SSD to install is smaller than what's already used

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by RG129, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    The 128GB SSD hard drives seem to be plenty for my needs in terms of using it to boot up OS X and keep all of my apps, plus there seems to be some good deals out there for 128GB drives right now. The problem I have is that I'm already currently using about 280GB of my HD (photos, music and movies).

    How would I go about moving OS X and my apps to the SSD while keeping my home folder on the HD? I can't do a full clone onto the SSD and reformat and move back to the HD because not everything will fit when cloning onto the SSD.

    Any ideas?
  2. macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2010
    I just went through this very circumstance. I'd be curious if someone else has another take as I did quite a bit of research.

    What I ended up doing was backing up all my "non essential" stuff. This included iTunes, movies, music, iphoto, etc. All this was moved to an external drive (I actually made two copies just being paranoid :p).

    I might do a full backup and stick that on the hard drive if you have the patience just in case.

    So at the end, I backed all my stuff up except the apps and the OS, then I deleted all that stuff (movies, music, etc). Ended up with about 75gb left on the drive. Then, I installed OSx fresh on the SSD from the internet recovery and chose to migrate everything from the old drive over. So now the SSD housed all my apps and the OS. Tested to make sure it all worked, and once that was done I formatted the original HDD.

    Restored all my stuff to the newly formatted HDD, then had apps like iTunes, iPhoto, etc point to the HDD for their libraries.

    Some people recommend things like symbolic links and terminal stuff - I tried it and it seemed like an incredible pain for very little reward. So I ended up just including it into the sidebar in Finder.

    Hope it helps!
  3. macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    You actually have it easy. You'd clone your HDD to the SSD, then move your folders to the SSD. After they've been moved, make aliases of each folder, copy the aliases to the home folder on the HDD, delete the "real" folders and rename the aliases to match. In other words, when you make the aliases, they will be called "Documents alias" and you will need to rename it "Documents" when you copy it to the SSD location of your directory.

    My problem was more annoying. I was given a 90GB SSD for work and I can't even load the OS and apps on it because I have too many. I think I actually think I have more data in /Applications and /Library/Application Support than the drive can handle, not to mention a whole OS with it.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    You shouldn't have to "think" about what data you have where. You can very easily tell how much space any given file or folder is taking up by doing a "Get Info" on it. You can also use some software like "Disk Inventory X" to quickly get a list of all your folders and how big they are.

    Unless you have some very specific needs I would think that 90GB is more than enough space for the OS and Applications. Personally I have Mountain Lion, XCode, Photoshop, and several other large software packages on my MacBook Air with a 64GB drive and it's only 2/3 full. The OS doesn't take THAT much space. A fresh install of Mountain Lion on an empty drive takes maybe 6GB, if I remember right.

    For someone who wants to upgrade to an SSD, this is what I would do.

    1) Buy a large external hard drive if you don't already have one. (You can get a 1TB 2.5" external drive for maybe $70 these days.) These are good for backups anyway. Now use a program like SuperDuper! to copy the contents of your current hard drive to the external drive. Now boot off the external drive.

    2) Now you should have a computer with an SSD and hard drive that you can "re-pave" since all your data is on the external drive. I would re-format the internal drive into two partitions--one partition should be the size of the SSD and you can use it for backing up the contents of your SSD. The other should be for data.

    3) After reformatting, copy all your songs/videos/pictures from the external drive to the data partition of your hard drive. Keep copying until the contents of the external drive is small enough to fit on the SSD. Remember, you can put infrequently used Applications on the hard drive too. You don't have to run applications from the SSD; it's just faster.

    4) Now you should just be able to copy the contents of your external drive to the SSD (it fits now because you moved all your stuff), boot off the SSD, and you're done.
  5. macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    I said "I think" because for the purpose of my reply, details were unnecessary. It won't fit and I know it won't fit.

    And I do have very specific needs. My /Applications and /Library folders together are larger than your 64GB SSD. 88.36GB total, if you want specifics. And it's rather poor advice to go around telling people to just move apps where ever, as some WILL break if you have them outside the /Applications folder, or at the very least, if you have problems their support staff won't help you for using an unapproved configuration.
  6. macrumors 68020

    Sep 14, 2012
    Just because your folders are big now doesn't mean they NEED to be that big. Are you certain they aren't full of files that can be easily moved elsewhere?

    Also, I would hardly call my advice re: applications irresponsible. If you run into an application that doesn't work correctly if it isn't in the Applications folder, then just move it back.
  7. macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    Again, some apps break if you move files from where they are expected. Posting advice like that is begging for some novice user to make an error that gives them a headache. Telling someone to move their documents is one thing, but when you get into system files (and yes, /Library is system files) a small error can leave someone's rig FUBAR.
  8. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Have you considered the DIY fusion drive approach?

  9. macrumors regular

    Mar 27, 2005
    If that was directed at me, no. The laptop is speak of was provided by my employer and I avoid spending money on things that are not actually mine.

    I did, however, just order a 2012 Mini with a Fusion drive. I'm hoping it will be a good decision. I suspect it will be better than the standard 2.5" 5400 RPM drive at the very least.

    I did find myself wondering, though, if a roll your own Fusion drive can be created with more than 1 SSD/HDD combination. I have an external RAID5 box that I would consider testing (with different drives).
  10. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
  11. macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2008
    Northumberland, UK
    1) partition hard drive into 2.
    2) move media to 2nd partition (until primary partition has less data than SSD size
    3) backup primary partition to 2nd partition
    4) install SSD
    5) restore backup from 2nd partition to SSD.
  12. macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2011
    It's easy to set up SuperDuper so that when it performs the clone it excludes certain folders (i.e. your photo, music and movie folders).
  13. macrumors 6502a


    May 8, 2010
    West Midlands, England.
    I have a QNAP NAS 3TB that I store stuff like that on, paired with my Apple TV makes a great media centre.

    Everything is connected by a gigabit hub so speed is not an issue either.

    I only got 256GB SSD for my MM for speed and storage, as the 128GB is slower due to less memory channels.

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