Clean install SSD OSX Sierra

Discussion in 'macOS Sierra (10.12)' started by JoHubb, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. JoHubb macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2010
    My mid 2010 2.66Ghz i7 Macbook Pro has slowed to a crawl. I have updated OSX so many times (from Snow Leopard onwards with one or two reversions) that either the OS is fatally corrupted or the disk drive is failing, or both.

    I plan to do a clean install of Sierra on a new Samsung 850 500GB SSD. I have done a Time Machine backup. I definitely do not want to clone the existing HDD. I just want to start afresh - all my software licence details are backed up. My emails are on a separate server.

    I need confirmation that this SSD is compatible with my Macbook Pro enclosure etc. Will I need a 'caddy' or some kind of adapter to make it fit?

    I have the original installation DVD (I think it is Snow Leopard).

    Can I just replace the old HDD with the new SSD, and then run the Snow Leopard install DVD from the optical drive? Or does the SSD need to be partitioned? If so, how? (I will be installing a Linux distro later, so maybe I need two partitions for a dual boot). With the SSD partitioned, can I download the Sierra upgrade and install it over Snow Leopard?

    After Sierra is installed, the plan is to import docs, photos, etc from Time Machine, reboot, and....stand well back!

    Any help gladly received.

  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011

    But as you've already got a TM backup, a better and quicker option may be:

    1) Fit the SSD
    2) Plug in TM backup and hold Alt on startup
    3) Boot into the TM partition
    4) It will take you to macOS Utilities. Select Disk Utility & format internal SSD.
    5) Select 'Reinstall macOS'. This will do a fresh install of Sierra.

    Saves you installing Snow Leopard again. TM backup drives are great; you've got a lot more options than just restoring. :)
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    That SSD will directly replace the existing hard drive with no adaptors or anything.

    A better and faster plan would be to make yourself a USB key installer of Sierra now before you swap out the drive. Just follow this article.

    Then swap out the drives and option key boot to the USB key. From there use Disk Utility to erase the drive to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format. Then quit Disk Utility and click to install Sierra.

    If you want later you can shrink the main partition (follow this) to add Linux.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 16, 2017 ---
    Have you been able to test this under Sierra, because it was broken in El Capitan? I have not had a chance to test myself.
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Oh dear. I didn't even know it was broken in El Cap. :confused:

    Did it get an error message at all? Could you run me through at what point it didn't work?
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    It just would not recognize the drive as bootable.

    I found the thread I was thinking of here at about post #10. @Bruno09 figured it out, but I notice in that thread he also says this is fixed in Sierra, so your suggestion to OP should be fine. I'd forgotten Bruno mentioned it was fixed in Sierra. Sorry for the diversion. :oops:
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    No worries at all! I'm frequently wrong about things so you've made my day with this rare victory :D
  7. JoHubb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2010
    Thanks a bunch to posters. Just what I was hoping for.

    The TM is on a network machine. How do I boot into it? o_O

  8. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Oooer, you'll struggle. Might be best to go the original route of SL install then upgrade. It'll still work fine though, just a little more time :)
  9. JoHubb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2010
  10. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2015
    Just as a side note, I am fairly certain that you cannot upgrade directly from 10.6 to 10.12. I believe you have to upgrade to 10.11 first which if you do not have access to in the app store could be an issue. Anyway, as suggested above, making a usb installer is the best route.
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Folks sure do make "upgrading" more difficult than it is.

    Let's see here...
    The OP has a 2010 MacBook Pro (I have one too), that he wants to put an SSD in with a clean install of the OS.

    Do this:

    Get an external enclosure, USB3, 2.5".
    Get the SSD
    Put the SSD into the enclosure (temporarily).
    Initialize it with Disk Utility to HFS+, journaling enabled.

    Now, download a copy of the OS you want to install if you don't already have it.
    For now, the installer should reside in your current Applications folder. (it can be moved later on).

    Get a USB3 flashdrive of sufficient capacity -- at least 16gb.

    Next, create a bootable installer on the flashdrive. There are a couple of utilities that will do this for you, or do it yourself using the terminal. I thought this would be difficult, until I tried it myself.

    Now, connect the USB3 flashdrive to the Mac with the target USB3 SSD/enclosure also attached.

    Boot from the flashdrive and "aim the installer at" the target SSD.
    Do the install. I suggest you stay nearby and monitor the process as it goes along.

    Once done, shut everything down, all the way off.
    Boot to the SSD (press power on button and hold down option key until startup manager appears, then select external drive with pointer and hit ok)

    Assuming you get a good boot, this is where things may diverge, depending on what you want to do next.

    You may want to use the setup assistant to migrate some data over (such as apps, unless you want to do clean installs).
    You may want to completely "build up" your new drive "from scratch". New copies of apps, "manually-migrated" data, etc. It's UP TO YOU to decide which way you want to go.

    Once you've got the new drive bootable, and set up "as you like it", then, AND ONLY THEN, will it be time to open up the MacBook and "do the drive swap".

    Do this, and it's much easier if something goes wrong along the way, because you STILL HAVE A WORKING MACBOOK to help diagnose difficulties.

    Go to to see what's involved in the drive swap.
    Be sure to buy and use THE RIGHT TOOLS.
    You'll need a Philips #00 driver and a TORX T-6.
    The drive swap is a "15-minute easy" job. Hardest part is taking off/replacing the back cover.

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11 March 16, 2017