Best option to install/clone new hard drive

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gmas, May 7, 2015.

  1. Gmas macrumors member

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    #1
    So I bought a Samsung 850 EVO SSD for my mid-2009 MBP and it has finally arrived. After looking up videos and articles, I'm quite confident I can actually physically install it, however I'm slightly more stuck on how to set it up once it is installed.

    I bought the SSD for speed purposes and essentially just want everything on my current hard drive into the new one. I've used Carbon Copy Cloner to make a bootable backup of my current hard drive.

    I have a SATA adapter cable to hookup up old hard drives via USB - can I hook up the new drive, format, clone the CCC backup to the new drive and then install it in the computer?

    Or do I have to install it first and boot from a CD/USB, and go through the disk utility options to format it first like I've read is the common method of setting up a new drive?

    Any help on this is really appreciated :)
     
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    #2
    Either/Or

    Either way will work fine just do what you fancy.
     
  3. Gmas thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Thanks for the response. I feel like hooking it up via USB saves me a step or two, and allows me to use my current setup that I know and am comfortable with to set it up (format, clone, etc.). Just wanted to make sure I was thinking it through right though and could actually do it that way.
     
  4. Synergie macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    The swap is physically very very easy.

    Best way to clone... pick up an external hard drive enclosure or dock that connects via USB (which you have). Swap out the hard drives...

    Plug your old hard drive in the external enclosure through USB and boot off that. In Carbon Copy Cloner simply choose source as your old drive, destination as the new one and click on 'Clone'

    Thats all there is to it.. you can even still use the computer while it clones! Its the fastest way to do it that I have found. Restoring etc take MUCH longer and really you can not get any more simple than Carbon Copy Cloner.
     
  5. coghlan macrumors member

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    #5
    Does installing the SSD internally and connecting the original drive externally result in the SSD having a boot loader installed, that doesn't seem to happen in the reverse configuration (clone internal hard drive to external SSD w/CCC)?

    I spent Sunday afternoon trying to clone her internal drive (reporting SMART errors) to an external SSD with CCC, but installing the SSD internally and doing a power up results in a folder icon with "?" (not bootable).

    I mean, shouldn't CCC ensure that the cloned drive has a boot loader on it, just like the source drive?
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #6
    Using CCC to clone external to internal or internal to external will give the exact same result and should be bootable either way.

    You have something else wrong. Perhaps a bad internal cable that was causing the drive problems all along?
     
  7. coghlan macrumors member

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    #7
    Except that, a lot of people have had this problem, and have had to resort to copying a boot loader via alternate methods. Others have mentioned that CCC only copies the file system, not the boot loader. Is this incorrect?

    In hindsight, I should have tried to option-boot from the USB-connected SSD after the clone, which would at least told me whether or not the disk is bootable.
     
  8. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #8
    You are confusing the boot image with the recovery partition. Some clone utilities like Superduper do not copy over the recovery partition and that is likely what you have been reading about how to get a recovery partition on there after the clone. But you do not need a recovery partition for the drive to boot. A straight clone with CCC at its defaults will get you a bootable clone.

    Yep... that would have been a good test... but meh hindsight and all. :p
     
  9. coghlan macrumors member

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    #9
    CCC did prompt me to ask if I wanted a recovery partition, which it had to carve out of the main partition space.

    Do Mac storage devices have an MBR similar to Windows, which defines up to 4 physical partitions, one of which is active? Each bootable partition has a boot loader (NTLDR.EXE).

    I presume the recovery partition (if exists) has a boot loader, as well as the partition containing OS X. It appears that the one on my SSD, though, did not have one copied to it, rendering it non-bootable. It's not clear (to me) whose job it is to create it on the SSD partition. The (bootable) source disk partition has one, but the SSD partition does not. So, CCC either just expects it to have been created, or attempts to copy it there.

    The CCC vendor (Bombich) told me they've had a lot of reports of certain types of storage devices not being bootable following a clone operation. What seems to work is connecting the bootable source disk via USB, and installing the destination SSD internally. This indicates to me that the boot loader is either automatically created on internal (but not external) devices by OS X, or the way CCC attempts to do it (write to logical block number zero etc.) works directly via the SATA interface but not via USB.
     
  10. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #10
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUID_Partition_Table

    Macs use a GUID partition table. On a default OS X Install you will have a ~200MB EFI partition used for firmware updates, a 650MB Recovery HD partition for recovery, and the main Macintosh HD partition uses the remaining space. The EFI and recovery partition are both hidden. The recovery and Macintosh HD partitions are boot bootable.

    There is no "boot loader" that needs to be configured or installed seperately. The files needed to boot are part of the recovery and Macintosh HD partitions.

    Again, if you just attach a blank drive and format then do a default CCC clone that is all you need to do. The fact yours is not working means to have something broken. Either a bad drive or a bad cable. But the clone process works either way over USB. Myself and others here have done this many many times.
     
  11. coghlan macrumors member

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    #11
    Yes, there is a boot loader. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BootX_(Apple)

    When the computer powers on, it scans for all bootable devices and expects to find the initial executable which runs and initiates the loading of the OS. Windows machines load sector #0 from the active partition and pass control to it. That piece of code then loads NTLDR.EXE, which displays the Windows splash screen and then boots Windows.

    Macs apparently look for this BootX loader, which contains basic drivers for things like keyboards and USB devices. I don't know if it exists without or outside of the file system. I suspect the latter, since it does not always get copied by CCC.

    If this boot loader hasn't been created, you get the flashing folder with "?", presumably indicating that there is no BootX loader present.
     
  12. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #12
    BootX is not used any longer. If you read the article you linked it even says this is from the old Power PC Mac days. Newer Intel Macs now use EFI in firmware to manage the boot process then turn it over to the OS. There is no separate "boot loader" that needs to be copied over like you are describing.

    You are correct that the flashing ? means there is no system software found on the disk, but it is not because of some boot loader file that needs to be there like you are thinking.
     
  13. coghlan macrumors member

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    #13
    More info on the boot loader (boot.efi) which apparently is in the 200MB partition you referred to: http://www.cnet.com/news/troubleshooting-the-boot-process-for-intel-macs/

    I guess on the cloned drive, this is either missing, or when the external drive is installed internally, it's not recognized as a drive that was used to boot the computer previously.
     
  14. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #14
    No... that EFI partition is only used for firmware updates. You can actually delete that partition and the system will still boot and run just fine. What I am trying to explain is there is no separate "boot loader" that would not get cloned over. boot.efi is a system file in the folder /System/Library/CoreServices/ that comes over with any clone.
     
  15. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    #15
    Trust Weaselboy. Something happened in the cloning process. Cloning in OS X is easy-peasy, with none of the issues of Windows and needing to mark a drive a "boot" drive. Any drive with OS X installed on it is bootable, as long as it is formatted correctly with GUID partition table. Cloning internal to external, external to internal, booting off of internal, booting off of external, it's all the same. Make a copy of your boot drive, and you can boot in pretty much in any modern Mac via USB, FW, or internal.
     
  16. millerj123 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I had this problem on two macbook pros, although with spinning hard drives. I had CCC set to make the new drives GUID, but it didn't seem to, and I had the same symptoms with power up showing the "?".
    I used Disk Utility to make them GUID, re-ran the clone, re-installed the drives and all is well.
     
  17. coghlan macrumors member

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    #17
    I received this explanation from the vendor:

    The issue is that Disk Utility places a misaligned partition table on the SSD when it is installed in the USB enclosure. As long as the SSD remains in the enclosure, the partition table remains functional. Problems only arise when the disk is moved to another bus, at which time the partition table is off by some small amount, and therefore unreadable.
     
  18. CoastalOR macrumors 68000

    CoastalOR

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    #18
    I've never heard of or experienced anything like a "misaligned partition table" because the drive was formatted & partitioned in an external then moved to internal. I have personally formatted drives in different enclosures then moved drives to the Mac internal drive with no problems. Maybe you should let people know the manufacturer of the drive so we can avoid them.
     
  19. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    #19
    I find that very hard to believe, given the ubiquitous nature of the 850 EVO and lack of complaints on this or any other Mac forum I frequent. I don't have experience with the 850 EVO in OS X, but have done the exact process as you described on 3 other SSDs on my older iMac. The fact that you had SMART errors during the cloning process points to a different problem.
     
  20. coghlan macrumors member

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    #20
    It's the vendor of CCC, Bombich.

    The person also said the following:

    The problem here is the combination of a bug in Disk Utility and a minor compatibility issue between the SSD and the USB enclosure, and somehow the issue is specific to 2010-2011 MBPs and 2010-2011 Mac minis. It doesn't affect every USB enclosure either. In theory I could offer a blanket warning about this scenario to people using one of the affected Macs, but I can't assume that they're planning to install the external disk internally (vs. simply establishing a backup), nor can I tell what kind of disk is in the external enclosure. Further worsening the matter, I can't even reproduce the issue on my 2010 MBP, though I have tried with several brands of enclosures and SSDs.
     
  21. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    #21
    Based on that, it then seems that the best way to do what you are attempting to do is to remove your internal HDD and put it in the enclosure, install the SSD into your MBP, boot off of the external HDD and then clone back to the internal SSD.
     
  22. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #22
    Mike Bombich knows his stuff and I trust him, but given he can't replicate this, I wonder if he is just speculating on what the problem is? I have never heard this theory about a misaligned partition table and one would think there would be many many more reports of this.

    If your Mac one of the models he mentions?

    I guess the test would be to flip them around and clone external to internal like Mike suggested.
     
  23. coghlan macrumors member

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    #23
    It's my daughter's 2011 MBP. I put the old drive back in and am crossing my fingers it runs okay until end of semester when she comes back for Xmas.
     
  24. coghlan macrumors member

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    #24
    Well, attempt #2 finally worked the other day, sort of.

    I installed the SSD as the internal device, then booted from the original drive via USB. I then ran CCC to clone the original drive to the SSD, unplugged the external drive, and rebooted. Interestingly, I got the folder with "?" again, which made no sense, but I also noticed that the total amount of data copied was a only a few Gb, and determined that all the files from the original cloning operation were still present, so I ran disk utilities to create just one partition on the SSD and erase the partition (not 100% sure I did this originally) and re-executed the clone. This time, it took 20-30 minutes and I was finally able to boot from the SSD.

    Everything seemed okay afterwards, until my daughter tried to run MS Word, and was asked to enter a licence key. Mac Office 2011 seemed to detect that this was a new drive (did not have this problem previously, following: a) Time Machine backup, b) OS X installed by Genius Bar and c) restore from Time Machine backup). Fortunately, I was able to just re-enter the MS Home & Student Office key, which worked. Not really sure why, since I believe all 3 copies had been already activated. It sure was nice to have something just "work" for a change :)
     
  25. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #25
    Yeah, CCC will clone your drive, but if other apps like MS Office notices a change and it wants you to reactivate, then there's not much you can do to get around it. I'm glad you were able to dig out your old license key - that makes life a lot simpler :)
     

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