Best way to setup new hard drive

jbsmithmac

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Sep 11, 2011
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The last time I replaced my hard drive it was on a computer that was just given to me so I just did a clean install of OS X.

This time I'm just replacing the existing hard drive so I want to keep everything the way it is now (all apps, files, settings, etc). How should I go about doing this?

I think I've read two options.

1) Plug in new hd with old still installed, boot to recovery mode, install OS X to new hd, boot with new hd, then I believe it should ask me to copy files from existing HD.

2) Do time machine backup, shut down machine, replace hd, install OS X via USB, restore from time machine backup.

Is one easier/safer than the other...any better ways? I'm most concerned about not loosing my apps and settings.
 

grahamperrin

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Use Disk Utility or better to verify at least the HFS Plus file system of the current installation.

Then a reliable backup, then your option (1).
 

jbsmithmac

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I suppose no matter which option is picked, the version of OS X doesn't matter does is? I'm running 10.9.5.
 

grahamperrin

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10.9.5 should be fine.

Are you planning to begin using the new drive with an installation of Yosemite?
 

Weaselboy

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The last time I replaced my hard drive it was on a computer that was just given to me so I just did a clean install of OS X.

This time I'm just replacing the existing hard drive so I want to keep everything the way it is now (all apps, files, settings, etc). How should I go about doing this?

I think I've read two options.

1) Plug in new hd with old still installed, boot to recovery mode, install OS X to new hd, boot with new hd, then I believe it should ask me to copy files from existing HD.

2) Do time machine backup, shut down machine, replace hd, install OS X via USB, restore from time machine backup.

Is one easier/safer than the other...any better ways? I'm most concerned about not loosing my apps and settings.
You are making too much work for yourself. There is no need to reinstall the OS.

Make sure your Time Machine backup to a USB disk is current, then install the new drive. Now attach the TM disk and option key boot to it. That will get you a recovery screen. From there use Disk Util in the erase tab to format the new disk to Mac OS Extended (Journaled). Then quit Disk Util and click restore. That will move the OS and all your apps and data to the new drive.

When the restore is done shutdown and remove the USB TM disk then restart. Once it starts go to System Prefs and in the Startup Disk pane select the new drive as the boot drive. That's it.
 

Weaselboy

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If fewer steps are desirable: use Disk Utility to restore from the required startup volume.
How is that fewer steps? You would have to put the old drive in an external enclosure then boot to and still format with Disk Util and then use Disk Util to restore the old drive to the new. Am I missing what you are saying?
 

Weaselboy

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Thanks for the input guys - I was looking at this guide...a good one to follow?

http://blog.laptopmag.com/how-to-replace-your-macbook-pros-hard-drive-with-an-ssd
I don't know who wrote that blog post, but it makes no sense and will not work. They mention cloning the drive, then never do a clone and do an OS reinstall instead. Then they suggest holding the option key to get to recovery to install the OS... that will not work either. You need to hold command-r or command-option-r to get to recovery.

The option I suggested earlier is IMO the most straightforward and easiest.

Just install your SSD and boot to the TM disk and follow my instructions.

To install the SSD itself, look on iFixit for your specific model. They have step by step with photos for all models.
 

jbsmithmac

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I don't know who wrote that blog post, but it makes no sense and will not work. They mention cloning the drive, then never do a clone and do an OS reinstall instead. Then they suggest holding the option key to get to recovery to install the OS... that will not work either. You need to hold command-r or command-option-r to get to recovery.

The option I suggested earlier is IMO the most straightforward and easiest.

Just install your SSD and boot to the TM disk and follow my instructions.
Got it!...one quick question. Instead of using a USB TM disk...am I able to use a network TM disk as my current TMs are on my Synology NAS. I mean I can just create a full TM on a USB but I didn't want to if I don't have to.
 

grahamperrin

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I should have made clearer: yes, use Recovery OS.

Essentially:
  1. Command-R
  2. Disk Utility
  3. partition the destination, select the source, restore
– very few steps and, depending on the environment, I would expect the block copy (Disk Utility) to be speedier than copying files (Time Machine).

Also the block copy restore will be comprehensive – no exclusion of logs, and so on.
 

Weaselboy

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Got it!...one quick question. Instead of using a USB TM disk...am I able to use a network TM disk as my current TMs are on my Synology NAS. I mean I can just create a full TM on a USB but I didn't want to if I don't have to.
That will work, but if you have a lot of data, restoring over the network like that can take a while. Just follow this.

You will need a way to boot to access the recovery tool. If you Mac is on this list, you have Internet recovery and just command-option-r boot and pull down the recovery tool from the Internet then format with Disk Util and recover.

If you Mac is older than that list, you will need to make a recovery key using this utility from Apple.

Is your current drive still working and do you have an enclosure to put it in. Cloning over form the enclosure will be faster than a network restore if you do.

Also, what size is your current hard drive and what size SSD did you buy? I ask because Disk Util won't clone a larger partition to a smaller one.
 

grahamperrin

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… they suggest holding the option key to get to recovery to install the OS... that will not work either. You need to hold command-r or command-option-r to get to recovery. …
Command-R (or Option-Command-R) is often not the only way to start a Recovery OS.

In the article's screenshots, no sign of Core Storage – so the Option key alone at startup should present Startup Manager and (unless there was a problem with the existing installation) a Recovery OS will be amongst the startup options. The article appears to be more focused on physical replacement – the hardware, not the soft approaches.

More advanced: Startup Manager can also play a role in selecting a Recovery OS where more than one Recovery OS is available but neither is shown, and so on, but those things are quite off-topic …
 
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jbsmithmac

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Also, what size is your current hard drive and what size SSD did you buy? I ask because Disk Util won't clone a larger partition to a smaller one.
I have a 500GB standard HDD (OEM), and bought a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO.
 

Weaselboy

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Command-R (or Option-Command-R) is often not the only way to start a Recovery OS.

In the article's screenshots, no sign of Core Storage – so the Option key alone at startup will present Startup Manager and unless there was a problem with the existing installation, a Recovery OS will be amongst the startup options.

More advanced: Startup Manager can also play a role in selecting a Recovery OS where more than one Recovery OS is available but neither is shown, and so on, but those things are quite off-topic …
If there is no OS on the drive, and option key boot will get you nowhere. I see now that in that article they are talking about option key booting to the old drive and that would pickup the recovery HD partition as a boot option. It still seems like a heck of convoluted article.

----------

I have a 500GB standard HDD (OEM), and bought a 500GB Samsung 840 EVO.
Do you have an external enclosure you can pop the old drive in to clone it over? If you have a lot of data, then network restore is going to be very slow.

You might have trouble using Disk Util to clone. If say the formatted capacity of the old drive is 498GB and the formatted new drive is 495GB, Disk Util won't work to clone. You can work around this by shrinking the old drive partition down just a bit to get it below the formatted capacity of the new drive. Just follow this to resize the old drive partition 10GB or so (assuming you have less than ~490GB of data).
 

jbsmithmac

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Do you have an external enclosure you can pop the old drive in to clone it over? If you have a lot of data, then network restore is going to be very slow.

You might have trouble using Disk Util to clone. If say the formatted capacity of the old drive is 498GB and the formatted new drive is 495GB, Disk Util won't work to clone. You can work around this by shrinking the old drive partition down just a bit to get it below the formatted capacity of the new drive. Just follow this to resize the old drive partition 10GB or so (assuming you have less than ~490GB of data).
Yes I have an external usb drive enclosure that I have my other mbp's orginal hd in.

Network restore would take a long time over a gigabit ethernet network? When I tried to do a new TM backup to USB it said I needed about 330GB of space.
 

Weaselboy

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Yes I have an external usb drive enclosure that I have my other mbp's orginal hd in.

Network restore would take a long time over a gigabit ethernet network? When I tried to do a new TM backup to USB it said I needed about 330GB of space.
Is your Mac and drive(s) USB3?

I know in theory GB ethernet is fast, but when you are moving data between two drives like this with a bunch of small files, I think it will be much slower than a directly attached disk. Plus this network restore will not put a recovery partition back on the new SSD like a USB TM would.
 

grahamperrin

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If there is no OS …
… but in this topic and (as you now see) in the Laptop Mag article, there's an OS.

convoluted article …
Yeah … I edited my last post to reflect the article's focus on physically replacing the hardware (not something I'd like to see rushed … screws all over the place … I have a friend's Apple notebook tidily in pieces at the office …). For a 2013 article, it's not bad. Whilst it's easy for me to criticise the article's unwritten assumption that readers do not encrypt their startup volumes, there are a multitude of articles about how Startup Manager behaves with and without FileVault 2. I would expect nearly all readers to quickly realise an alternative approach to Recovery OS, especially if those readers have the confidence to dismantle their MacBook Pro.

Topics such as these can easily balloon :D that's why my short first post suggested one of the two options that the opening poster had already read about …
 

jbsmithmac

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Is your Mac and drive(s) USB3?
The mac is but I doubt the enclosure is - it was just some cheapo thing I bought online a while ago. I plugged it in just now and pulled up System Information but didn't see any indication of it being USB3 (just that it was connected via USB).

I think all the back and forth confused me on the steps I need to take to make a good clean swap of the drives.

Let me try to summarize - and you correct if you don't mind.

1) Install new SSD into mbp

2) Connect TM backup via USB (I'm not sure I have a drive large enough laying around that I can connect via USB - maybe I can directly connect to the Synology NAS via USB)

3) Boot mbp holding Option Key

4) Use Disk Util to format the newly installed SSD to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

5) Exit Disk Util and click Restore

6) Restart normally without TM connected, change boot disk appropriately.


If this is correct my one question is about #2 above...what if I don't have a USB drive large enough for the TM? Go buy one cheap at Best Buy (not that I want to spend $ to do this)?? :)
 

Weaselboy

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...that's why my short first post suggested one of the two options that the opening poster had already read about …
Both those options involve needlessly downloading and reinstalling the OS is my point. If there is already an OS install present and the desired result is having new drive like the new, there is no need to reinstall the OS at all if a local USB disk or TM backup is present.
 
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Weaselboy

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1) Install new SSD into mbp
Check

2) Connect TM backup via USB (I'm not sure I have a drive large enough laying around that I can connect via USB - maybe I can directly connect to the Synology NAS via USB)
You won't get a bootable backup unless it is directly attached (not over the network). Needs to be backed up to directly attached disk.

3) Boot mbp holding Option Key
Check. Select the orange USB TM backup disk from the boot manager screen.

4) Use Disk Util to format the newly installed SSD to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)
Check

5) Exit Disk Util and click Restore
Check

6) Restart normally without TM connected, change boot disk appropriately.
...and check.

If this is correct my one question is about #2 above...what if I don't have a USB drive large enough for the TM? Go buy one cheap at Best Buy (not that I want to spend $ to do this)?? :)
Here is an option I mentioned earlier that will get you fixed up without buying a drive.

Do you have a 1GB or larger USB key? Use this utility from Apple to make a recovery key with your existing setup and after the new drive is in, option key boot to that key. It only contains the recovery utility. Then use Disk Util to format and then click reinstall OS X and it will DL and install the 5GB OS. Once the install is done it will start a setup assistant you will be asked about importing data. Use that import tool to point to the TM backup on the NAS to migrate in your account, apps and data.

This will get you the OS with a recovery partition and everything back on the drive like it was.
 

jbsmithmac

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Ok I think this is probably the best route for me...

1) put new SSD in external enclosure connect to mbp and use disk util to format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

2) still in disk util use the "restore" tab and select the current HDD as the source and the new SSD as target.

3) install new SSD in mbp, boot normally.


This should give me an exact clone of the current HDD onto the new SSD correct? No difference should be noticed to the end user (it's my wife's machine).
 

Weaselboy

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Ok I think this is probably the best route for me...



1) put new SSD in external enclosure connect to mbp and use disk util to format to Mac OS Extended (Journaled)



2) still in disk util use the "restore" tab and select the current HDD as the source and the new SSD as target.



3) install new SSD in mbp, boot normally.





This should give me an exact clone of the current HDD onto the new SSD correct? No difference should be noticed to the end user (it's my wife's machine).

Yes exactly. Just remember the issue I mentioned earlier with partition sizes and a disk utility clone.