clone, fresh install or restore from time machine?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by paulold, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. paulold macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    I have a 15" MacBook Pro 2.0 GHz from a couple of years ago. It has a 75 GB harddrive which I am upgrading to 500 GB. My plan has been to simply clone the drive using the enclosure I purchased. But after reading some posts here, I see I have a few options.

    1. I could clone. This sounds the least risky since theoretically I should end up with everything exactly the same. I do wonder about how it clones the files the operating system is using at the time, but I guess I'll just trust it knows what its doing.

    2. A fresh install sounds ideal. I have had my laptop for a couple of years, so I imagine a fresh install would do it some good. But what does that mean exactly? Is it basically starting from scratch? Would I have to reinstall everything, not just the OS but also all of my programs, individually? And then transfer all of my data (music, photos, etc) given that I can find it all? That sounds a bit laborious and what if I missed something? Or am I misunderstanding the process?

    3. A few months ago I purchased a Time Machine and I have been using it to back up my laptop and my external harddrive. Can I really restore my entire internal harddrive from Time Machine? I'm pretty sure I would have set my Time Machine to back up everything especially since it's a 1 TB drive. Any drawbacks to doing it this way?

    So, which method do you think is best? Thanks!
     
  2. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #2
    1. Cloning the drive with SuperDuper is the best option if you are simply changing the hard drive within the same machine.

    2. There is no point in reinstalling if you are just going to migrate all your data back over.

    3. Yes, you can do this. There are no drawbacks other than the fact that it could take significantly longer than cloning.
     
  3. Achiever macrumors 6502

    Achiever

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    #3
    All will work. Recently I did a clean install on my MBP using the Leopard install disk (you can also use your reboot disk if you'd prefer, but it might have Tiger given the age of your machine). It took about an hour and allowed me to reduce the size of the OS by deselecting language files & drivers I did not need. From there, I restored everything from Time Machine by way of Migration Assistant, partly to test how it would go. It worked great for me. The only thing that did not transfer over was some icon modifications I have made using LiteIcon. So far as I can tell, all music, video, documents and applications (with passwords) transferred over. The only thing I had to do was run some software updates for things that had not been backed up on my backup drive prior to the erase & reinstall. My MBP runs faster and smoother now than it did prior to the reinstall.

    Other folks swear by a clone of their HDs. No wrong way to do it. Either way, you may want to consider transferring the data to the new drive BEFORE you install it, so if something is wrong with your drive, you have not erased the old one yet.
     
  4. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #4
    You don't need to erase your old drive ever. Just keep it as a restore point in case your computer ever gets stolen or your Time Capsule drive crashes ;)
     
  5. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #5
    Why would this take longer than cloning? The backup is already there so all he needs to do is just restore it. As the situation currently stands, the OP doesn't have to do any backup since Time Machine was already in use. Boot off the install disc and restore using time machine image. (If that is not possible or incorrect, sorry, never really paid any attention to wireless multimedia training or anything not related to my area)
     
  6. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #6
    The reason I say that it will take longer is because the Time Capsule is very slow at transferring data. Cloning a hard drive is a local action and is much faster.
    While it would take 2 hours to clone about 100GB of data locally, it may take 5 or 6 to do it with a Time Capsule.

    Actually, I don't know if the OP has a Time Capsule or not, but I know you can't "buy a Time Machine" ;)
     
  7. paulold thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #7
    LOL! My bad. Yes, I do have a Time Capsule.

    Actually, it does bring up another question. If I clone my existing drive and install it, what will Time Machine do when I get my laptop back up and running? Will it think nothing has changed or will it back up everything as if it were new data? Surely Time Machine will recognize it's not the same harddrive, right? Will my backup from before I switched drives still exist within my Time Capsule?
     
  8. iLog.Genius macrumors 601

    iLog.Genius

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #8
    That's good that you brought that up. I don't think Time Machine looks at the hardware, it looks at software so if something were to change within software (ex. Username) then it won't work because the bundle is associated with that user only. So really it should work with no problems. At the same time, we really can't say because Time Machine is VERY sensitive. Even the smallest thing that changes will throw off Time Machine and it won't allow you to restore saying you don't have enough privileges.

    I think the first thing you should do is make a list of the the things you need to backup. Personally, times like this where there are hardware changes and what not, I would prefer to do a clean install and restore the files itself just to eliminate any potential conflicts.
     
  9. Achiever macrumors 6502

    Achiever

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    #9
    True that he doesn't HAVE to erase it, but if he is upgrading a 75 gb HD to a 500 gb HD and has a Time Capsule for backup, it would appear as though he has far outgrown his need for the limited 75 gbs of space. Hence I guess I assumed - and we all know what that means - that he would enclose the old HD for use as an external peripheral. If not, then yes, no reason to wipe it clean.
     
  10. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    #10
    My understanding is Time Machine uses the logic board as a controller to identify the correct backup for a computer. So long as you don't change this, there should not be any issues if the data is the same.
     
  11. mac mac mac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #11
    I cloned my hard drive with CCC and after I swapped out the hard drive last night, Time Machine no longer recognized my previous backup. I don't want to lose all the data I had. What can I do to continue with the backup set I have? Thank you.
     
  12. mac mac mac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    #12
    Never mind, I found the answer. In case if anyone is interested in upgrading to a new internal hard drive and keep the existing Time Machine backup, follow the steps below and Time Machine will continue to do an incremental backup. I think this applies to people that have their logic board since the UUID is changed.

    Steps...

    Important: First, disable Time Machine.

    Next, open Disk Utility, select your new partition and press Command-I to display the partition's information. You will need the Universal Unique Identifier value; select it with the mouse, copy it, and paste it somewhere for use later. Then open Terminal and go to the last Time Machine snapshot:
    $ cd /Volumes/my_backup/Backups.backupdb/my_mac/Latest
    Replace /Volumes/my_backup with the full path to your (new) Time Machine drive/partition, and replace my_mac with the name of your Mac as shown on the Time Machine drive. This directory will hold one (or more) folders, each named after one of your drives or partitions. For safekeeping, display the old partition's UUID before you do anything else -- this is the one that Time Machine has attached to your backups:
    $ sudo xattr -p com.apple.backupd.SnapshotVolumeUUID my_partition
    Replace my_partition with the name of the partition that you'll be swapping the UUIDs on. The command will print out a UUID, just like the one displayed in Disk Utility above. If the UUIDs are identical (which they won't be, yet), Time Machine will make an incremental backup; If they don't match, it will back up the entire partition again.

    So if you are really, really certain that your new partition is in fact just a copy of your original partition, and you want Time Machine continuity, you can reconnect the last backup of your old partition to your new partition by overwriting exactly that UUID with the one of the new partition.

    First temporarily disable ACL protection for the backup drive:
    $ sudo fsaclctl -p /Volumes/my_backup -d
    Whatever you do, do not forget the matching command below to re-enable it again!

    Next, and this is the critical step, overwrite the UUID with the UUID you have copied from Disk Utility above (the UUID is represented by the X's in this example):

    $ sudo xattr -w com.apple.backupd.SnapshotVolumeUUID XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX my_partition

    Now re-enable ACL protection for the backup drive:
    $ sudo fsaclctl -p /Volumes/my_backup -e
    Now you can re-enable Time Machine, and it should recognize your new partition as the same as your old one, and only make an incremental backup. When the motherboard of your Mac has changed, proceed as described in the original Repair Time Machine after logic board changes hint.

    This is the link to the website where I got the information.

    http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20090213071015789
     
  13. imapfsr macrumors regular

    imapfsr

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    Location:
    Victoria, B.C.
    #13
    Its funny someone mentioned how Time Capsule is slow at data transfer. I did a back up as I was replacing the hard drive on my 13" pro and it took about 18 hours for 108gb. I then re formatted to my new harddrive using my old hard drive which was the same 108gb and via USB and it only took about 45mins....crazy difference.
     

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