How to move OS X from HDD to SSD?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by DennisMadsen, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. DennisMadsen macrumors regular

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    #1
    My iMac is currently backup on my Time Capsule. I've been talking to a Apple Certified Macintosh Technician who is able to install a SSD into my mid 2011 iMac 27". The original harddrive will remain in the iMac.

    After the SSD has been installed, I would like to setup OS X Lion using the backup on my Time Capsule. If I do so, will the restore process place the files on the original harddrive? I would like to place all OS X files on my SSD, but some large libraries (music, pictures, eyeTV etc.) are to big to be stored on the SSD. Are there any way that I can restore my backup on the SSD but place some folders on the original HDD?

    Another approach is to clone my HDD to the SSD before installing it in the iMac. This required that the cloning process can exclude some folders (my large libraries). Is that possible? What will happen when the SSD is installed? How can I tell my Mac to boot from the SSD and not the HDD?

    It's clear that it would be a lot easier to just make a clean install, but I think that I'll wait until OS X Mountiain Lion is released.
     
  2. jnl1211 macrumors 6502

    jnl1211

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    #2
    Install Lion to SSD
    Don't restore from backup.
    Once in Lion go into time machine and copy everything over. Make sure to set the SSD as boot disk in System Preferences. Then use disk utility to erase the HDD and copy your larger stuff to it, using it just for storage.
     
  3. DennisMadsen thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #3
    Thanks for your reply.

    What if I do the following:

    1) Create a new Time Machine Backup without my large libraries (iTunes, EyeTV, iPhoto etc.)
    2) Copy the large libraries to another storage
    2) Send my iMac to the Macintosh Technician
    3) Install Lion to the SSD with restoring from the above backup
    4) Format my HDD.
    5) Copy the large libraries to the root of the HDD
    6) Point iTunes, EyeTV, iPhoto etc. to use the library files on the HDD.

    Could this be done? I'm not sure, if item 3 is possible. When I insert my Lion disk and tries to restore the OS from the Time Capsule, would I be able to tell it to install the OS from my backup on my SSD -- and not the HDD from where the backup was taken?
     
  4. jnl1211 macrumors 6502

    jnl1211

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    #4
    Yeah, you can restore from the backup and that shouldnt be a problem. I dont know how you pick and choose what doesn't get backed up or doesn't

    As far as apps, you can point them where to look so that shouldn't be an issue at all.
     
  5. DennisMadsen thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    And I can tell the install to place the backup on the SSD and not the original HDD from there the backup was taken?
     
  6. jnl1211 macrumors 6502

    jnl1211

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    #6
    The restore will restore the backup to whichever hard drive youre finishing up the install on.

    So yes, if you install Lion on SSD then it will be restored to the SSD in the last steps of setup.
     
  7. DennisMadsen thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    I'm not talking about the Time Machine inside Lion, but the restore OS X from Timcapsule Backup, when you run the Lion installer CD.
     
  8. MacManiac76 macrumors 65816

    MacManiac76

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    #8
    Yes you can. It doesn't matter what drive the backup originally came from. Lion will install all your backup files and settings onto whatever drive you choose as your destination drive during the install process.
     
  9. jnl1211 macrumors 6502

    jnl1211

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    #9
    Yes. It'll ask where to find the backup. From another mac, from a backup, from a hard drive, etc.
     
  10. DennisMadsen thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Do I need to format the entire old HDD or can I just delete the files from the drive? I assume that Mac OS X has created an hidden partition on my HDD with the OS X Lion Recovery, right? If that's right, I maybe need to format the entire drive to get rid of this? I assume that the installing process will install a new OS X Recovery on the SSD drive, when I install OS X on it. Right?
     
  11. behomebased macrumors newbie

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    Apr 18, 2012
    #11
    This is extremely simple

    1. Download Carbon Copy Cloner (it's FREE), and install on old hard drive
    2. attach new hard drive, can be internally or external
    3. OS X will tell you you attached a drive it can't read and will automatically start Disk Utility for you (this utility is under Applications, then Utilities)

    4. Select the new drive in Left panel, and erase near middle top
    5. defaults are fine (journaled is the default)
    6. give it a new name (bottom box) like NewSSD, MyMACssd, something obvious
    7. click erase near bottom right
    8. close Disk Utility when finished (a few seconds)

    9. Run Carbon Copy Cloner (I will call it CCC from now on) (it's under your applications)

    10. choose your old hard drive as the SOURCE, top left
    11. choose your SSD as destination (top right)
    12. on the left middle area, uncheck any large data folders. You can use Finder and Get Info to confirm this. Use a pen and paper to confirm you are leaving off enough data to fit on the new SSD.

    13. accept the rest of CCC's defaults (i.e. don't change the settings)
    14. click on Clone (bottom right) this may run 45 minutes to several hours depending on whether both drives are internal or one is connected with Thunderbolt, USB or Firewire, and the amount of data you are copying.

    15. You can now replace your old hard drive with your SSD.
    16. if you are using LION, you can just go into System Preferences -> System -> Startup Disk and choose the new SSD as the Startup Disk and you don't have to change any drive positions if both are already setup internally

    ** For anyone one who tells you this doesn't work, I just last evening cloned a 1TB drive with 250GB of data onto a 120GB SSD. I have done similar clones hundreds of times (most just to a newer and larger regular hard drive, but more than 10 times to SSd's.)

    This may SEEM like a lot of steps, and the first time you do it you will probably go quite slowly (cautiously). This is very simple though. I allow CCC to run everyday during lunch to clone my SSD's back to the old drive. Since 98% of the files are already on the old drive, this takes less than a minute, and if any drive every fails on me, I can just boot and run off the 2nd drive with no files lost.

    - I have over 700 Macs that I support, consult on, running this way, and clients are amazed I can have them up and running in a few minutes after a hard drive failure (so far no SSD's have failed on me, only the older style)

    Hope this helps. I'll check the thread later to see if you have questions.
     
  12. jnl1211 macrumors 6502

    jnl1211

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    #12
    When you go to install Lion open disk utility and erase the old HDD
     
  13. HoosierInFL macrumors regular

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    #13
    How do you install Lion on the second drive from scratch without a DVD of it?
     
  14. jnl1211 macrumors 6502

    jnl1211

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    #14
  15. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Everyone seems to be overcomplicating this.

    Install lion on SSD
    Boot into SSD lion
    Use migration assistant to move documents and settings from either time machine or HDD lion disk.
     
  16. shammer8 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 21, 2012
    #16
    is there any way to select which components of a user's folder to move over in migration assistant? i have a 120gb ssd that i'm trying to move my user settings, applications, and a select few files onto, but my problem with migration assistant is that i have a 312 gb user folder, and don't see any options for choosing which parts to move over. i am basically trying to set up the ssd as a boot drive/cache and application drive, but i would really like the benefits of having a clean install. ideally i would have all of my settings, my same dock, desktop, menu bar, etc. with a fresh and uncluttered system. then i would eventually pair down my HDD to my large movie/photo/music libraries. the only reason i didn't do carbon copy clone from the beginning was because the idea of a clean install was appealing (until i realized how hard it is to get the exact user experience back, without a full clone). any help would be appreciated, thanks!
     
  17. shammer8 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 21, 2012
    #17
    i'm thinking of doing this, but i only have a 120gb ssd, and my user folder is over 300gb. is there anyway to tell timecapsule to put all the necessary items to make my ssd a boot drive, contain my applications, and home folder, but have it put my media libraries on my hdd? if i try to wipe the entire computer (both ssd and hdd) and do a clean reinstall from timecapsule what will it do about the fact that my user folder is bigger than the ssd?
     
  18. MacManiac76 macrumors 65816

    MacManiac76

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    #18
    If your user folder is bigger than your destination drive, then the install will not let you continue until you deselect some stuff to get it under the 120GB. You can tell the install not to transfer over your media files and then later manually move those files over to your HDD after OS X is done installing on your SSD.
     
  19. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I think you could do a clean install then set up the user from the home account still stored on your old HD?

    Maybe this might be some help?
    http://macs.about.com/od/diyguidesprojects/qt/Move-Your-Home-Folder-To-A-New-Location.htm
     
  20. DennisMadsen thread starter macrumors regular

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    #20
    What I did was that I (re)moved my large libraries and files from my HDD and created a clean, new backup in Time Machine.

    Please note, that I first created a clean backup where I just excluded the large files from Time Machine but this does not work, as the restore process check the size of all files for the last backup (including the size of the excluded files and folders). Because of this, although the size of the backup was small enough to be stored on my SSD, the restore process would not allow me to do it. The solution was to remove the excluded files from the HDD and make a backup again.
     
  21. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Detroit
    #21
    I have found creating a "fresh" TM backup just for migration to be an excellent approach. Over the years, I've upgraded many Macs. I used to use Migration Asssistant and later Time Machine but now I almost exclusively use CCC. I should add, in case it's not obvious, that CCC isn't magic. It doesn't "cram" 170 gig of stuff onto a 128 gig SSD but it does omit logs and temp files so it makes it easier to fit stuff onto an SSD. I've also used Crashplan for migration when the TM backup of the machine in question got corrupted. I was SO glad I had an off-site crashplan backup of my wife's data. :eek:
     
  22. shammer8 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 21, 2012
    #22
    Success!!! (almost)

    I found a solution that seems to work very well (so far). I did a clean install, and then used migration assistant to move my applications, settings, desktop, and documents over to my new ssd boot drive. i then went in and symlinked my music, movies, pictures, downloads and a few other large folders to my ssd. I found an excellent guide on how to do this here., but because this guide was written for someone who was moving excess data from a pre-existing SSD user account to an HDD data drive (the reverse of my case) i had to experiment a bit. This video showed me the easiest way to make symlinks without using terminal, but i still had to use terminal to delete the blank default media folders on my SSD (it doesn't allow you to have two Pictures folders in the users folder, for instance). the only way i found to delete these folders was from terminal.

    I only decided to go the symlink route After reading Matt Gemmell's article on how to best link the SSD to the HDD (using the same basic idea as the first guide I linked to). Although it may seem ver complicated, the process is fairly simple when you finally get it, and it seems to have some distinct advantages over the other configuration options out there. Symlinking large media directories, and other large and/or infrequently accessed files to the HDD, while leaving the home folder and on the SSD is the best option in my opinion because unlike putting the home folder on the HDD, the SSD is allowed to function as a cache, application, and system drive which allows you to take full advantage of the speed increase.

    The only part that I haven't figured out quite yet, is now to get my new symlinked movies/pictures/downloads folders to show up on the sidebar of my finder with the icons that OS X normally has for these media folders (the film strip, camera, download arrow, etc.). It's not a big deal at all, and I know that it has something to do with deleting the original (empty) movies/pictures/downloads folders that were on my SSD after the media-free migration (it made default empty folders). I had to delete the default folders so that I could put the renamed symlink ones in the user account. I renamed them from what the symlink creator called them, to their normal name (i.e. "music symlink" became "Music" in my user folder). The odd part is that in the finder preferences, under the sidebar tab, the various files have their appropriate icons, but when I check them, then just show up as blank folders on the side, no icons. I am obviously nit-picking, and don't REALLY care, as long as it all works, but I would prefere the icons, if truth be told. I can, however, say that I now have the speed of an SSD in most situations, with a full 500gb of extra space, and it's MUCH faster than my old setup... Well worth the effort, in my view! (now i just hope timecapsule agrees with my setup decision... i have no clue how the backup will work)
     
  23. HoosierInFL macrumors regular

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    Jun 9, 2007
    #23
    Just reporting my experience. I just bought a new 27" iMac with a 1tb drive. I bought an SSD separately and installed it with the OCW kit as a second drive. I then used CMD-R at boot to go into Lion Recovery. I then told it to re-install Lion and selected the new SSD drive as destination. It installed Lion on it and made it the default boot drive. Easy.
     
  24. oleus macrumors newbie

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    Mar 29, 2012
    #24
    quick question

    if i am buying a SSD kit that comes with a usb enclosure for my original drive, can't I just install the SSD with nothing on it and boot up and recover the OSX from the new external usb drive (enclosing the original OEM internal disk)??
     
  25. musukosan, Oct 7, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012

    musukosan macrumors regular

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    #25
    I know this thread is a few months old but I thought I might sum up some of the questions people are having by sharing my own experience. I installed an SSD in my late 2009 27" iMac (replaced the optical drive). Here's what happened.

    • After I installed the SSD and put the computer back together I started it up.
    • Upon startup, Mountain Lion told me the SSD was not formated.
    • I opened Disk Utility and formatted the SSD (choose Erase) as Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
    • After about 2 seconds the drive was formatted. I then opened the App store, went to my purchased apps, and clicked 'Download' under Mountain Lion. It asked for a confirmation and I agreed.
    • After it downloaded, I ran the app right from Finder.
    • During installation it asked me what drive I wanted to install ML, I choose the SSD.
    • After a few minutes, ML needed to reboot.
    • After reboot ML continued installing. Took about 20 minutes.
    • After installation was complete the computer rebooted. It automatically booted from the SSD (I never told it to).
    • Migration Assistant opened up. I was able to choose which users, if I wanted to restore apps, and what folders I wanted to restore.
    • I couldn't choose specific files, but next to each folder is the folder size. I choose the folders that I wanted to put on the SSD, as long as they woud fit.
    • After migration was complete the computer booted into the SSD installation of ML. Everything looked exactly the same as it did before I did the install. Even my tabs in chrome opened the way I left them. All my apps seemed to be unaffected (I have not tested them all).
    • I then started moving files from the folders that were too large in MA. Such as my Aperture library (referenced), desktop pics, etc.

    I plan to use Symlinks for downloads, music, etc. I just haven't got that far. This process was by far easier than I expected. I didn't not expect Migration Assistant to do such a great job. There are some things to still move over, but it's totally worth the effort. And I'm loving the speed!

    EDIT: I wanted add, incase you didn't catch it - this was done in Mountain Lion, not Lion. Which this thread is obviously based in. So i'm not sure how MA is different between the two version of OS X.
     

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