Create a clonable OSX + apps + prefs drive to quickly copy to new Mac?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by bkpr, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. bkpr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #1
    Hello.

    Is it possible to create a clean install of OS + all apps/plugins/preferences/fonts etc to use as a clean cloneable OS install for other Macs?

    I'm upgrading my Mac Pro 1,1 to a 5,1 and I've heard there can be some issues installing Snow Leopard on the new Macs which come with Lion pre-installed — there is a minimum OS version (10.6.4 I think). I have an earlier Snow Leopard install disc, so presumably I cannot install it directly onto the new machine then combo-update afterwards.

    So I thought of creating a virgin install of all the stuff I want onto a spare drive in the old Mac Pro, then simply mounting that drive into the new Mac Pro and cloning it to the new boot drive.

    Would that work and be bootable, or would there be model specific files that wouldn't work so well on the new machine? Has anyone tried this?
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    Yes I've tried this but not with Lion. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy internal drives of several Macs that were running snow Leopard. I cloned them to SSD drives I hooked up using USB to SATA adapters. I then booted the machine from the external drives to prove they were good and once I knew they were good, I dug out my putty knives and swapped in the new drives.

    I would think the same thing would work with Lion but you would have to go back and use a utility to make a recovery partition for yourself. Another option is to make yourself a Lion install USB stick. This can be done by looking inside "Install OS X Lion.app" using show contents. Find "InstallESD.dmg" and use disk utility to restore it to an 8GB or larger USB stick that has been formatted GUID partition scheme HFS+. That stick is now your Lion restore stick. Another option is to cough cough BUY a Lion usb stick from the Apple store. I have heard of Apple giving them out free to people who were having trouble restoring their OS but the free version was a 1GB stick that required downloading a lot of stuff over the internet.

    Apple has a free utility to make your own USB stick but I've heard it makes the 1GB kind that relies on downloading a lot of stuff. More here.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #3
    I use Carbon Copy Cloner for just such a thing. I create a bootable clone on an external drive and if need be, I can restore back to my internal drive. I've done it with Snow Leopard a handful of times, but the need to restore back to Lion has not arisen yet.
     
  4. bkpr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #4
    I'm talking about a Snow Leopard install BU, not a Lion one. So I'm happy to know cloning the OS is possible. But I was considering making a cloneable boot drive with all my apps already installed, as well as my preferences, App support folder, home folder stuff etc as well as the OS.

    So, I'll whack in a spare drive and install everything onto to the point where I'd be happy to begin using that install for working. Once at this stage I'll pull it out and clone it onto the boot drive SSD in my new Mac Pro.

    If this can be done it would save a lot of time if I needed to start from scratch again (which on a new Mac Pro, I can imagine doing this several times over the next few years).
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #5
    I have both a Time Machine backup and a CCC backup (on a different drive). I restored the TM back up one time, on a time Capsule and it took in excess of 8 hours. Incredibly slow. I started using Carbon Copy Cloner after that and in the course of time, did a restore and that took only a couple of hours.

    I like both, because TM gives me the ability to restore a document easily to a certain point in time.

    CCC excels at full backups and restores. While it can do deltas as well, I think Time Machine is a little more polished and I like it for that purpose.
     
  6. bkpr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #6
    To go a bit further (or granular), does anyone know whether there would be an issue with creating a cloned boot drive on the first gen Mac Pro and installing on a latest gen Mac Pro?

    I can't imagine there'd be a problem, but I know some of the OS updates install specific files for specific machines. I don't know whether the difference extends past different types of Macs, and into different models of the same Mac family.
     
  7. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #7
    The problem is that the older OS may not have the drivers to fully support the newer MacPro. That's the reason why the lowest version of OSX that can be installed is the one that came with it. Apple does not update older versions of OSX to support old hardware.

    With that said, it may work, or you may run into stability problems, its hard to say
     
  8. bkpr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #8
    Hmmm, I know the new Mac Pro supports 10.6.4+, so I'm hoping a fresh install of 10.6.8 will work without issues. My setup won't arrive for another week, but I'll report back once I have everything up and running for a while.
     
  9. bkpr thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    #9
    Well, google likes me today because I just found this post and this post.

    Looks like it'll work fine :)
     
  10. bkpr thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2007

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