Here is what I did. I removed the hard drive from the Macbook and replaced it with the 1 TB external hard drive that we had been trying to clone/copy/back-up... I turned the Macbook on and was greeted by a grey folder with a question mark, then a few seconds later, the Macbook booted up. That is flat out strange. I could not boot from the HD when it was externally (USB) connected, but as soon as I placed it internally it worked perfectly. So, now I guess I will purchase an expensive 250 GB or less internal HD and clone it (even though it will not boot externally) and then swap out the hard drives one last time. Thank you for your help through this arduous process.
Question for you. Once I have a new hard drive cloned, and I then put the original hard drive back inside the Macbook how would I securely wipe the hard drive clean without disrupting the OS ?
Thank you for your patience and help.
There are some (not many, but some) models of external drives that come in enclosures that are not capable of booting Mac computers. The drive can boot the Mac when used as an internal drive, but certain enclosures have firmware that is not compatible with Mac OS booting. What was the model/make of the external drive? Make sure the one you purchase for cloning to is capable of booting the Mac.
If you look at the online Discussions for SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner you will find lists of exernal hard drives that seem to not be capable of booting Macs.