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How to replace hard drive without losing data?

1835 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Aug 14, 2012 11:12 AM by DM Ward RSS
DM Ward Calculating status...
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Aug 3, 2012 9:14 AM

I found the following sequence in a review on Amazon to replace existing 750GB hardrive with a Crucial, 520GB SSD (Solid State Drive).  Will these steps listed in the review actually CLONE my existing hard drive?  Will I be able to use all my applications in Mac OSX and Windows [via Parallels] the moment I finish the data transfer and the actual hardware swap WITHOUT a hickup?  Not having to reload apps and what not?



I originally intended to just swap drives and boot up w/ the OSX DVD and restore from TimeMachine. I re-thought that and here is what worked well for me:

I have Lion installed. Not sure if the Recovery option was introduced before Lion or not [...]

1. make a backup of your existing drive (TimeMachine or whatever)

2. shutdown your laptop

3. get an external 2.5" usb 2.0 drive enclosure - since I didn't plan for it I got one at a local electronics store for $10. You might find one cheaper here.

4. put the SSD into the enclosure and attach via USB

5. Power on your laptop and hold down Command-R during start up -- you will get booted into Recovery mode

6. Select the Disk Utility option

7. In Disk Utility you should see both your original drive and the new SSD

8. Select the original drive and click the Restore tab

9. Drag the original drive to the Source and the SSD to the Destination -- there are instructions on the window -- this is going to make a duplicate copy of the drive. Click the Restore button and sit back and wait.

10. when the copy/restore is complete power down.

11. replace the old drive w/ the new one [...] she uses the proper torx driver to remove the mounting studs from the old drive. i just used a small pair of pliers and a 0.5 allen wrench since I didn't have the correct size torx bit)

I went ahead and put my old drive in the external drive enclosure so now I have an extra backup drive.

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion, Swap existing HD 750GB to 520GB SSD
  • Austin Kinsella1 Level 6 Level 6 (11,505 points)
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    Aug 3, 2012 9:25 AM (in response to DM Ward)

    No-one can guarantee WITHOUT a hickup However, the sequence looks reasonable, and should work OK. Note that if it doesn't, you can swap the disks around again and still have your present system. Also, if I were doing it, after step 10 I would restart with the option key held down. This will allow you to select a startup disk, so choose the SSD and verify that everything is working OK - it might be a bit slow, as it is on the USB connection. When happy, shut down and continue at step 11.

  • Austin Kinsella1 Level 6 Level 6 (11,505 points)
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    Aug 3, 2012 2:03 PM (in response to DM Ward)

    Yes, interested in hearing the follow-up.

  • Austin Kinsella1 Level 6 Level 6 (11,505 points)
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    Aug 5, 2012 3:12 AM (in response to DM Ward)

    I hope it goes well. I'm thinking of using the Optibay myself, keeping the original HD and adding a 750GB 7200rpm in the dvd slot. SSD is still a bit pricy for my pocket!

  • Austin Kinsella1 Level 6 Level 6 (11,505 points)
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    Aug 7, 2012 4:16 PM (in response to DM Ward)

    1) Basically, a clone is a just bootable backup.


    2) No, Time Machine doesn't make a bootable copy, and is intended to be used continuously, so that you can step back to yesterday or last week or last month, if needed. But if you have a bootable clone, that is all the backup you need.


    3) Yes. I use Carbon Copy Cloner, which in its latest version knows about recovery partitions. Note that it is partitions rather than entire drives that get cloned. My internal disk has two partitions, as does my external backup. I clone each of the internal partitions to their corresponding external separately.


    4) Not a clue! Except that USB is not particularly fast. CCC's website has some indicative figures.


    If you have 4 assorted MBPs, maybe you should be looking at some sort of common networked backup eg Time Capsule.


    Have fun playing!

  • Austin Kinsella1 Level 6 Level 6 (11,505 points)
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    Aug 8, 2012 2:54 AM (in response to DM Ward)

    For each partition that you want to back up, you should have a partition of about the same size to back up to. I went for two partitions a few years ago as my backup disks were smaller than my new internal disk. Now my backup is the same size, but I have retained the two partitions from laziness. There are physical limits on the size of a partition, but I don't think they are a real concern except for the likes of data centres.

  • Austin Kinsella1 Level 6 Level 6 (11,505 points)
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    Aug 9, 2012 2:53 AM (in response to DM Ward)

    I think you should be able to format it with disk utility. Use the same format that is on the other SSD. Once formatted, CCC should see it.


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