Can I clone a drive that won't boot?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Azzin, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Azzin macrumors 601


    Jun 23, 2010
    London, England.
    Gurus, I need your help!

    My wife's HDD is on it's way out.

    Now, we have a Time Capsule at home, with full & up to date backups on it, however she's working away currently!

    Anyway, I've put a drive in it and I'm currently installing Mavericks from a USB stick, to get her up and running.

    The original drive, whilst readable (when connected by USB), will not boot and all that happens is that at bootup, she got the white screen with a progress bar for a short while and then the machine shut down (and the drive couldn't be repaired via Disk Utility).

    So, once I've got it up and running with a clean install of Mavericks, is there a way for me to connect the old drive up via USB and clone it to the new drive?

  2. raptor402 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2011

    Full cloning won't be possible if you're booting from the partition to which you're cloning. Furthermore, full cloning will be pointless because that will copy whatever software issue the installed OS on the old drive is present.

    I think the easiest solution here would be to connect your drive via USB (or whichever method you choose) and to copy all the data manually.

    Best of luck!
  3. Azzin thread starter macrumors 601


    Jun 23, 2010
    London, England.
    Makes sense, thanks.

    Incidentally, it's a hardware issue with the existing drive, not a software issue, so there wouldn't be any problems copying software across, but that's a moot point n ow anyway as a clone isn't possible! :D

    That's exactly what I'm going to do, thanks.

    I've never done it with a Mac, but is it as simple as simply copying across her profile folder (from the Users folder) and then the Applications, etc folder(s)?
  4. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    You don't want to move over the entire home/users folder as that will cause conflicts with settings in that folder on the new machine. All you want to move is the contents of specific subfolder that contain the data you want, like the Documents, Pictures, and Music folders for example.

    But if you cannot even see the drive in Disk Utility when it is attached via USB, this is not going to work.
  5. ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    If you connect the drive via a SATA-to-USB adapter, you can use Migration Assistant to move her account and associated files over. Of course, if the drive is actually failing there's always a chance that there could be a bad read at some point, but it's worth a try.

    Otherwise, I'd just connect the drive and copy files over by hand.

    Just out of curiosity, what kind of machine is it and how do you know the drive is failing?

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