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Add or replace my hard drive?

3932 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Jul 16, 2010 8:41 AM by mhollis RSS
Dogs \'n Front Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 10, 2010 7:27 PM
My hard drive on my Mac Pro is running low (around 55GB left). That sounds like a lot but I recently went to Europe for three weeks and took close to 1,500 pictures! There in large format so clearly they will take up A TON of space. I don't plan to keep ALL of them but I need he space in order to sort through them to see which ones I want to keep. So, I was thinking of buying an additional internal hard drive to install.

My questions are these: First, if I buy an additional hard drive to install, I want to match the one that is already inside my Mac Pro. Second, the thought of replacing my current hard drive with one bigger occurred to me but how would I transfer all that files, pictures, videos, etc over to the new hard drive?? I'm thinking it will be simpler to just buy a second internal drive. I just want to match the one that's in there EXACTLY so that I'm basically doubling my drive capacity.
Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • Scott Billings Level 4 Level 4 (1,655 points)
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    Jul 11, 2010 5:30 AM (in response to Dogs \'n Front)
    I don't understand why you want to get a drive that is the same capacity as the current one? Why not go bigger? Now would be the time to get one of those 2TB drives that are going pretty cheap. Keep the smaller drive for the OS and maybe apps, and the second drive is for everything else. Photos, things you download, iTunes music, etc. I don't understand why you want to impose this artificial limitation on yourself.
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,180 points)
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    Jul 11, 2010 10:00 AM (in response to Scott Billings)
    Your Mac will be happy to mount as many drives as you can attach, internally and externally. Each one will get a distinct Icon on the desktop.

    I agree with Scott that you want to get your Users files onto a different drive, leaving the System, Applications, and Library folder on your current drive. I am working on a step-by-step procedure to do that without using Terminal, so when you are ready to go, ask for that procedure.

    There is no need to limit the size of your second drive. If you are contemplating a RAID setup, you need to think Bigger. Buy Two drives, each much bigger than your current drive. Prices of Hard Drives are really, really cheap and are still falling.

    Message was edited by: Grant Bennet-Alder
    Beige G3, G4/867, G4/dual 1.25 MDD, MacPro'09, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, and 9.2, 10.5 and Server - LW IIg, LW 4/600, ATalk ImageWriter LQ
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,180 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 11, 2010 10:08 AM (in response to Grant Bennet-Alder)
    Moving the Users folder to a new drive (without resorting to Terminal) as suggested by Niel:

    0) Make sure you have a Backup of everything for each user_name in the Users folder.

    1) Make sure the new Drive is Mounted (visible on the Desktop).

    2) Log into an Administrator account and create a new Users folder at the top-level of the new Drive. You can call it Users or New_Users or anything you like.

    3) Log in from each Account (to assure that files will have proper ownership). Drag a copy of that Account's home folder (the folder with each user's user_name) over to the New_Users folder on the new Drive.

    4) Check that the new and original folders have about the same amount of stuff in them. If the new one is a lot smaller, figure out what did not get copied over.

    5) There are two cases depending on which version of Mac OS X you are running:

    for 10.5 and newer:

    a) Log in to an Administrator account
    b) Open System Preferences > Accounts
    c) Control-click each account to select "Advanced Options"
    d) In the "Home Directory" field, replace "/Users/user_name" with the new location, e.g.

    for 10.4.11 and earlier:

    a) Log in to an Administrator account and open NetInfo Manager \[it's in the Utilities folder].
    b) select users in the center column.
    c) select the user_name you want to update; the display will scroll and the fields for that user will appear in the bottom pane. If all fields are dimmed, you must click the lock Icon and enter an Administrator's name and password.
    d) scroll through the list of fields to find the "home" field.
    e) click on the "home" field data and replace "/Users/user_name" with the new location, e.g.

    \[NOTE: In each case, you must precede the name of your New_Users folder with "/Volumes" and your New_Drive name, because that directory is not on the default Volume.]

    6) Test to be sure you are correctly referencing the new files, by creating a new folder or modifying something you commonly use. Check modification dates and be sure you ARE changing the correct versions of things, and ARE NOT changing the old versions

    Wait a few days. For each and every user, check that the files inside the original user_name folder remain unmodified, and the user-name folder on the new drive seems to be taking all the changes without issue. For each user, once you are satisfied that only the version in the New_Users folder is being used, you can delete the user_name folder in the original Users folder, freeing up space on your Boot drive.

    NOTE: The original /Users folder is a "magic" folder, and even when emptied, should simply remain in place. Remember that any NEW Accounts you add will create their Home Directory in this folder and may need to be moved to the new Volume in a similar fashion.

    NOTE: Some users suggest that the original "owner" Admin be left in the original Users folder if it is NOT used as an active user_name on a daily basis. This has the advantage of allowing repairs on the New_Drive to proceed while logged on the the original "owner" Admin user_name.
    Beige G3, G4/867, G4/dual 1.25 MDD, MacPro'09, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, and 9.2, 10.5 and Server - LW IIg, LW 4/600, ATalk ImageWriter LQ
  • mhollis Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 12, 2010 1:45 PM (in response to Dogs \'n Front)
    OK, Dogs, you got more than you bargained for and I certainly learned something in the replies below your original post.

    But here are a few thoughts about hard drives:

    Your Mac Pro can hold four of them. And, since they're the cheapest type of SATA drive anyone sells (bare SATA drive, no case, no fan, no power supply) and they just plug into your Mac, it's time to think strategy.

    Your boot drive can just contain your OS and your applications. Now that can be cloned by using Carbon Copy Cloner ( so that you can always boot with a drive that is set up as your last known good setup. Install something new? Computer gets wonky? De-install it by choosing the clone to boot from and then clone it back. Drive goes bad? You're set with your cloned drive.

    Put your Users and Data on another drive, as elegantly described above (this is where i have truly learned something new). So you have one drive for your OS and Applications. That's cloned, so there are two drives. Then you have your Users and Data on a third drive. Now, get a 2TB drive as your Time Machine drive on your Mac Pro and you have filled all of your drive slots. Tell Time Machine to not backup your clone drive. And you have everything backed up for safety with a computer that has no larger footprint than it had when you first asked this question on July 10th.

    Go to and search for your drives. It's a whole new world of backed up data and you'll always be able to restore anything you need.

    Running your Mac safely?
    Mac Pro Cheese Grater with double the cheese, Mac OS X (10.5.8), iPhone 1.12
  • Suggsy Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2010 7:16 AM (in response to Grant Bennet-Alder)
    Is the performance boost worth all the hassle and risk of this procedure I wonder??
    MacProQuad2.6 4gbRam, Mac OS X (10.4.8)
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,600 points)
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    Jul 13, 2010 7:53 AM (in response to Suggsy)
    I find it... (fill in blank) when someone asks for ideas and then.... disappears forever.

    Seemed though that a book-manual-reference so they could use and understand hard drives, storage, Mac Pro expansion was in order.

    In my mind, no one should be without and not know how to clone, backup, image, a system or data, and two sets for every drive as a minimum.

    55GB is very very low on space, fragmented it would be even worse, and affect things like ability to burn DVDs as well as general performance.

    Another "must" - an emergency boot drive and copy of Alsoft Disk Warrior.

    1.5TB $89 makes backups and storage and keeping the originals a no-brainer.
    WD Green WD15EARS 1.5TB I have one of these in 3 computers for archive purposes.

    Set aside 30GB for that "eDrive" and you are set.

    The PDF that comes with SuperDuper is worth reading. A program that will save your bacon and help when needed keep your system running and can help restore (a good idea twice a year: reformat your system drive).

    A great little drive that just doubled in capacity for system drive
    WD VelociRaptor WD6000HLHX 600GB 10K $279 or its smaller older sibling the 150 or 300GB for $139 or $189. I use these for their solid, fast performance and cold temp,

    while I've never been found of all the 7.2K WD Black etc (but have couple dozen for backup, spares, storage) WD Black Caviar 1TB $99

    There is no reason to be "counting pennies" when 1000GB is under $100, that makes 55GB = $5.50 or less.


    Alsoft Disk Warrior

    Carbon Copy Cloner

    All of these have Help, guides, manuals, tutorials and forums.
    Mac Pro 8800GT 10.6.4 /, Windows 7, Core i7 3.2GHz / GTX 260 / 10K VelociRaptors
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,180 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2010 10:09 AM (in response to Suggsy)
    That procedure is long, but each step is simple and there are no "type this wrong and you are dead meat" steps. It avoids having to type arcane commands into Terminal and the impersonate the "SuperUser". It is all done with familiar tools and everything is completely reversible.

    The benefits of having lots of extra room on the boot drive are:
    1) your Mac will speed up again.
    2) Growth in size of user files will no longer slow down your System, or put it risk for crashing.
    3) your User files (which can never be re-created perfectly from scratch) will be easier to back up and restore.
    4) your System (which can be re-created from DVDs in two hours, or from a separate drive in a quarter hour) can be handled separately from your User files. A system Update gone Bad does not put your User files at risk if you need to erase and install.
    5) replacing a drive is much easier. It is either the System files or the User files, but not both.
    Beige G3, G4/867, G4/dual 1.25 MDD, MacPro'09, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, and 9.2, 10.5 and Server - LW IIg, LW 4/600, ATalk ImageWriter LQ
  • mhollis Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 16, 2010 8:41 AM (in response to Grant Bennet-Alder)
    Oh, and did we mention that you should create a User with Administrator privileges on your computer that gives you a "clean" User space? Only log onto that User to test or fix something.

    So if Microsoft Word gets weird on you or you cannot open iMovie for some reason, switch into the "clean" user and test there.
    Mac Pro Cheese Grater with double the cheese, Mac OS X (10.5.8), iPhone 1.12


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