Helios Software GmbH has released HELIOS Xtar for Mac OS X, a free utility that can be used to clone a Mac OS X system disk for backing up and restoring disks, files and folders — all with full HFS (Mac OS Standard) support.
The HFS disk format stores data and meta-data (such as the Finder and Resource info) within one file, standard Unix applications can only see the data part, and the Resource information is lost using standard Unix, according to Helios. The result? Copies will be incomplete and some operations — booting, previewing from EPSF files, applications detecting their own files, etc. — won’t work.
Xtar saves each HFS file as two files in a container format that preserves all special attributes and additional data. During a restore with “Xtar” on an HFS volume, the resource and finder information are restored into valid HFS files containing all information. This means there is no missing data, and the volume is bootable after being restored.
Xtar can be scripted to allow you to: clone a Mac OS X system disk, backup/restore a disk, and backup/restore files and folders. It also allows for the duplication of Mac OS X HFS bootable disks.