External Booting for 2011 iMac: what files do I need?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by punkguins, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. punkguins macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    #1
    I've read a lot of posts on how folks are using external SSD drives and placing them in Thunderbolt compatible enclosures for speeding up their MAC's performance.

    I have a 2011 iMac and want to boot off an external SSD via the Thunderbolt
    enclosures that I have read about. However, I am not sure what files I need to copy to the SSD so the iMAC boots up. I assume I need to move the O/S files but am not sure how this is done.

    I bought the iMAC at the Apple Store but no boot up disks came with this machine so if I need those, I don't have 'em.

    Also, how do I move apps? Is it just as simple as holding down the CMD key and dragging them to the SSD drive?
    Once I can boot off the external drive, I'd like to also move the apps off the hard drive too and keep the hard drive space more available.


    Thanks ahead of time.
     
  2. jared_kipe macrumors 68030

    jared_kipe

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #2
    Depends, how much space is used on your internal drive, and is it less than the external SSD can hold?
     
  3. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #3
    Use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a clone of your internal drive, CCC is free up until 3.4.7

    If you want to start with a clean OS, startup by holding the Command-R key combination at startup, then choose the external and it will install a clean OS onto the external SSD.
     
  4. punkguins thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    #4
    Thanks. Do I hold command R while it powers on or after the login screen?

    Also, how do I move apps to the SSD?

    Appreciate the responses!
     
  5. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #5
    Command-R at startup, NOT login.

    As I said before, if you clone the internal HD to the external SSD (provided the SSD is as big as your internal-bigger than the data on the internal) ALL Apps are also moved to the SSD.

    If you do a clean install on the SSD you can use Migration Assistant to migrate from internal HD to the SSD, Migration Assistant is in Applications>Utilities.
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    It's very easy to create a bootable external drive that is a clone of your internal.

    All you need is
    - the external drive, and
    - CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper.

    With a 2011 iMac you are limited to USB2, Firewire 800, or Thunderbolt.

    In terms of speed
    - Thunderbolt is fastest
    - Firewire 800 is next (read speeds of about 80mbps)
    - USB2 is slowest (read speeds of 40mbps or so), but, once running is still quite usable.

    To create the clone, do this:
    - Have iMac up and running
    - Connect external drive
    - Launch CCC (or SuperDuper)
    - If using CCC, on the left, pick your source (iMac internal drive)
    - On the right, pick your target (external drive)
    - Choose to backup everything (if using CCC you can even clone recovery partition)
    - Let CCC do its thing

    When done, go to the Startup Disk pref pane, select the external drive as your booter, then reboot.

    Note: the external (once booted) will look EXACTLY THE SAME on the desktop as did the internal. You have to verify that you're externally booted by going to "About this Mac" under the Apple menu -- it tells you which drive is the boot drive.
     
  7. punkguins thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    #7
    OK. Can I now safely delete the apps on internal hard drive and reclaim that memory?
     
  8. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #8
    Is your external SSD bootable now?
    Did you copy everything to a backup drive?

    If yes you can delete them safely.
    I would recommend you to not delete the internal Recovery HD though.
     

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