn't paying attention and thought it was an ordinary update. There is a major "feature" of this change which is causing me immense problems and I'm writing this as an advisory in case you encounter similar issues.

A major change of this update is how Time Machine works. In my case, I have a 4TB NAS drive designated as the target to write the back ups to. My Mac is only 500gb SSD on board, so it's more than enough. I also use the NAS drive to hold the bulk of my documents and all of my files for photos used by Light Room and Photoshop. The RAW files from my current camera are 50mb each, which is why they're on the NAS drive. The LR catalog is on the SSD, so you can quickly search the thumbnails, but it has to go to the NAS to get the full image file.

Apple have decided that the drive that is used by Time Machine can ONLY be used for Time Machine. Personally, I do not see how they can assume such a right as it is MY device.

This means that not only is the drive not visible in Finder, but you can't even log into it via the NAS drive's own app (Western Digital in my case). Worse, LR cannot see the files and all 30,000+ photos are showing as 'orphaned' and detached from their files. That means I am unable to access or process any of my photos.

Apple have suggested one solution, I may have worked out an alternative.

Apple solution: this will be done with the assistance of a support person on the phone tomorrow... Restore the Mac back to Catalina and then recover to last image copy/restore point.

Given that this is over wi-fi etc I am not confident that this will work, if it does then 30 or 40gb over wi-fi will take forever.

My solution: I have ordered a 4TB external HD. I will plug that into the USB3 port on the Mac and designate it as the Time Machine target. Once it has backed up, I think the NAS drive will become 'free' and accessible. This does not involve recovering back or a system restore.

I think my solution is less risky.

I will provide updates on progress.
 

Sue

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Oh no, what a pain for you. I do hope you are able to resolve the situation. I fell out with Time Machine a few years ago and no longer use it. I have resisted the temptation to upgrade to Big Sur for now and look forward to hearing how you get on later. Good luck.
 

nigeld

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I plan to wait at least a month before moving to the new OS version. I prefer to wait for the ".1" release in the hope that the major bugs have been fixed.
 
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saxyjt

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I plan to wait at least a month before moving to the new OS version. I prefer to wait for the ".1" release in the hope that the major bugs have been fixed.
I can't upgrade. My hardware is too old... :oops:
Almost 10 years. I'm now lurking at the new M1 chip.

Now, I can't understand why Apple took such a restrictive decision. Especially given the consequences for existing data.
 

Pete Thomas

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If you were using the TM drive to also store files, then what was backing up those files? It sounds like all along you needed two external drives or two partitions on one, one for backup and one for file storage. Or cloud storage.
I'm not sure, but I thought that these days you can actually repartition a drive without formatting the data. maybe not or presumeably the Apple tech support would have suggested that.

However good large capacity external drives are cheap now, especially the dedicated backup drives that don't need to be so fast.

Given that this is over wi-fi etc I am not confident that this will work,

I think my solution is less risky.
I agree. (Also less risky than my suggestion above of partitioning without a full backup.)
 
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Saxlicker

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Good Luck @Tenor Viol
Apple are really annoying me and it's been getting worse from the moment Steve Jobs was out of the picture.
The problem is Microsoft in my opinion are even worse.
I remember Apple as the ones bringing us quality innovations. That has sadly drifted into them meddling with what you already bought and forcing users to rethink and further rethink ways they can carry on do the stuff they bought an apple product for in the first place.
In a nutshell the iPod was a huge success, the range of MacBooks fitted many buying niches, the phones revolutionised the touch screen sensation, ... leaving others playing catch up,an iPad was genius, my 2010 iMac (still have it) was a sheer pleasure for the 1st 6 years. and overtime all products seemed to grow up.
But now? I now use a 2019 MacBook Pro mainly and hesitated to buy it because of their meddlesome ways.
It won't talk to my older apple stuff in a lot of ways, favourite features are pulled with every version of OIS, they change things that simply make me irate. But then I think of the alternative.
I shudder at the thought of mcAffee anti Virus and clunky windows glitches and office 365 rental...

We need a new competitor!!
I'll be waiting a while and dragged kicking and screaming into big sur and what ever comes after.
 

saxyjt

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We need a new competitor!!
I've been a longtime user of an alternative: Ubuntu linux. I still have a desktop and 2 laptops running it. Unfortunately, it often requires a bit of it wizardry and although there are many excellent applications for free, many of the mainstream stuff supporting our musical gear don't run on it.

I have forced my kids to use Ubuntu for years, until the oldest decided to go Windows because he needed an application that had no match on linux. It also enabled me to limit the time they spent on their laptops.

I recognize that they produce high quality products, but I hate the closed ecosystem.
 

jazzdoh

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Thanks Tenor Viol for the heads up on this.

I haven't even updated to Catalina, still using Mojave and that's the way it will stay for me.
I have a separate drive for time machine and it works well.
Let us know how you get on.
 

vries1

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Thanks Tenor Viol for the heads up on this.

I haven't even updated to Catalina, still using Mojave and that's the way it will stay for me.
I have a separate drive for time machine and it works well.
Let us know how you get on.
If you are on older hardware, like a pre-retina MacBook Air, then be aware that Catalina killed proper subpixel antialiasing. Should you be sensitive to that kind of thing, then stick to Mojave (or get one of these new and very tempting M1 Macs)!
 

jazzdoh

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If you are on older hardware, like a pre-retina MacBook Air, then be aware that Catalina killed proper subpixel antialiasing. Should you be sensitive to that kind of thing, then stick to Mojave (or get one of these new and very tempting M1 Macs)!
Thanks, its not that old, about 3yrs and is iMac desktop Retina display but I've heard that Catalina doesn't do 32 bit software so I stuck with Mojave.
 

vries1

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One word of caution... should you occasionally feel grumpy towards Apple (like I sometimes do), don’t think for one moment that Microsoft/Windows will be any kind of improvement. My work IT imposed such an environment on me and I have surprisingly found that “appalling” is an understatement for how poorly Windows (on a “high-end”Windows laptop) works. For me, it was a phenomenal step back from macOS, and extremely expensive for my employer given the amount of productivity loss.
 

Tenor Viol

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If you were using the TM drive to also store files, then what was backing up those files? It sounds like all along you needed two external drives or two partitions on one, one for backup and one for file storage. Or cloud storage.
I'm not sure, but I thought that these days you can actually repartition a drive without formatting the data. maybe not or presumeably the Apple tech support would have suggested that.

However good large capacity external drives are cheap now, especially the dedicated backup drives that don't need to be so fast.




I agree. (Also less risky than my suggestion above of partitioning without a full backup.)
You make a valid point about the backups. I've ordered a new 4TB HD so that will resolve that part...
 

Jimmymack

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If you were using the TM drive to also store files, then what was backing up those files? It sounds like all along you needed two external drives or two partitions on one, one for backup and one for file storage. Or cloud storage.
I'm not sure, but I thought that these days you can actually repartition a drive without formatting the data. maybe not or presumeably the Apple tech support would have suggested that.

However good large capacity external drives are cheap now, especially the dedicated backup drives that don't need to be so fast.




I agree. (Also less risky than my suggestion above of partitioning without a full backup.)
You can indeed partion a drive without losing everything, I’ve done it and it works just as you’d hope. The only downside is that if that drive dies you effectively lose two. I don’t see the point in keeping files on the same drive as Time Machine or a bootable backup.
 

Pete Thomas

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Just noticed, latest update to Garageband requires Big Sir
 

Tenor Viol

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4TB HD acquired. Apple Support call due shortly....
 

Pete Thomas

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Just in case, are you able to copy your current 4TB drive over to the new one as failsafe? I reume you may not be able to via the Mac OS now, but something like Super Duper could probably do a clone for safety.

EDIT: Maybe Mac Disk Utilities can do a clone
 
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Vetinari

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Just read a report that says big sur allows apple apps to bypass vpn and firewalls
 

saxyjt

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Just read a report that says big sur allows apple apps to bypass vpn and firewalls
How so? What are the consequences?

It's time to move away from any proprietary software then, especially Safari.
 
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