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An external Fire Wire or USB drive can also be used for the clone.
Because I keep project files documents, music, photos, project folders on third and fourth hard drives, the swap and get-back-to-work process is pretty seamless in my professional work flow.
If our user account is corrupted (problem clears in Spare User), the first thing to consider is a damaged preference file in our normal user account.
One workflow technique is to have previously backed up our Preferences folder.
But BEWARE of 3rd-party disk utilities, especially running Norton Utilities on OS X disks because Norton is not compatible with them (search GOOGLE for the OSX-Norton issues).
In the case the Mac OS has been badly fragmented but is still healthy and functioning proper I would opt to CLONE it to another harddrive, and either swap the Cloned disk back, or Erase the fragmented drive and Clone it back in an unfragged state (keeping the other drive as a backup).
Then we simply start swapping the suspect preferences with our back ups.
Another troubleshooting technique is to drag our user entire Preferences folder out of the our user Library and onto the Desktop. If the problem has cleared, one of the old Preferences is bad (we can continue replacing the new with the until the problem returns and nails the bad preference file).
In a few more seconds, the Unix command line prompt ending in (:/ root#).
If Apple's REPAIR DISK and FSCK-Y cannot repair the problem, we need to try third-party DISK UTILITIES like Disk Warrior
You may attempt to load the latest Dev Alpha B update onto your Dev Alpha A, however the Dev Alpha A is no longer officially supported as of 10.1.0.1485.