Making a partition for Storing Files?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by amitabhbansal, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. amitabhbansal macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2011
    Delhi, India
    I have a intel based macbook pro 17inches, which came preinstalled with Snow Leopard, its a 500GB hdd, and i want to make a partition for storing my files/data to the next partition so that i can perform a clean installation of lion.
    Please guide me as i am a new user of mac.
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    "I have a intel based macbook pro 17inches, which came preinstalled with Snow Leopard, its a 500GB hdd, and i want to make a partition for storing my files/data to the next partition so that i can perform a clean installation of lion.
    Please guide me as i am a new user of mac."

    You _can_ do this on the internal drive.

    But -- I would suggest a better way (It will cost you about $75-100, but the money will be well-spent).

    Get an external drive of about 1tb in size, partition it into (at least) 2 partitions, and do a "bootable clone" of your current OS (Snow Leopard) to one of the partitions. This can then serve as a semi-permanent "archive" of your old OS. And you can use the _other partition_ to backup your new Lion OS. You will then be "backed up twice".

    Here's what you need:
    1. One of these:
    (many items shown, they all work the same, just pick one that's cheap, you don't need to spend more than $20-30)

    2. Then, get a "bare hard drive" (1tb size would be good) from any vendor you wish (I like Seagate drives from

    3. Then, download the free "CarbonCopyCloner" from:

    You now have the tools to create bootable backups that will be exactly like your internal drive. Once you have this, you will have an quick way to boot up your Mac if for some reason you can't boot from the internal drive.

    Once you have the stuff above, do this:
    1. Hook the dock up to the Mac, put the drive in it, turn it on (Note: it's not initialized yet, so it won't show up on the desktop)
    2. Open "Disk Utility". Select the new (not-yet-initialized) drive on the left
    3. On the right, choose "partition". You can set it up with as many as you wish. For a 1tb drive, you might do with either 2 or 3 partitions (one partition to archive your old OS, one to serve as a backup of Lion, and the 3rd as "scratch space")
    4. Get the drive partitioned and you will see the new icons on the desktop. Make sure each partition has a distinct name that is DIFFERENT from the internal drive.
    5. Launch CarbonCopyCloner. You will see that it has basically 2 "panels" (left and right)
    6. In the left panel, select your internal drive.
    7. In the right panel, select your backup partition for Snow Leopard
    8. Toward the lower right, select the popup that says "maintain a backup (no archiving)"
    9. Click ok and enter your password. It will take a little while to complete, because CCC is copying EVERYTHING from your internal to the backup.
    10. When done, TEST your backup volume by restarting and invoking the Startup Manager.
    10a. Restart, then
    10b. As soon as you hear the startup sound, hold down the option key and KEEP HOLDING IT DOWN
    10c. In a few seconds, you will see icons of both your internal drive and the cloned backup appear on the desktop
    10d. Use the left/right arrow key to move between icons (you can also use the mouse pointer). Select the backup and hit the enter/return key
    10e. The computer will now boot from your BACKUP volume (instead of the internal drive). IMPORTANT -- because it's a clone, when you get to the desktop, it should look EXACTLY THE SAME as your internal, and it may be hard to tell the difference. You can verify which volume is the startup drive by choosing "About this Mac" under the Apple menu. (HINT: I give my backups a different desktop picture so I can tell them from my internal drive)
    10f. When done, just restart and you will again boot from the internal drive.

    You are now "fully backed up" and can install Lion as you wish.

    You _might_ consider doing a completely "fresh" Lion install to one of the empty partitions on the backup drive. When prompted, migrate your accounts and data from your internal drive.

    The advantage is that you will have a fully-functioning Lion drive to check out BEFORE you put Lion onto your internal.
    When you want Lion on your internal, just use Disk Utility to erase your internal drive (while booted from the docked drive) and "clone over" Lion to the internal.

    Sorry for the length.
    But try the suggestions above, I'll bet they work fine for you.
  3. -tWv-, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

    -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    ** Disclaimer: You should always have a backup before doing any sort of disk management/partitioning**

    - Go into disk utility (Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility)
    - Click on your hard drive (The physical drive not the volume)
    - Go to partition tab
    - Hit the little + button at the bottom left
    - Specify the size of the new partition and make it Mac OS Extended format
    - Hit the "partition" button

    You should now have two partitions, one with your snow leopard OS and one that is blank that you can move files to. Move the files you need to the new partition, then...

    - After you have moved your files, you should burn a Lion install disk (Follow this guide) and boot to the disc.
    - Before installing Lion with the disc, go into disk utility and erase the previous Snow Leopard partition so that you can have a clean install (MAKE SURE YOU ERASE THE RIGHT ONE!)
    - You erase it by clicking on the volume and going to the "Erase" tab

    - Go to the lion installer and install Lion to the previous SL partition
    - After the installer has finished, it will boot to the Lion install
    - Now you either have the option of keeping the files on that partition, or moving them back and deleting the partition

    1) If you want to leave them there, then leave them
    2) If you want to move them back, move all the files back to the locations you want them, then...
    - Go into disk utility again, click on the partition tab
    - Select the now empty partition
    - Hit the minus button and then hit "partition"
    - after it has deleted the partition, drag your Lion partition to the full size of the disk, and then hit "apply"

    You are done! You can now use Lion on a clean install!
  4. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Though I did not read through all of the posters above posts they have some good advice. What I do is I set up a 1TB External with two partitions. 1st Partition is 350GB which I use for Time Machine and the other is 650GB which I use for Media content primarily movies and TV shows in high definition Mkv format. Some don't like the idea of having time machine and my media on one drive but I do not have the drive running all the time so It should be fine.
  5. zjazz macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2011
    Or maybe you can just backup everything with time machine on external HD, then erase your SL, do clean Lion install from DVD, and then merge your data with time machine. Isn't this the easiest way to do a clean install. Or am I missing something?
  6. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    You are right, that is the easiest way, I was just answering his question on what he planned to do. Using time machine/migration assistant is the simplest way, it requires almost no work at all.
  7. -aggie- macrumors P6


    Jun 19, 2009
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    This is what I have done in the past and it works flawlessly.
  8. zjazz macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2011
    Thanks, yeah that's what I thought, it's the easiest way, and should be safe with TimeMachine. I'm planning to do a clean install of Lion (not cloning my HD) when I get new HD.:)
  9. Phlebas8717, Jul 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011

    Phlebas8717 macrumors newbie


    Jul 19, 2011
    Using Time Machine is incredibly easy, but it isn't quite a true clean install. You are still bringing over a lot of stuff from your old install that you may not need or want.
  10. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    Instead of using migration assistant I just manually copied the things I wanted to have, and left the rest of it behind. I had so much clutter on my old machine it's really nice to not have that anymore

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