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Frankenmac 2017: How to back up a hackintosh

After last week’s temporary death of Frankenmac, I decided it was important to back up the machine—even though I haven’t yet migrated my data to it. Having a backup would let me quickly recover from any future self-induced stupidity. Backing up a hackintosh is generally the same as backing up a regular Mac, with one key exception: Making sure you back up the EFI partition, which is where are the special bits are stored to make your hackintosh boot.

Here’s what I did to make sure I had a bootable backup of Frankenmac…

Step 1: Prepare the backup drive

Format an external hard drive with a GUID Partition Map—this will create an invisible EFI partition on the drive, which is required for a Hackintosh backup. Use Mac OS Extended (Journaled) for the data partition.

Step 2: Clone the data drive

Use your favorite cloning tool of choice—I use Carbon Copy Cloner—to clone your hackintosh data drive to your backup. This step is no different than a normal Mac backup. You should also create the recovery partition, if your backup software does that for you (CCC does).

Step 3: Mount the EFI partitions

For the next step, you’ll need to mount the EFI partition for both the hacktinosh and the backup drive. You can either do this via Terminal, or using the handy EFI Mounter GUI app (free account required to download).

If you’re using EFI Mounter, after providing your admin password, you’ll see a window like this:

That shot is from my iMac, which has many drives attached. On your hackintosh, you’ll probably just have two. It doesn’t matter which order you mount them in, so mount one, relaunch EFI Mounter, and mount the other.

Step 4: Copy the EFI folder to the backup’s EFI partition

One of the two mounted EFI partitions will contain a folder named EFI. Copy that entire folder—drag-copy in Finder should work fine—to the backup drive’s empty EFI folder.

Step 5: Unmount the EFI partitions

Do this via Terminal, or using EFI Mounter and its Unmount button. As before, you’ll need to run the app twice to handle both EFI partitions.

Step 6: Test your backup!

This is probably the most important step. Restart your hackintosh, and when the Clover boot loader appears, select your newly-cloned drive as the boot device:

If all goes well, you’ll soon be greeted by a clone of your hackintosh. Confirm that you booted from the clone by checking the About window:

Wrapping it all up

Once you’ve done this backup once, things are easier going forward: You don’t need to update the EFI partition unless you do something to modify your EFI…and for me, once I get this machine fully configured, I don’t intend to touch that partition again unless it’s absolutely required!

4 Comments

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  1. Surprised that CCC will make a recovery partition – but won’t make an EFI partition nor copy over the /EFI folder onto it?

    Eagerly waiting to hear further reports on your Hackintosh configuration efforts. I’ve done a couple of these – back in the bad old pre-Clover days – and getting the niggling bits of audio, wifi, Bluetooth and iCloud functionality working bedeviled me.

  2. I don’t think this actually works as you intended. I think you’re using the OLD Clover bootloader from the pre-existing drive to boot. By copying over the contents of one EFI folder to another, I don’t think you’ve actually installed a bootloader onto the new drive.

    Have you?

    Can you boot the system WITHOUT the old drive connected?

    Thanks!

    1. You are right.

      No he hasn’t installed a bootloader onto the new drive!

      After restart it shows “no bootable device insert boot disk and press any key” you have to instal Clover EFI bootloader on this new drive .

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