9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 20, 2013 11:34 PM by NotAppleSupportGuy
NotAppleSupportGuy Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

I wish to install an SSD as my OS drive. I seem to recall in my travels that it is possible to copy my existing OSD, install the SSD, Copy old drive info' to new drive and then set that to be the boot drive.


Any directions to where I can find out how to do this would be greatly apprecciated. Providing this can be done.

OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3)
  • Kappy Level 10 Level 10 (260,535 points)

    How to replace or upgrade a drive in a laptop


    Step One: Repair the Hard Drive and Permissions


    Boot from your OS X Installer disc. After the installer loads select your language and click on the Continue button. When the menu bar appears select Disk Utility from the Installer menu (Utilities menu for Tiger, Leopard or Snow Leopard.) After DU loads select your hard drive entry (mfgr.'s ID and drive size) from the the left side list.  In the DU status area you will see an entry for the S.M.A.R.T. status of the hard drive.  If it does not say "Verified" then the hard drive is failing or failed. (SMART status is not reported on external Firewire or USB drives.) If the drive is "Verified" then select your OS X volume from the list on the left (sub-entry below the drive entry,) click on the First Aid tab, then click on the Repair Disk button. If DU reports any errors that have been fixed, then re-run Repair Disk until no errors are reported. If no errors are reported click on the Repair Permissions button. Wait until the operation completes, then quit DU and return to the installer.


    If DU reports errors it cannot fix, then you will need Disk Warrior and/or Tech Tool Pro to repair the drive. If you don't have either of them or if neither of them can fix the drive, then you will need to reformat the drive and reinstall OS X.


    Step Two: Remove the old drive and install the new drive.  Place the old drive in an external USB enclosure.  You can buy one at OWC who is also a good vendor for drives.


    Step Three: Boot from the external drive.  Restart the computer and after the chime press and hold down the OPTION key until the boot manager appears.  Select the icon for the external drive then click on the downward pointing arrow button.


    Step Four: New Hard Drive Preparation


      1. Open Disk Utility in your Utilities folder.


      2. After DU loads select your new hard drive (this is the entry with the

          mfgr.'s ID and size) from the left side list. Note the SMART status of

          the drive in DU's status area.  If it does not say "Verified" then the drive

          is failing or has failed and will need replacing.  Otherwise, click on the

          Partition tab in the DU main window.


      3. Under the Volume Scheme heading set the number of partitions from

          the drop down menu to one. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended

          (Journaled.) Click on the Options button, set the partition scheme to

          GUID  then click on the OK button. Click on the Partition button and

          wait until the process has completed.


      4. Select the volume you just created (this is the sub-entry under the

          drive entry) from the left side list. Click on the Erase tab in the DU main



      5. Set the format type to Mac OS Extended (Journaled.) Click on the

          Options button, check the button for Zero Data and click on OK to

          return to the Erase window.


      6. Click on the Erase button. The format process can take up to several

          hours depending upon the drive size.


    Step Five: Clone the old drive to the new drive


      1. Open Disk Utility from the Utilities folder.

      2. Select the destination volume from the left side list.

      3. Click on the Restore tab in the DU main window.

      4. Check the box labeled Erase destination.

      5. Select the destination volume from the left side list and drag it to the

          Destination entry field.

      6. Select the source volume from the left side list and drag it to the

          Source entry field.

      7. Double-check you got it right, then click on the Restore button.


    Destination means the new internal drive. Source means the old external drive.


    Step Six: Open the Startup Disk preferences and select the new internal volume.  Click on the Restart button.  You should boot from the new drive.  Eject the external drive and disconnect it from the computer.


    In a Mac Pro you can simplify some of the above steps if you have a spare drive to use that's installed in the computer rather than using a separate external drive.


    To do the above I assume the SSD has sufficient space to accommodate the entire disk space used on the HDD. If that's not the case then you need a different strategy. Let me know.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)


    Disk utility has RESTORE which will also clone your system but not the Lion Recovery partition. Oddly  Apple did not 'endorse' making bootable clone of the system which works too but most choose Carbon Copy Cloner - it works more consistently; it allows for smart update of the backup volume. Both can backup to a sparse disk image if desired.


    Using Cloning as a Backup Strategy


    Create an OS X Lion Install disc

    http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13727_7-20080989-263/how-to-create-an-os-x-lion-ins tallation-disc


    How to clone your system:




    http://www.macperformanceguide.com/blog/2012/20120711_2-MacPro-internal-clone-ba ckup.html



    Just clone and go. CCC will also put the Lion/ML Recovery partition on new drive as well.


    Just put Samsung 840 in mine, love how well and fast a difference, more so than 2-3 yr old SSD technology I was using.

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (53,550 points)

    Finder cannot reliably copy a System Drive, because there are invisible files (not enclosed in another folder) that it cannot copy.


    Disk Utility "Restore" function can copy drive-to-drive.


    CarbonCopyCloner and SuperDuper! are the most common cheapware Utilities for copying and copy-Backup (including incremental backup).




    In a Mac Pro 65lb tower with multiple drives, a substantial overall speedup can be obtained by having a separate Boot Drive containing only System, Library, Applications, and the hidden unix files including Paging/Swap. User files are moved off to another drive. There are some variants and subtleties to this.




    Cloning onto an SSD is one of the most stressful operations it ever performs. The unrelenting writes of a cloning operation have been know to make an SSD drive unusable. (Despite the fact that many can say, "I did that and had no issues.)


    The problem is that garbage collection without TRIM Enabler (or equivalent) is not adequate during Cloning, as the drive has no spare time to garbage collect. TRIM Enabler is a good idea anyway, and can make your drive last longer. Wikipedia has a good article on TRIM.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)

    Which means, before you clone, install TRIM Enabler!


    And after you clone, run Disk Utility's REPAIR DISK on the SSD -- just to be on the safest side.




    - and, image the SSD when you know it is working and has any essential and Apple updates and keep that handy - a sparse disk image is fine way to keep 100GB image, so too have a bootable image but on a standard hard drive also to boot from, and you can have that anywhere, even take a slice (partition) out of your 2-3TB backup TimeMachine drive(s).

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)

    TRIM SSD and GC

    The SATA 3.1 specifications Queued Trim Command - allows SATA SSDs to execute Trim without impacting normal operation...


    Wikipedia SSD:

    "includes support for the TRIM command to reduce garbage collection for data which the operating system has already determined is no longer valid. Without support for TRIM, the SSD would be unaware of this data being invalid and would unnecessarily continue to rewrite it during garbage collection causing further wear on the SSD."




    MacRumors post:

    Garbage Collection (GC) is the process of relocating existing data, deleting stale data, and creating empty blocks for new data

    All SSDs will have some form of GC – it is not an optional feature
    NAND flash cannot directly overwrite a page with data; it has to be first erased
    One full block of pages has to be erased, not just one page
    GC starts after each page has been written one time
    Valid data is consolidated and written into new blocks
    Invalid (replaced) data is ignored and gets erased
    Wear leveling mainly occurs during GC

    The OS tracks what files are present and what logical blocks are holding the files
    SSDs do not understand the file structure of an OS; they only track valid data locations reported by the OS
    When the OS deletes a file, it marks the file’s space in its logical table as free - It does not tell the drive anything
    When the OS writes a new file to the drive, it will eventually write to the previously used spaces in the table
    An SSD only knows data is no longer needed when the OS tells it to write to an address that already contains data

    How Trim Works -
    The OS sends a TRIM command at the point of file deletion
    The SSD marks the indicated locations as invalid data
    TRIM Features:
    ► Prevents GC on invalid data
    ► Increases the free space known to the SSD controller
    TRIM Benefits:
    ► Higher throughput – Faster host write speeds because less time writing for GC
    ► Improved endurance – Reduced writes to the flash

    Lower write amplification – Less data rewritten and more free space is available • TRIM does not generally work behind a RAID environment


    2009 SSD Anandtech good tutorial - http://www.anandtech.com/show/2738/5

    keeping 15-20% free will help (or figure how much you write to the drive in a month) seems if you get to 90% full can result in problems. Whether Durawrite or any other controller and firmware.

    MacBook Air and Pro SSD 2012





    Trim Enabler issues

    Jul 30th

    Posted by Cindori in Uncategorized


    For some people who are getting “Trim is enabled, but not working” message under 10.7.4 or Mountain Lion, I am working on a fix, it doesnt seem to be anything else then a hiccup that occurs for a few users with the slider element. Will probably release an update next week or so.

  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (60,880 points)

    TRIM Part 2



    Trim on SSD Drives


    When I first wrote this article/thread, which was for my own benefit and was eventually turned into this thread, as it is today, trim was not available on ssd drives, when it did arrive, there were mixed idea’s on how it worked, a lot that was incorrect at the time, a lot of new users do not understand the use of Trim even today, explanations tend to very technical as trim is a complicated issue at the best of times. I found a simple explanation for the implementation of trim in late 2009, I came across it again the other day, it still holds true today so here’s the link, ( I know you are going to point me to AnandTech explanations, there are links in this thread, if your a technically minded person, then AnandTech’s articles may be a better option ) this simpler explanation is still active in late 2011. As you can see if you carry on reading and don’t turn off, how complicated it can be for a non-technical user of ssd drives. So here’s my explanation of trim. Remember this a generalization of most ssd drives, it’s a lot easier when your dealing with your own ssd drive.


    Trim and it’s association with GC ( garbage collection ) varies depending on how the controller’s "GC" handles the use of Trim ( Win7 ). Trim is activated, by deleting files in the OS ( Win7 ), it doesn’t actually trim the ssd drive, but marks the block/file header’s with a 1 making that block/file available for being re-written or written over. Trimming is actually done by the GC and will only work if the block doesn’t contain other files that haven’t been marked deleted, but this again depends on how GC is implemented, the GC can wait till the block is full, then move undeleted files to another block allowing for the block to be trimmed ( GC ), in doing this, the GC uses a lot more write amplification than it does if Trim in win7 has previously marked these blocks/files for deletion, flash memory can only be ‘written over’ if all the information in that block as been marked with 1, this allows the whole block to be re-written. GC can only erase/Trim a full block, not individual files or pages.


    What trim does is mark these blocks/files etc and make it simpler for the inbuilt GC ( garbage collection ) to recognize the blocks that are available for further use, on some controller’s this will not necessarily happen immediately, it depends on whether the controller as been designed for “idle” use, “on the fly” use or “stand by use”, GC/Trim can be brought into use in many different ways, having the computer sitting with the bios open, having the computer idling at log in, placing the computer in stand by mode, deleting files or just simple idling the computer overnight. It’s a matter of finding out how the controller in your particular ssd handles the garbage collection. You will find the most efficient way is by experimentation or by other members passing on there particular way of doing it.


    Low level formatting used on conventional HDD drives writes mainly 0’s to every cell on a SSD drive, it’s the opposite to how flash memory actually works, if you low level format with Win7 or any software that writes 0’s or 0’s and 1’s to the individual cells, you are not necessarily cleaning the ssd drive completely, ( hence the need for secure erase software ), you can actually make the performance worse.


    If you use software designed for writing 1’s to each cell, like you would if it was designed for ssd drives, this will “clean” the drive and is a good thing to do if you are selling the drive, or as a last resort, if you are having problems with your ssd drive. The downside of using this type of erasure, is that it not only takes a long time it uses high write amplification and if used regularly can reduce the flash cells life expectancy considerably, these type’s of deletions bypass most controllers durawrite capabilities ( the way controllers extend the life expectancy of the ssd’s individual MLC cells ), Durawrite ( Sandforce ), other controllers have this technology in some form or other, it increases MLC life expectancy by between 5 and up to 30 times depending on the design of the controller.


    Basically a command line program like dispart and dispar will secure erase a ssd drive either by writing to the individual ( “Cleanall“ command ) cells or simply marking the blocks to be deleted with a 1 ( “Clean” command ), you need to use the latter which takes only seconds and will return the majority of ssd's to a new state, without impacting too much on write amplification.


    That’s how I see the use of GC and Trim in win7 today ( Nov 2011 ). Note! Most ssd software, tool boxes etc use the inbuilt win7 diskpart commands, to make it easier than using the command line. There is a explanation for the use of diskpart and can be found HERE, but NOTE! It’s written with conventional hard drives in mind, not ssd drives.


    In the case of most Toolboxes provided by manufacturer’s, the OCZ Toolbox is a typical example, they are incompatible with Intel’s RST driver, you would need to use Diskpart from the command line. Also Toolboxes will in most cases, not secure erase a ssd with a OS on it or if the ssd drive is in use as the OS drive eg. ( “C:/” partition ). If you want to secure erase an OS drive you need to delete all the partitions on the drive including any hidden partitions, there’s an excellent tutorial on the Intel toolbox on LesT’s website, TheSSDReview here’s the Link.


    You will have to use Diskpart or Diskpar from the Dos prompt, you can’t be in windows with the ssd drive you intend to erase. This is mainly if the toolboxes fail to work and deleting the partitions refuses to solve the problem.


    I’m sure there are exceptions to what I have written and easier ways of explaining trim or secure erasing some types of ssd drives. All I ask is you don’t isolate passages out of context, please read the whole article, before you tell me I’m incorrect. There are a lot of more informative people out there than me on this subject, so I’m open to criticism on the subject. I want to impart only the correct facts on this thread.


    Trim and the IDE issue The Intel IDE drivers after Vista sp2 are fully compatible with the trim command , but for trim to pass through this command, the ssd controller itself has also got to be compatible with IDE mode, eg. Intel drives with the Intel controllers are ( according to Intel ) fully compatible. The Crucial M4 appears not to be, other controllers optimized for AHCI may also not be compatible. I can’t comment on the Intel 510 as I’ve only ever used them in AHCI mode.


    Wearlevelling Here’s an explanation that’s not too complicated, its from StorageSearch.com, here’s the LINK.


    Overprovisioning Also from StorageSearch.com, a simple explanation for the need for overprovisioning, same link as above. This actual link covers a number of technologies used by the ssd controller in ssd drives. Overprovisioning improves write performance, if the ssd is used in a high write situation, increasing the overprovisioning will improve performance and write endurance, in a high read situation, too much can hinder performance, in a os situation the 7% supplied on client drives, in most cases is probably adequate depending on it’s use, if there’s a lot of writing done to the drive daily, reducing the partition size, which will increase overprovisioning, by a small amount may improve performance.



    Trimming SSD Performance Degradation

    Thursday, October 14, 2010


    Todays solid state drives are worlds apart from those of just 3 years ago, however they are not yet perfect.  Performance degradation can still be observed through ‘seasoning’ of the SSD as well as filling it to capacity.  SSD manufacturers have been successful in combating the effects of seasoning but performance degradation when an SSD is filled to capacity seems to be just a bit more difficult.



    Typical testing of most drives, through use of random data, will result in an observable performance drop which may start as soon as the SSD is filled past the 70% mark.  This article will describe the common characteristics of SSDs followed by a simple method to ensure that maximum performance is sustained with the drive.



    Much has been said with respect to performance degradation as a result of the ssd becoming ‘seasoned’ over time.  By ‘seasoned’, we mean that the drive will eventually use up all of its empty blocks of NAND, or memory and, without TRIM, the process of writing to a drive actually becomes that of reading the block of data, understanding that it is invalid, erasing and then writing rather than simply writing to a clean block.  Performance is greater when writing to ‘clean’ memory vice memory which has previously been used and contains invalid data that has not been cleared.  The root cause of degradation is that when a non-TRIM ssd is told to delete data, it actually only marks the area as clear which leaves the invalid data intact and tricks the ssd into believing that the NAND flash is available.

    Data on a SSD cannot simply be over-written as it is done on a hard drive and this gets a bit more complicated when we erase information and the block that it is located on also contains valid information that we don’t want deleted.  The process then becomes read data, recognize the valid information, move it to another clean block, erase the present block and write.  Manufacturers have tried to combat this issue of performance degradation by creating 3 solutions to the problem which are wear leveling, TRIM and ITGC (or Garbage Collection).

    Wear leveling

    Wear leveling is the process of the ssd understanding how many times each cell of memory has been written to and then ensuring that all are all written to evenly.  After all, the life span of the ssd is dependent on the total number of writes that are written to and this has been coined as ‘write endurance’.  Unlike the hard drive which stores information in a static location, the SSD will move information around on a continuous basis without your knowledge to ensure that all cells wear evenly, thus affording a longer lifespan for the ssd.  By also doing this, the drive can ensure that only the valid information is used, leaving blocks to be cleaned up by TRIM or ITGC, again without the knowledge of the user.

    ITGC/GC  (Idle Time Garbage Collection)

    Garbage Collection (GC) is the process by which the SSD recognizes, in idle time, which cells are valid and which are not valid (or deleted) on the drive.  It then clears the blocks of the invalid data to maintain the speed of writing to ‘clean’ pages or blocks during normal operation.  GC was initially shown to be a last resort if TRIM was not available, however, recent releases are showing new methods to be very aggressive and results equal to that of TRIM are being observed.  This is a huge benefit to those using RAID systems where Garbage Collection is accomplished as TRIM is not an option.

    The SSD Review was able to discuss GC and TRIM with Crucial as it pertains to their SATA3 releases as it has been observed that their RealSSD C300 SATA3 drives do not appear to show any performance degradation over extended use.  Crucial confirmed that they had to consider that TRIM would not pass through the present release of SATA3 drivers which helped recognize that very aggressive GC would be necessary for the C300 SATA 3 SSDs success.  The subsequent result was that many forum threads were created by avid users who were questioning whether TRIM was, in fact, working in their SSDs as no performance degradation was seen even in the toughest of test beds.  To dispel a common belief, it is not the Marvell processor of the Crucial RealSSD that prevents TRIM from being passed, but rather, that of the hardware and drivers of SATA3 capable motherboards.  All Crucial SSDs are fully capable of passing TRIM direction to the OS.



    TRIM occurs when the ssd clears blocks of invalid data.  When you delete a file, the operating system will only mark the area of the file as free in order to trick the system into believing the space is available. Invalid data is still present in that location.  Its like ripping out a Table of Contents from a book.  Without this, one would not know what, if anything, is contained on the following pages.  TRIM follows the process of marking the area as free by clearing the invalid data from the drive.  Without this, the process of reading, identifying invalid data, deleting or moving and clearing the block before writing can actually result in performance 4 times slower than it would have normally been as a new drive.

    In recently speaking with Kent Smith, Sr. Director of Product Marketing  for SandForce, he identified that there are many variables outside of the hardware that are responsible for users not seeing the benefits of TRIM, the first of which are drivers at the OS level which have to be working optimally in order for TRIM to function correctly.  Another example occurred with early Windows 7 users testing their newly installed drives and not seeing the benefits of TRIM.  Examination of these complaints revealed that users would have originally made the Windows 7 installation on hardware that did not support TRIM and then cloned to the SSD to which TRIM was supported but would not work because of the original configuration settings.  The same could be said of cloning an OS that originally had AHCI turned off followed by a clone to the SSD where TRIM was not being passed, simply because AHCI has to activated for TRIM to function.


    In our conversation, we breached the topic of SSD capacity to Mr Smith to which he replied, “Are you trying to optimize performance or maximize capacity?” which reminded us that the main purpose of the consumers transition to SSD was to maximize their system performance.  Filling a drive to capacity will hinder TRIM and GC ability which will result in performance degradation. Many drives will start to display performance changes once filled to 70% capacity.  Testing has shown that the user can very simply add to the drive, especially if it is a 7% over provisioned drive, by reducing the size of the partition, the new unallocated space of which will automatically be picked up as over provisioning and benefit the SSD in many ways.  This idea has been tackled by Fusion IO who includes a utility within their products that allows the user complete control of the size of their over provisioning.


    OWC 120Gb SSD With 16x8Gb NAND Flash = 128Gb Total (7% OP)

    Over provisioning allows more data to be moved at one time which, not only enhances GC,  but also reduces write amplification to the drive.  Write amplification is a bit tricky of an explanation but it is the measure of how many bytes are actually written when requiring storage of a certain number of bytes.  A ratio of 1:1 would be ideal but not a reality and a typical result would be an actual size of 40kb written for a typical 4kb file.  In short, maximizing over provisioning and reducing write amplification increases the performance and lifespan of the drive.  Over provisioning also provides for remapping of blocks should the bad blocks be discovered during wear leveling, which unlike a hard drive, does not reduce the end user capacity of the drive. The replaced blocks simply come from the over provisioning.

    http://thessdreview.com/ssd-guides/optimization-guides/ssd-performance-loss-and- its-solution/

    1. Reducing the time GC takes
    2. Increasing the amount of freespace available after a GC (which increases the time it takes for performance to degrade after a GC)
    3. It lets the FTL have a wider selection of pages to choose from when it when it need a new page to write to, which means it has a better chance of finding low write count pages, increasing the lifespan of the drive


    Now, I want to be clear, a sufficiently clever GC on a drive that has enough reserved space might be able to do very well on its own, but ultimately what TRIM does is give a drive GC algorithm better information to work with, which of course makes the GC more effective. What I showed above was a super simple GC, real drive GCes take a lot more information into account. First off they have to deal with more than two blocks, and their data takes up more than a single page. They track data locality, they only run against blocks have hit certain threshold of invalid pages or have really bad data locality. There are a ton of research papers and patents on the various techniques they use. But they all have to follow certain rules based on on the environment they work in, hopefully this post makes some of those clear.





  • NotAppleSupportGuy Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    At first glance seems straight forward.


    Chuck new SSD into MacPro.

    Format to Journalled

    CCC to clone Old OSD (Source) to new SSD OSD (Destination)


    Then it's unclear to this dummy. Do I then reboot as I would to use my Windows Partition? Will the new OSD be there as an option? If so, do I then format the old OSD and then my Mac will boot as normal? (Thinks it's a PC and boots Windows as it's default)


    Then all I have to do is spend the rest of my life trying to get Trim and/or GC to work, or die worrying that my SSD is slowly killing itself. Seems I will also have to get a bigger drive than the 240GB I was planning on because it also thinks it's a PC device and wants 30% of it's space left empty.


    I was planning to get an OWC 240GB SSD Extreme 'cause I can't afford anything else. Do you know if it does this Trim/GC thing?

  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 9 Level 9 (53,550 points)

    Then it's unclear to this dummy. Do I then reboot as I would to use my Windows Partition?

    System Perferences > Startup Disk, and if the clone was successful, the new SSD will appear as an option. Choose it and immediately or much later, Restart. It will attempt to boot to the new drive.



    Then all I have to do is spend the rest of my life trying to get Trim and/or GC to work

    It is a dead cinch.


    1) Download Trim Enabler from groths.

    2) Run it and click the switch to ON.


    Restart sometime.



    If you put only System, Library, Applications and the Hidden unix files including Paging/Swap and move all the Users files off to another drive, there is no need for a Mac Pro 65lb tower to have a Boot Drive over 128GB. I run my Mac Pro with nothing special added off a 30GB SSD, but that is getting too small. (You MUST have 9GB free or Mac OS X all by itself may seize up.)


    Japamac's Blog: Make room for Performance -- Moving the Home Folder



  • NotAppleSupportGuy Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)

    You guys are bloody fantastic to us plebs.


    Thanks for info' on OS drive and how to shift the Home Folder......I have 4 drives currently in the Mac and will add two more in the spare optics bay. Saw something on groths (Have downloaded Trim.Thank you) that suggested Trim doesn't work on drives installed in the optics bay. Have you any experience here?


    I use Bootcamp to run Windows as Good 'Ol Roland doesn't make a Mac version of SONAR so I have a 60 gig partion for Windows and then run dedicated audio and sample 7200rpm drives.


    Will have to put Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro and Avid Video suites onto the Mac OS Partition and hopefully have two drives for FCP and Avid Video, but will need to take advantage of the empty Optical Bay to achieve this. From what you say this should all fit on a 240GB SSD?