How to backup/restore hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ericinboston, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. ericinboston macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008
    Hi all...I am a pc guru but not so technical with the Macs.

    I have a Mini with really only iPhoto and iDVD data on it. I want to replace the 160g drive with a 320g drive and of course keep the data.

    There are 2 options I'd entertain for this backup/restore situation:

    1)Figuring out how to export/save the iPhoto and iDVD stuff onto an external hard drive, install the the new drive, re-install all the software, and import the iPhoto and iDVD stuff. I would imagine this option, if possible, would be the easiest and likely fastest solution.

    2)Clone the 160g drive somewhere, install the 320g, and restore the clone to the new 320g. This option I am quite familiar with in the pc world by using Norton Ghost.

    The Mini was purchased in Aug 2007 (right after the refresh) so it's not the latest Mac OS.

    Any tips or weblinks?

    Thanks so much in advance!

  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I use Carbon Copy Cloner, but Superduper is good, too. Just make sure you initialize your new drive with a GUID partition table using Disk Utility and boot from it before transplanting it into your Mac. That helps to isolate any problems from the cloning process.
  3. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Agree with this.

    Using CCC or SD to clone to external after partitioning with a GUID partition table.

    After cloning, boot to the external to verify that you have a good clone.

    Then swap the HDs.

    When all done, consider creating a backup strategy.
  4. ericinboston thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008
    Hi...thanks for the very fast reply! However, everything about about initializing is Greek to me. :)

    How do I initialize the drive? Disk Utility a software app on the Mac?

    How would I boot from the new drive if it's not installed (I am not buying an external hard drive case)?

    Just a few step-by-steps would be awesome.

  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I have a Universal Drive Adapter. One of the most handy devices I own. But you can get an external USB2 enclosure with an internal SATA interface for less.

    You need to connect the new drive to your Mini, then launch Disk Utility (path=Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities), select the drive (and NOT the partition that is below it and indented). Select the Partition tab and then choose 1 partition (or more, if you like) from the pull-down menu. If your Mini is Intel-based (and not a G4 Mini) it is essential that you set GUID from the Options button. After that, set to HFS+ with Journaling, name the volume and initialize.

    Next, download the free Carbon Copy Cloner and use it to clone your internal drive to the external drive. This can take a couple of hours, depending on how much stuff you have on your drive. After CCC is done, restart your Mac and as soon as you hear the chime, press and hold the Option key on the keyboard until you are presented with bootable volumes. Use the arrow keys to navigate to the USB volume that you named above and press enter. If it boots, then you know your cloning has succeeded and you can proceed with the transplant.
  6. ericinboston thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008

    Thanks again! And by the way, that Universal Drive Adapter is the bomb! I've been looking for something like that (no cases needed) for a long time...I would find similar items but they would only a fit 1 standard. I'm definitely buying this!

    And, unless there is some big reason not too...if I can choose to boot from an external USB, heck, why not just leave the darn 160g in there, always boot to an external? Well, I guess the speed would be restricted by USB 2.0. Too bad USB 3.0 is taking forever and a day to come to market.

  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    If you have a new Mini with FW800, then that would probably be perfectly fine. You could then buy a larger hard drive (3.5") in a fanless aluminum enclosure and it would be reasonably quiet (except for the drive's noise). Otherwise, a bus-powered 2.5" drive in a FW enclosure would be nearly silent (but more expensive per mb). I sure wouldn't use a USB2 drive as my boot drive. Way too slow.
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I didn't hear whether your Mini was a G4 or Intel, but only Intel Macs can boot through USB. All can boot through Firewire.

    I have to second the cloning idea. I also used Carbon Copy Cloner (SuperDuper is also supposed to be good) to clone my primary drive onto a new drive (after formatting/initializing, of course,) and tested it via USB external boot. It worked, so I swapped the drives. USB booting is fine for testing some things, but definitely isn't as good as either firewire, or just installing the drive. Also, no SMART verification via USB.

    Just clone, and swap. :)
  9. ericinboston thread starter macrumors 68000

    Jan 13, 2008

    Hi...sorry, I forgot to state that my Mac Mini is the Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz, 2GB ram, 160GB drive with OS X...purchased in mid August 2007 right after the Mini was refreshed...and as you know Apple just refreshed the Mini a few weeks ago.



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