Problem cloning & booting with Firewire 800


I’m a new owner of a Drobo S and have a few questions regarding cloning my computer’s hard drive and then booting from the Drobo S.

The Drobo S is set up as follows:

3 Western Digital WD10EARS - 1TB Caviar Green SATA Intellipower 64 MB Cache

3 partitions / formatted first with Drobo Dashboard HFS+ / Partitioned with OSX Disk Utility / Mac OS Extended (Journaled) / GUID Partition Table


1 - Full Backup 300GB
2 - Time Machine 600GB
3 - Data 900GB+

My computer is as follows:

MacBook Pro 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo (late 2006) / 3 GB Ram / OSX 10.6.3

I have had varying degrees of success in my attempts to create bootable backups of my MacBook Pro HD in the Full Backup partition on the Drobo. These attempts were made using both SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner via firewire 800. Sometimes the backup complete fine, sometimes they would quit before completion due to an error.

When attempting to boot from the Drobo via firewire 800, I see the drive, select it, and then nothing happens. I figured I’d try to boot using a USB cable with a clone created by Carbon Copy Cloner and it booted fine.

My question…

I feel I should be able to backup and boot using firewire as I used to to with my old LaCie drive. Performance is so much better for accessing my data and I don’t want to have to remember to change cables every evening in order to get a good updated clone overnight.

I’ve checked the Drobo site as well as the SuperDuper! and Carbon Copy Cloner sites looking for mention of the problem I have been experiencing with no success.

I’m concern that I may have a bad Drobo.

Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.



The bootable backup on a Drobo storage device is meant to be used in emergency situations where you cannot access your main internal hard drive. We do not recommend this as a permanent solution since Drobo Dashboard will launch but does not display the Drobo device or volume information correctly in this configuration. Therefore, even though you can use your Drobo product in this way, Data Robotics does not offer technical support for setting this up or problems you might encounter with the bootable volume.

I understand a bootable backup is for use in emergency situations. I would like to be assured the backup created and updated nightly will be usable if and when it is needed.

I am also aware that Drobo does not offer support for bootable volumes. Having said that, Drobo Technical Support does list Bombich Software Carbon Copy Cloner as a program that is suitable for use with Drobo devices. Carbon Copy Cloner creates bootable clones. This is one reason I purchased a Drobo.

My concern is that if Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! cannot create a usable backup via firewire, how can I be sure that any data moved via firewire to or from my Drobo is done so without error?

Why would the above referenced programs work fine over USB, but not firewire? Could there be something wrong with the firewire port on my Drobo? Is there a test that can be run to check the accuracy of data stored on my Drobo?

Thank you for your help with this…


Do you have any issues copying data to and from your Drobo via FW?

That is the only thing we will test in regards to your FW port.

Why do you say Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper do not create usable backups via FW? Is that on their website?

[quote=“Jennifer, post:4, topic:1276”]

Do you have any issues copying data to and from your Drobo via FW?

That is the only thing we will test in regards to your FW port.[/QUOTE]

I say that because on my system neither Carbon Copy Cloner nor SuperDuper can successfully create bootable clones on the Drobo when it’s connected to my laptop via firewire.

There is no problem at all when the Drobo is connected to my laptop via USB. When connected via USB there are no errors when creating or updating clones or booting from the cloned drive.

I have used SuperDuper for years with two LACie drives connected via firewire with no issues at all.

Come to think of it, when I first setup my Drobo I daisychained one of the old drive onto the Drobo via firewire in order to copy files to the Drobo. The Drobo would spontaneously reboot, so I connected the old drive to my computer via USB and the problem did not recur. I’m thinking there may be a problem with the firewire ports on this Drobo.

I would be willing to perform any test you have to offer.


Then please open a support case.

Okay, I will. Thank you…