Thanks to SuperDuper!
Last weekend, the hard drive of my TiBook started showing signs of imminent death. The symptoms were intermittent loud whining and clicking (with repeating patterns you're not supposed to hear), and applications hanging for some time when trying to access the disk.
Fortunately, these symptoms appeared right after I finished running a backup of my whole data partition (I keep my main users and third party applications on a separate partition that I backup regularly, using SuperDuper!, to a disk image on an external disk).
I wasn't quite surprised to see this disk die, because it was a refurbished disk that I got as replacement from AppleCare. So I knew it wouldn't last more than a year or two. But since the disk was nice enough to warn me before it died, I rebooted the TiBook from an external FW disk and made an image of its system partition using SuperDuper! Then I started deleting securely my data partition and the disk froze definitively in the middle of it.
Not a problem, since it was all backed up, by then. But the TiBook is the machine where my main user is. That is all my mail is on it, along with recent bookmarks, and things like that. So if it was not a big problem, it was still an annoyance. But thanks to SuperDuper!, not for long.
I restored the TiBook's data partition to an empty partition of another external disk of my QuickSilver (it often comes very handy to have a couple of 10GB empty partitions available!), created a new user on the QuickSilver, changed its uid and gid to match those of my user on the TiBook, set its home directory to the copy of my user's home on the external disk, logged in, et voilà. My TiBook user was up and running on the QuickSilver!
Yesterday I received a brand new replacement disk, thanks to my company, and again it was really a piece of cake to restore it all using SuperDuper! All I had to do was to update my data partition backup with the changes from the QuickSilver, format the new disk, and have SuperDuper! restore both partitions from the disk images. It took some time, of course, but that was all I had to do. When it was done I rebooted the TiBook from the internal disk and it was just like nothing had happened.
SuperDuper! is really an application that deserves its name. I can't recommend it enough! Oh, and BTW, the version 2.1.3 was just released.