How to Copy OS X Boot Camp Partitions

Written by mark pool
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How to Copy OS X Boot Camp Partitions
(Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Apple's Boot Camp program lets you install Windows on your Mac. The Boot Camp Assistant sets up a separate partition on your hard drive for Windows, and configures the system for dual-boot. This means you can either start up and use Mac OS X, or press the "option" key to start Windows. Boot Camp supports Windows XP SP2, Vista and 7. Unfortunately, backup programs like Time Machine, Superduper and Carbon Copy Cloner don't work with Boot Camp partitions. You can use Windows native programs to backup from inside Windows, or clone the drive from within OS X using a Unix copy utility called "dd."

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Plug in an external hard drive to copy the Boot Camp partition. Make sure the drive contains an empty partition of equal or larger size.

  2. 2

    Open the "Utilities" folder inside the "Applications" folder, then run "Terminal."

  3. 3

    Type the following command and then press "Enter":

    diskutil list

    This displays a partition table with four columns. Locate the "Boot Camp" partition, and make a note of its identifier. This will be similar to "disk0s3." Make a note of the identifier of the external drive partition.

  4. 4

    Type the following command to unmount the Boot Camp partition:

    diskutil unmount /dev/disk0s3

    Replace "disk0s3" with your Boot Camp partition identifier.

  5. 5

    Type the following command to unmount the external backup drive partition:

    diskutil unmount /dev/disk1s1

    Replace "disk1s1" with your external drive partition identifier.

  6. 6

    Type the following command to clone the Boot Camp partition to the external drive:

    sudo dd if=/dev/disk0s3 of=/dev/disk1s1 bs=1024

    Replace "disk0s3" with your Boot Camp partition identifier, and "disk1s1" with the external drive partition identifier.

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