Data migration with SSD upgrade

Discussion in 'iMac' started by EricT43, May 3, 2012.

  1. EricT43 macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    If this is covered elsewhere, I apologize in advance, but I wasn't able to find it.

    I just ordered a Crucial M4 256 GB to add to my 27" 2011 iMac. I recently got one for my 13" MBP, and I was so blown away by the performance improvement, I just HAD to get one for my main machine too. Even though the installation is pretty damned scary :eek: I've built and rebuilt many PC's, but I have to admit that this SSD installation has me nervous. Probably because I've never torn down a $2k+ PC before.

    In any case, I plan to use the internal 1 TB drive for user home folders, and the SSD for everything else. I am not sure on how best to make this happen. The procedures I have in mind is this:

    1. Make a backup of the system first
    2. Copy the user folders to an external hard drive
    3. Install the SSD.
    4. Do a clean install of Lion on the SSD.
    5. Erase the original drive and copy the user folders back onto it.
    6. Create the user accounts and then change the home folder locations to the original drive.
    7. Reboot and delete the home folders on the SSD.
    8. Reinstall all of my applications.

    1. Make a backup of the system first
    2. Move media and user data to an external drive (mostly music and videos), and/or uninstall apps until I get below 256 GB on the original drive.
    3. Back up again.
    4. Install the SSD.
    5. Use Time Machine to bring everything back to the SSD.
    6. Erase the original drive, and move the home folders to the original drive.
    7. Reboot, then move all my data back to my new home folders from the external.

    I'm leaning towards Procedure B, but I'd welcome any other suggestions.
  2. EricT43 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    After some analysis of my drive usage (using Space Gremlin, nice little app), I think I have an even easier option. If I move my iTunes Media, Photos, and Videos, then I'll be left with a manageable 151 GB on the system drive. That's with home folders staying where they are, including email and regular documents. I've also heard that keeping the Libray on the SSD results in better performance.

    So, then PROCEDURE C would be:
    1. Move iTunes Media, Photos, and Videos to an external drive.
    2. Make a backup with Time Machine.
    3. Install SSD.
    4. Use Time Machine to restore drive onto SSD.
    5. Erase the original disk and copy iTunes Media, Photos, and Videos onto it.
    6. Update library locations of my apps.

    Still interested in how others have done this...
  3. HoosierInFL macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2007
    I recently installed an SSD into my 27" iMac. I used the kit from OWC. While it's not as difficult as one might think, I recommend having a buddy there with you to help. It makes things easier. The most difficult part of the entire processing is making sure to not break any of the tiny wires you must unplug. I followed the video OWC made and all went well.
  4. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    I'd recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner over Time Machine. Time Machine has always been really finicky for me. If you're doing a one time backup of your computer, nothing beats CCC, in my opinion. And it's free ->

    You can use CCC to make a bootable backup of your entire computer (which is very awesome) or you can specify which folders / files you'd like to back up... among other things.
  5. EricT43 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    Thanks for the advice, perhaps I'll try that. So the procedure there is to install the SSD, boot to the original drive, clone it to the SSD and then boot from that? Does OS X not get confused when it sees two clones of the same drive?
  6. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    That's the method I would choose, yes. And no, OS X sees them as two separate bootable OS's. You hold the alt / option key on boot up and you'll be able to select which one you'd like to boot into... so giving them different names would help lessen the confusion. Also all you have to do to set a default boot to is to select which one you want to auto start in using the startup manager in system preferences.

    I would do a clean install on the SSD first though as sometimes the copying of the Lion recovery HD can fail for various reasons.
  7. police340 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2011
    SSD Install

    I just did my iMac 27" the other day with Thunderbolt SSD. I used SuperDuper to clone the hard drive on to the SSD. First boot it did not work. I wiped SSD again and cloned one more time. Second time it works like a charm! Quick on Thunderbolt SSD. I will back up my hard drive one more time (just in case) and then use it for files and other stuff after cleaning it up.

    So this option saved the trouble of opening the iMac myself. Like you i have done many pc's but was nervous about this. Maybe when its a bit older, I might try it. Good luck.
  8. EricT43 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    That's not a bad way to go. Which device did you go with?
  9. police340 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2011
    I bought the Lacie 2TB Thunderbolt drive, opened the drive, replaced the hard drive with two 240Gb SSD drives. I just did it the other night and writing from it now. I used Blackmagic speed test and with hard drive I got read 103, write 94 on PAL. With SSD i get 276 on read and 339 on write. Nice increase in performance.

  10. Adz76 macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2011
    Dagobah System
    As an above poster has said, cloning is by far the quickest method, everything is done in one hit, I used Super Duper ( free ) when I upgraded my old eMac. Once the clone has been created you are all set, you can even boot off the clone to check it works before deleting your old drive. This is so much quicker and easier than trying to manually copy all data over.
  11. police340 macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2011
    The SuperDuper is free and while I like free, I also like to support the excellent programs we get for free. After having a question on SuperDuper, I wrote a trouble ticket and the author responded immediately, problem resolved. I purchased the program as I was very happy with i. I believe others should do the same when they like something. Sincerely, Bill
  12. EricT43 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    Thanks again for all the useful suggestions, guys.

    I did the upgrade last night. I was paranoid about getting dust or smudges on the display, but it wasn't that bad. Once I got the display out, I put it on my desk and put the display cover on top of it to keep dust off.

    I just wanted to summarize my procedure, so that it might help others do this in the future. There is a lot of info out there on how to install the SSD, but not a whole lot about what to do after that.

    For the actual install, I followed the excellent video from Other World Computing, which you can find here.

    I started with the original 1TB disk drive, which had about 750GB of data on it, including a 100GB Bootcamp partition. My challenge was to get OS and applications onto a 250GB SSD as easily as possible, while at the same time keeping the resulting setup relatively simple. That meant I did not want to move user home folders off of the SSD. Here's what I did:

    1. I used a nice, inexpensive app called Space Gremlin to see what data was using how much space. I found that the biggest consumers of disk space were my iTunes Media folder, photos, and home movies.
    2. I temporarily moved those items to my external FW drive. I updated iTunes accordingly - note that I only moved the iTunes Media folder, my iTunes library remains on the system drive in my user folders. The photos I moved were the originals I had before I imported into iPhoto. I found that I have enough space on my SSD to leave my iPhoto library there, so I didn't have to change any settings in iPhoto. My home moves are just a bunch of DV files, so I didn't have to update any software for that move either.
    3. Once I moved that data to the external drive, I updated Time Machine to make sure it was still getting backed up, and then deleted it from my system drive. After doing that, clearing out old downloads, and removing a few apps I don't need, I got my system drive down to about 150GB.
    4. After running a Time Machine backup, I shut down the system and installed the SSD.
    5. After rebooting, I got a message saying the drive couldn't be recognized or something to that effect. It's just because it was not formatted. I created a partition and formatted it with the name "Macintosh SSD", using the settings required for a bootable system drive (GPT, OS X Journaled case-sensitive)
    6. Next I used Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my system drive to the SSD. It notified me that the SSD did not have the hidden restore partition, and gave me the option to create and clone one, which I did. It took about 1.25 hours to clone the primary partition.
    7. Set the startup disk to "Macintosh SSD" and rebooted.
    8. Checked that everything was OK. Erased the "Macintosh HD" partition. I left the Bootcamp partition on the original drive, but I haven't tested it yet. I believe I should still be able to boot to it even though it is not on the startup disk.
    9. Then I copied my data from the external FW drive onto the original Macintosh HD drive, and reupdated iTunes to look there for the Media folder.
    10. Finally, I updated Time Machine to stop backing up the folders on the external FW drive, since it will be backing them up on the original internal drive now. At this point I just use my external FW drive to store DVD rips, software downloads, and other easily replaceable content and I exclude it from backups.

    As of this morning everything was working great. It's kind of strange not hearing that hard drive constantly grinding away when I do something. I haven't spent enough time with it to get a good impression of the performance increase yet, but the initial impression is very good. Apps open pretty much instantly. Since I left my user folders on the SSD, with the exceptions noted above, my user profile/preferences and email are on the SSD. and Outlook are both super-fast.

    Hope someone else finds this useful. I'm subscribed to this thread, so feel free to post with any questions.
  13. dearlaserworks macrumors regular

    Apr 28, 2012
    Eastern Shore, USA
    What about trim for the SSD? enabled? planning to enable?
  14. EricT43 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 5, 2011
    Not enabled, I just plugged it in and went. No plans to at the moment, but I haven't researched it quite enough either. I've seen a lot of arguments going either way.

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