Clone hard drive using only Disk Utility?

Gjwilly

macrumors 68030
Original poster
May 1, 2011
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SF Bay Area
Could someone comment on this method of replacing a hard drive using only Disk Utility?
http://blog.laptopmag.com/how-to-replace-your-macbook-pros-hard-drive-with-an-ssd

It just looks too easy.
I was thinking I'd need to use Carbon Copy Cloner or a similar program but if OS X has everything already built into it why don't more people take advantage of it?
I'll be upgrading from an SSD to a larger SSD but I don't think that matters one way or the other.
Thanks
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,711
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California
Could someone comment on this method of replacing a hard drive using only Disk Utility?
http://blog.laptopmag.com/how-to-replace-your-macbook-pros-hard-drive-with-an-ssd

It just looks too easy.
I was thinking I'd need to use Carbon Copy Cloner or a similar program but if OS X has everything already built into it why don't more people take advantage of it?
I'll be upgrading from an SSD to a larger SSD but I don't think that matters one way or the other.
Thanks
Disk Util will work just fine and is actually the official Apple method for cloning a drive.

The process on that page has some steps that make no sense to me though. They are not actually cloning the disk, they are just formatting it then using recovery to reinstall the OS, then afterwards using Migration Assistant to pull data off the old drive. Also, that business about selected GUID as the boot format is not necessary as that is selected by default.

Here is an easier way. Just pop in your new SSD and put the old one in a USB enclosure then option key boot to it. Then follow the steps in this video to format the disk with Disk Util then clone the old disk to the new.

When that is done shutdown and unplug the USB enclosure and boot up to the new SSD. Then go to System Prefs and in the Startup Disk pane set the new SSD as the boot disk. Done.

CCC is no better at this at all. I do think perhaps CCC is easier to understand for the novice. You just open the app and it is fairly obvious how to clone from one drive to another. DU works just as well though.
 

jdfras

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2015
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0
Clone hard drive with Bootcamp

What if you want to clone (for replacement) a drive that has a bootcamp partition?

My drive currently has an OS X and a Windows partition. I'd like to move to a SSD for the main drive and replace the optical with the original drive.

Can the clone process with Disk Util described here do this? Does the replacement drive have to be the same size?

Best options?
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,711
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California
What if you want to clone (for replacement) a drive that has a bootcamp partition?

My drive currently has an OS X and a Windows partition. I'd like to move to a SSD for the main drive and replace the optical with the original drive.

Can the clone process with Disk Util described here do this? Does the replacement drive have to be the same size?

Best options?
Disk Util won't clone the Windows partition. You will need to use something like WinClone to do that.

The new drive does not need to be the same size. There is a limitation with the way Disk Util clones the OS X volume though. The destination volume needs to be the same size to larger than the source, even if the source is not full.

So for example, if you want to Disk Util clone a 500GB OS X volume with 200GB or data to a 256GB disk. You would need to use Disk Util to first shrink down the 500GB volume to under 256GB, then do the clone.
 

Jon-PDX

macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2011
146
15
Pacific NW - USA
The new drive does not need to be the same size. There is a limitation with the way Disk Util clones the OS X volume though. The destination volume needs to be the same size to larger than the source, even if the source is not full.

So for example, if you want to Disk Util clone a 500GB OS X volume with 200GB or data to a 256GB disk. You would need to use Disk Util to first shrink down the 500GB volume to under 256GB, then do the clone.
You are a lot more knowledgeable than I am so I have to ask...... Is cloning and restoring the same thing or different?

The reason I ask is when I installed a 256GB SSD in my Mac I did the following....

-------- From one of my other posts ------

When I added an SSD to my MacPro I renamed my original drive to Old Mac HD, installed my SSD, booted to the original drive, and then used the Disk Utility "Restore" function to copy everything from the old drive to the SSD.

It was like making an image of the old drive on the new one and hardly took any time at all to copy all the data over.

I was not sure it would work since the drives were not the same size but when I re-booted to the SSD it was just as if I had booted to the original drive.....but faster. Everything (OS, app's, setting, even all my email) was exactly the same. So I set the SSD as the boot drive and never looked back.

----- end post -----

I honestly can't remember if it copied over the recovery partition but I know I currently have one on the SSD at this time. But I may have done a clean install since that time which would explain it.

Since the original drive was larger (1TB) than the SSD I'm guessing the answer to my question is there is a difference between cloning and restoring using "disk utility". But since it worked is there a reason to use one over the other?

Looking forward to your response,

Jon...
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
30,711
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California
What you did with Disk Util would clone the old drive to the new, yes. It is really just a difference in terminology, but if you use an app like Carbon Copy Cloner to "clone" the drive from one to another vs. the "restore" with Disk Util, it is exactly the same end result.

Restoring like you did with Disk Util should have moved the recovery partition over also. You can check by running the command below in Terminal and you should see a 650MB Recovery HD partition.

Code:
diskutil list
 

Jon-PDX

macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2011
146
15
Pacific NW - USA
Thanks for the reply!

I had a feeling the terms were interchangeable but when you mentioned in your post about not being able to do it with Disk Utility when the source was larger than the destination, that's what made me think clone and restore were different since I had done the restore from a 1TB ---> 256GB drive.

I'm currently running Mountain Lion but may have been on Lion at the time I installed the SSD. Has Disk Utility changed in newer OS's? Or did I totally misunderstand what you meant?

Thanks for the terminal command to check the drive.

Jon…
 

Weaselboy

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Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
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California
I'm currently running Mountain Lion but may have been on Lion at the time I installed the SSD. Has Disk Utility changed in newer OS's? Or did I totally misunderstand what you meant?
DU has not changed in this respect that I know of. So you were able to restore a 1TB volume to a 256GB volume with DU? That surprises me, because normally that will not work since you are restoring a larger to a smaller volume.

Was the 1TB one, large volume?
 

Jon-PDX

macrumors regular
Oct 20, 2011
146
15
Pacific NW - USA
DU has not changed in this respect that I know of. So you were able to restore a 1TB volume to a 256GB volume with DU? That surprises me, because normally that will not work since you are restoring a larger to a smaller volume.

Was the 1TB one, large volume?
Yup, the 1TB was one large/source volume. At least I don't think I had partitioned it.....humm.

Pretty strange because what you said about not being able to clone a large volume to a smaller one makes perfect sense.

I thought about this all day (read your reply before leaving for work) and I can't remember the steps I took to do it other than using restore in DU.

It was really just a "I wonder if this will work" kind of thing because I was a new Mac user at the time and was surprised it worked.

If it helps, looking at my purchase history I upgraded to Lion back in 2011 so I might have even been running Snow Leopard at the time because I installed the SSD not long after getting the Mac Pro.

I wish I could be of more help. Maybe when I upgrade to Mavericks or Yosemite I'll see if I can duplicate it at that time.

Jon...
 
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