Macbook hard disk swap

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by speed12, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. speed12 macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2008

    I'm looking to change my iMac to a MacBook in the next couple of weeks and have a question about swapping the hard disks.

    I'm going to have to sell my iMac before getting the MacBook so will have to back up all my data onto an external disk.

    My question; If i get an external 2.5" HDD (probably a disk and caddy) and back all the iMac info onto that, how would I go about making the change?

    I'm not talking physically how to, I mean how does it work in terms of formatting etc. From what I've found, the normal procedure would be backup data to external disk. Replace Macbook HDD. Format and install OSX to new HDD. Put data back on.

    But because the external disk, with backup data on, would be the one I would be putting in the new MacBook, obviously I can't format it when I install it as it will wipe all the data. I've thought of a couple of possible plans and would like your opinions/comments:

    1. Backup data onto new drive. Get new Macbook, copy data from new drive to Macbook drive. Swap drives and format the new one. Reload backup data from original drive (now external)

    2. When I backup my iMac, install OSX onto the new disk before so it is essentially ready to rock when put in the Macbook.

    No.2 would be the easiest I think, but is this even possible?

    Cheers in advance, any help appreciated!
  2. iwuzbord macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2008
    New York City
    well, i think that when you get the new macbook, you can use migration assistant to retrieve information from an external Time Machine Backup. That seems like the easiest solution to me.

    and then you could just do a fresh install of osx onto the drive in the imac.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    This is exactly how you'd want to go about doing it. It is the easiest way imho.

    However, I believe you can install OSX on that 2.5 you're talking about and just toss it in. For me, I'd just use the time machine bu.
  4. speed12 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2008
    Sorry, probably being mega stupid here, but what exactly would that entail doing?

    Because I will have to sell the iMac first for funds to get the MacBook, there will be no point where the two computers will actually meet each other which I think could be the problem in all this.

    To be fair, I've just realised that replacement drives are a bit cheaper than I thought and so it would actually be semi-feasible to just get two 320Gb HDD's backup to one, then when I get the MacBook, throw the other fresh one in and use that as the new internal drive. Be a bit more room to back up onto then....and I would also have a spare 160Gb external drive (with another caddy of course) that could come in handy....hmmmm.......

    But if you could explain the time machine method a bit more anyway that would be great!

  5. iwuzbord macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2008
    New York City
    well, if you did a FULL time machine system backup (of the imac) onto an external drive, and then did a fresh install of os x onto the imac, you could then sell the imac, purchase the macbook, then use migration assistant to retrieve the information from the external.

    imo, saving money would be the best bet. you already have a hard drive in the imac. instead of buying two more hard drives, just get a large external, do the former, and then continue to use the hard drive as a time machine backup drive.

    and thanks to jessica. for the kind words of agreement :D
  6. mrrish macrumors regular


    Feb 14, 2008
    i did the same thing as you. but took a time consuming route. When i got my new macbook i copied all the time machine data to my new computer. Then i swapped HD's and copied all the data back properly.
  7. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
    :confused: Lost me! :confused:

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