how to back up and restore the system disk to another disk with Disk Utility


  • connect another disk (be sure it has enough free space)

  • boot from the install dvd

    • use system preferences → startup disk or…

    • insert disk and boot while holding the C key

  • select preferred language. do not continue with the installation.

  • start the Disk Utility from the Utilities menu in the menu bar

  • select the system disk as the source pane

  • optionally, verify and repair disk

  • select the New Image button in the toolbar.

  • name the image

  • optionally, select encryption

  • select the destination for the image

  • click Save

  • if prompted, enter name and password

  • after the image is created, select it in the device pane on the left

  • from the menu bar, select Images > Scan Image for Restore…

  • quit the Disk Utility and the Mac OS X installer to reboot

Restoring the backup disk image contents to your internal Mac OS X disk

Note: If the Mac you are restoring to is not the same Mac you used to make the backup disk image, use Migration Assistant instead of Disk Utility to properly transfer the data back to your Mac.

  • Connect the external disk you’ve backed up to.

  • Start from your Mac OS X 10.5 or 10.6 Install DVD. (Insert the disc, then restart and hold the C key.)

  • Select your language. Do not start an installation.

  • Choose Disk Utility from the Utilities menu.

  • Select your internal Mac OS X disk that you want to restore to.

  • Click the Restore tab.

  • Drag your internal disk to the "Destination:" field.

  • Click the "Image…" button next to the "Source:" field.

  • Navigate to the location of the backup image you want to restore (located on your external disk).

  • Click "Open" to continue.

  • Click the "Restore" button. Confirm you want to "Restore to Disk" by clicking "Restore" again. This will replace data on your Mac OS X volume with data from your backup that has the same name and is in the same location.

  • Enter your admin name and password when prompted.

The time it takes to restore from the image depends on factors such as the amount of data on your backup disk image.