HD Upgrade using time machine?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 15, 2012

I have a MBP and its sadly running out of HD space.
I intend to buy a new HD, and just fit it myself.

However, is there an easy way to copy my current HD onto the new HD using time machine?

ie if i do a complete time machine backup, change the HD, can I restore directly from the time machine backup onto the newer, bigger disk?

Im running snow leopard, if that makes a difference!

Many thanks.


Nov 28, 2010
Yes, you can. Even faster is to buy the new HDD, put it into an enclosure for 2.5" HDDs connectable via USB (cost 10+ €) and use CarbonCopyCloner to clone the internal HDD to the new HDD, then make the switch and use the old HDD as another storage or backup device.
MacBook, MacBook Pro: Replacing the Hard Disk Drive, transferring data to the new HDD

the guide includes:
  • 0. Identify your MacBook or MacBook Pro
  • 1. Getting a new HDD
  • 2. Guides to replace the internal HDD with a newer one
  • 3. Transferring data from the old HDD to the new HDD
  • 4. Using the optical disk drive (ODD) slot for placing an SSD or HDD inside the MB/P (OPTIBAY)
Nov 28, 2010
According to this OWC link you can even do it directly from OSX. Not sure what the differences are.
While you clone, you can still use your Mac and don't have downtime. A clone also copies faster than the restore function.
And a bootable clone also has the added functionality of troubleshooting your Mac if something happens to your internal HDD (getting corrupt, being unbootable and so on).


macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
"if i do a complete time machine backup, change the HD, can I restore directly from the time machine backup onto the newer, bigger disk?"

Do it this way:

First, get one of these devices:
(some cost only about $20, and will remain useful to keep your old drive in, after it is swapped out)

Once you have the replacement drive, do this:
1. Put it into the dock and connect the dock to the Mac
2. Use Disk Utility to initialize the new drive
3. Use CarbonCopyCloner to do a "full clone" of your [old] internal drive to the new, docked drive
4. Once the clone is done, DO A TEST BOOT to be sure that it -is- in fact bootable and that it -is- an "exact clone" of your old drive. To do that, restart, and as soon as you hear the startup sound, hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN. In a few moments, the Startup Manager will appear and you can select the docked drive as your boot choice.
5. If it's a good clone, the Mac will now boot from the docked [new] drive. When you get to the Finder, go to "About this Mac" and check to be sure that the docked drive is indeed the drive you are booted up from, as it will look EXACTLY like the old drive.
6. NOW, it's time to do the drive swap, because you have the cloned and tested drive all ready to go.

Once the old drive is swapped out, you can keep using it with the dock as your backup. Just use CCC to do an "incremental backup" from the new internal drive to the old internal docked drive. This is better than Time Machine because you will always have at-hand a second, fully bootable drive for emergencies. You CAN'T BOOT from a Time Machine backup...


macrumors newbie
Mar 14, 2012
Excellent info Fishrman!

Can anyone recommend an external enclosure that will take my momentus XT 750GB drive to clone to before putting into my mac?

I ask, as most of the enclosures I have looked at have a 500gb limit. Like this one...


I would rather get an enclosure than the doc station that you have linked to as then I can use my old 300gb HD from my MBP as another external storage device.