Migrating system from HDD to SSD+HDD setup

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Rich-GB, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Rich-GB macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    I am about to add an SSD to my MBP (15-inch Early 2011, 2.2 GHz i7/750GB HDD/8GB RAM), and move the HDD to an OptiBay. I have purchased a Samsung 830 256 GB, but have >400GB used space on my HDD, so cannot just clone this to the SSD. I want to have the OSX system, apps and Parallels VMs on the SSD, and only the /Users/ files on the HDD.

    Reading advice on this forum, I have come up with the process below, but it’s my first time doing anything this disruptive with my MBP so I’m looking for a sanity check before I proceed. As the price of SSDs drops, I’m sure there will be more like myself contemplating this upgrade, so maybe this list will be helpful to others too.
    1. Backup with Time Machine
    2. Connect SSD by USB and format with Disc Utility
    3. Replace HDD with SSD, boot with CRTL-R and clean install Lion with Lion Recovery
    4. Fit OptiDrive with HDD
    5. Boot while holding down the Option key and select SSD as startup drive
    6. Copy everything not in /Users/ on MacintoshHD (basically just Applications and Library folders) from HDD to SSD
    7. Reformat HDD and restore /Users/ folders to HDD from Time Machine backup
    8. Re-designate my Home folder as being on the HDD
    9. Move Parallels 6 VMs to SSD using the method here
    11. Enable Trim for the SSD using the method here

    My questions:
    Is step 3. going to be possible on a machine where Lion (10.7.0) was installed over from SL, and then incrementally upgraded with each 10.7.x release to 10.7.4?

    In Step 6. should I just copy (or move) files/folders, or should I use Migration Assistant?

    Does the process described above cause any files to be missed (I only see the folders named above listed on my existing HDD)?

    Any comments or further advice greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks
  2. mohsy90 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2011
    New York
    Step 3: That won't be possible because you are using an after market SSD that did not come with a recovery partition to install Lion. I suggest you create a bootable lion install USB . Then just plug it in and hold down option on boot and you can format the SSD through disk utility and then install Lion. No need to plug it via a USB and do it in step 2.

    I am not too familiar with the rest of the process, especially concerning moving applications and user files.
  3. Lance-AR macrumors 6502

    May 7, 2012
    Little Rock, AR
    You may want to place the SSD into the ODD slot. I have read the HDD slot has better vibration reduction.
  4. InlawBiker macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2007
    I did the same process with my 2011, pretty much the same machine. Here are some general thoughts.

    - Make the USB recovery thumb drive first.
    - Make a Time Machine backup.
    - Get the correct tools, you'll need a 00 Phillips & T6 Torx driver. I bought a little kit at the hardware store.

    Here's how I would do it without getting into too much detail.

    1. Remove the HDD and install the SSD. This is simple. Boot off of the recovery USB thumb drive and restore the OS to the SSD. Now you have a clean installation. Make sure everything works before you do the Optical swap. Do one thing at a time.

    2. Now swap the Optical drive with the internal HDD. This is a little more complicated than the HDD, but follow the directions and you'll be fine. I found that a pair of tweezers came in handy.

    3. My preference for data migration is:
    #1 - Clean install. Re-install the apps from scratch if you can. This is better for apps like Office, but not iTunes or iPhoto where a migration assistant is much better so you don't lose historical data.
    #2 - Use a migration assistant wherever possible.
    #3 - Do drag n' drop migration as a last resort only.

    You should be fine because you have two intact copies of everything - on the original HDD and in Time Machine. But still be careful.


    Oh, also - turn off sudden vibration detection on the SSD. I had conflicting advice about TRIM. I left TRIM disabled and have had no issues, but it's only been a week.
  5. Rich-GB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    Many thanks for the replies.

    Will take account of the tips, and in the mean time I also found this thread, which is sooo helpful too.

  6. wethackrey macrumors 6502

    Feb 27, 2007
    Redondo Beach, California
    I'm not a big fan of doing full restores from Time Machine. I have what I think is a better approach, but it requires another HDD. Since drives are almost free these days, it may be a good solution for you. Use a new drive to move everything of your existing drive you don't want on the SSD. This will end up being your working HDD. Then use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your existing HDD, including the recovery partition, over to the new SSD. I'd then use the original HDD as an archival clone by resizing the boot partition down to the size of the SSD and adding a new partition for the /Users/ data.

    I ALWAYS keep an external drive around with a clone of my boot OS on it. This greatly speeds disaster recovery. Last fall, thieves broke into my rental car at a restaurant in Dallas and got away with three computers, one of which was my 17" MBP. Having a clone of my OS boot partition made Time Machine recovery of my /User data a snap. (I always keep data, including my user account data, separate from the boot partition.)
  7. Rich-GB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2011
    Thought it would be useful to add a postscript.

    Successfully installed the SSD a few days ago, with the original HDD in the optibay.

    All went as planned, though the optibay installation was more fiddly than I expected. My best advice is to take good heed of the tip in the post I linked to above, to use a lot of pressure undoing the tiny screws, and have those fine tweezers available!

    Used USB Lion Recovery, to do a clean install of Lion on the SSD, followed by a software update.

    Then used Migration Assistance to put apps, accounts and setting on to the SSD.

    Reformatted the HDD and restored music and picture from a NAS backup.

    Only real issue was that Parallels Desktop needed fresh install. Everything else transferred without issue with MA.

    Now have 140GB used on the 256GB SSD (glad I went for the larger one). This includes the system files, all my apps (incl. Office, Aperture, Parallels etc.) and WinXP and Ubuntu VMs.

    Getting 360 MB/s Writes and 480 MB/s Reads which seems typical of other reported speeds.

    Very happy so far.

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