Macbook HDD failure back up help

Discussion in 'macOS' started by therzbm, May 3, 2013.

  1. therzbm macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2011
    The hdd in my 2010 macbook pro died recently and I have just replaced it with an SSD and added 8gb of ram. Now I have a bit of a dilemma and cant figure out the best way to go about running my new mac mini alongside my macbook. Here are the details hopefully someone can come up with the best solution.

    My macbook will be running Snow Leopard (only install disc I have, its installing at the moment) and I want to upgrade it to Mountain Lion so it up to date with the new mac mini I have. My mac mini did not come with an install disc, so I was wondering if there was any way of using the copy of mountain lion I own for my mac mini and installing it on my macbook (I have read something about the app store and being able to download the installer when signed in but im not sure, I never used the app store until I was forced to on M lion on my mac mini).

    The other problem I have is that I have a time machine back up of my macbook (its a month or two out of date but no doubt has some meaningful files I would like to get back and possibly uni work) but I dont want to restore my laptop to how it was before because it was clogged up with loads of useless files and other stuff as well. I just want to be able to take any files I need from the time machine back up and put them on a fresh install and reinstall any apps.

    The final consideration I had was the possibility of making a copy of my mac minis drive and apps etc and restoring that to my macbook to save me reinstalling everything that is already on my mac mini. Would this be possible (after updating to mountain lion I assume?) as it would save me having to reinstall everything especially logic and all the content? one worry I have is about the plug ins and licences for certain software relating to logic and that they will not work without reactivation (though this would still end up being easier than reinstalling all my apps, logic etc).

    So can anyone give come up with the best way to go about this? I cant think of the best way to go about it all. To sum it up I just want to upgrade it to mountain lion, hopefully get back anything I can from my time machine back up (without restoring my macbook to how it was before) and get all my apps etc on to it so it is up to date with what is on my mac mini.

    A final question (sorry) how difficult would it be to plug in the drive that died to my pc and try to retrieve the files off it that way? I know that mac file systems are different but i had a program that allowed me to read mac file systems on my pc so is this an option. the drive was sluggish for a few days and made loads of clicking noises then one night it gave up and froze repeatedly in os x and then on restarting a few times it wouldnt load into os x at all and would just click and sound like it was struggling, is there any hope left or is it totally dead?

    sorry for the huge amount of questions and text, just figured it would be easier to answer with more info. thanks!
  2. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    Do you have a FireWire or Thunderbolt cable at hand, if so you can do a nice "trick".
    Connect both Mini and Macbook with one of the Cables, start the mini in Target Disk Mode by holding the T key at startup, wait until you see the Icon on the display.
    Next startup the Macbook by holding the Command key, wait until the boot manager arrives, you will see the Mini's drive in the boot screen, choose the drive and hit Enter, if all is well (Has to be on 10.8.3) it will boot, login and see if it works well.
    If that is the case you can use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the Mini's drive to the Macbook's HD.:D
    When done reboot the macbook and see if it worked, should boot into the OS.
    There could be some problems with caches although I doubt it.

    That's that, if that worked you have a copy from the Mini on your Macbook, now, about your TimeMachine, you should be able to cherry pick Apps and data but I never used TimeMachine, others could provide you with this question.

    About the "dead" HD, you could connect it to the Macbook in an external case, if it does not mount you can't recover anything there, you might have more luck on the PC side although I doubt it.
  3. therzbm, May 3, 2013
    Last edited: May 3, 2013

    therzbm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2011
    Cheers for the reply. I have firewire cables but only a 400 cable and an 800 to 400 cable for connecting my soundcard, no 800 to 800 cable unfortunately. Also would that technique require my laptop to already have mountain lion installed or not? Am i understanding this correctly, I basically will be booting my macbook up but telling it to run my minis hd to check everything will work, then just will be copying a mirror image of the minis drive to my macbook ssd?

    and would this require purchasing carbon copy cloner? as £25 is a lot and im a poor student haha also the reason i stated putting in the dead hd in my computer as id say the data on the hd isnt worth buying an external caddy or anything to try and retrieve. i think i will just plug it into the pc see if theres any life in it after sorting out the os and apps/time machine situation.

    edit: also ive just logged into my app store account but cant see anything about mountain lion? i understand it cant physically ship with my mac mini as it has no dvd drive. ive read the licence agreement and it states it can be installed multiple times on machines i own, and as it was part of my mac mini purchase surely i own a copy that could be installed on to my macbook? so where is my copy? how would i reinstall mountain lion if my mac mini hd died? (sorry for more questions) basically i dont want to pay for mountain lion when surely i already own it?
  4. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    You Macbook will be booting from the Mini, no need for Mountain Lion on the Macbook, you could even boot from the Mini without an OS on the Macbook.
    You do not need to buy Carbon Copy Cloner, it is free up until 3.4.7, but I would first download the latest version, it will work as a trail and there is an option in the later CCC to also copy the Recovery partition.

    There are also cheap USB to SATA converters on Ebay, instead of a caddy.

    As cheap as a few dollars.


    There are tricks, you need to start from Recovery on the Mini, Install Mountain Lion on a HD and when it finishes force quit the installer, then there should be a folder with the installer on the disk you wanted to install to.
    Next you need to use Lion Disk Installer to make a USB (stick) Installer, when finished you can use that stick to install ML on the MacBook.

    You can read more about this here:

    Create a bootable Lion install drive for newer Macs

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