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Why is my utilities folder empty?!
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: March 07, 2024 08:27AM
For the sake of troubleshooting bizarre behavior of apps including J. River Media Center in my Mac Mini M1, I used the legacy mode of Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my internal disk to a bootable external Plugable Thunderbolt drive. I then reinstalled Ventura on the M1's internal drive, and updated it to Sonoma.

When I booted from the Plugable external drive (after Recovery Mode made me reinstall the system onto it), the Applications folder on my M1's internal drive was empty!

When I booted back into the M1's drive, the M1's Applications folder was now fine, but the external Plugable's Utilities folder was empty!

While booted into the M1's drive, although I have read/write privileges on the Plugable's Utilities folder, an attempt to copy the M1's Utilities folder contents to the Plugable's failed; I ended up with aliases, rather than apps, in the Plugable's Utilities folder.

I tried booting into the internal drive as Root, but the results are the same.

What in the name of Steve Jobs is going on here?
How can I get the Utilities folder back on the external drive?
Is this all some sort of bizarre consequence of using APFS?
Should I reinstall as HFS+ to maintain my sanity?
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Re: Why is my utilities folder empty?!
Posted by: gabester
Date: March 07, 2024 08:34AM
Do not reinstall HFS+ that would be a regression and has less and less support every year.

It sounds like you were using Ventura and Sonoma; macOS since Big Sur use the Signed System Volume which is effectively a disk image that cannot be altered; that is where most of the built-in applications like TextEdit and /Utilities/Disk Utility live - actually under the path /System/Applications/ - which depending on the settings you used with Carbon Copy Cloner you may not have copied at all.

More information on the SSV here: [support.apple.com]

Did you have 3rd party apps installed that were in /Applications/Utilities that you were expecting to find? Or are you just trying to use the old version of, say, Disk Utility?

Quote
S. Pupp
I miss the olden days, when I could clone the internal drive to the backup drive, and boot back and forth without my apps vanishing from the non-startup drive.

Me too - but think about what an "evil maid" security nightmare such capability presents. Apple's pitching their solutions as best in class for privacy and security... so the convenience that used to make using and managing Macs a joy has gone out the window in the name of those two paragons.



g=



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/07/2024 08:53AM by gabester.
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Re: Why is my utilities folder empty?!
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: March 07, 2024 08:46AM
I think you're right that SSV may be the issue.

I miss the olden days, when I could clone the internal drive to the backup drive, and boot back and forth without my apps vanishing from the non-startup drive.

I want to access the third party apps in the /Applications folder on both drives while booted into each drive, as part of the diagnostic process for my issues (one of which is the menu bar sliding out of view and disappearing in J River Media Center, resulting in the inability to properly use that software).
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