Newbie Question: Replace HDD, but what about OS?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Maverick68, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. Maverick68 macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2009
    After 20 years of PCs, I am researching a move to a Mac Mini. Although I don't need more space, I am interested in adding a faster (more RPM and cache) hard drive. Thinking about the WD Scorpio Blue 500GB. I mean for $90, why wouldn't I do it!

    I am comfortable cracking the case and installing it. My question is loading the OS (Snow Leopard) and any other pre-installed software (I am planning to upgrade the HDD prior to use).

    What does it take to load the OS? I am almost expecting someone to say: "insert CD, click prompts, watch progress bar". :D

    Is it that simple?
  2. newfoundglory macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
  3. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Buddy, just lay down and relax...message away the Windows mentality... :eek:

    There, better?

    In the Apple world, yes it is just that easy. Once you've installed the drive and buttoned her up, start up the computer holding the Option key and insert a CD at about the same time. Within about 30 seconds the CD will be a selectable option on the boot menu, just click it and a pretty Apple will show up the same way it does every time you start up. Then you will use the Disk Utility in the installer to format the new internal drive to GUID Partition Table and Mac OS Extended (Journaled) which takes all but 40-60 seconds.

    After that you quit Disk Utility and continue with the install. Be sure to keep an eye out for the easy-to-miss "Customize" buttons as it is at this point you can tell it to bugger off the Languages and Fonts and Printer drivers to make the install lighter and faster.

    Wait 40 minutes and presto.

    Of course if you make a Time Machine backup BEFORE you replace the internal hard drive you can restore ALL your information and settings after you finish installing Snow Leopard, you won't miss a beat.

    To be honest, I've restored with Time Machine probably 4 times. You could throw my MacBook out the window and replace it, use Time Machine to recover the data and settings and I wouldn't know the all...SERIOUSLY!

    Welcome to the MacOS ;)
  4. Maverick68 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 7, 2009
    That is awesome. Reloading my windows machine is about a day process to load the OS, Apps, 1001 Windows Updates and such. :eek:

    I heard the guy at the Apple store mention time machine. Is that where I connect an external drive to the machine and run that software to take frequent backups? Can I use the factory 120GB drive I am taking out for that (assuming I have to buy a drive enclosure of some sorts).

    Any concerns with this replacement drive (don't really need 500GB, but the 7200RPM and 16MB Cache looks interesting): All for $75. Amazing.
  5. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    You can use the factory drive in an enclosure for time machine but 120 GB isn't going to get you very far, especially with 320-500 GB inside.

    Also, you should be happy with the Scorpio Black in your link--you'll find lots of positive experiences listed in these forums. I looked at these, opted for the Seagate Momentus (can't recall exactly why I choose one over the other) and it's worked beautifully in my mini. If you are looking for higher RPM than standard, stay away from the Scorpio Blue as they are 5400 RPM drives, same as stock drive in mini.
  6. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Your Time Machine drive will need to be equal or larger than your internal drive.

    Yes it takes a snapshot every hour that the drive is plugged in, or will back up each time you plug the drive in. Then of course you can restore individual files at any time or the whole system.

    Time Machine has been a MAJOR life saver in my experiences, all-in-all when I switched to MacOS last year my only regret now is that I didn't switch sooner :p
  7. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    Seagate Momentus 7200.4 isn't much more expensive than the Scorpio Blue.
  8. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    Yep, did the time machine restore when I upgraded my MBP drive to 500GB. Works perfectly. Did it again recently and it only took about 3hrs. Much more convenient than trying to reinstall all the programs and setting up email and everything.

    If you're getting it brand new then it won't matter much. Just do a regular install. Insert CD, click button, watch progress bar :D (actually it's the same thing for time machine restore except the added step of plugging in backup drive).
  9. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    psing, with a new drive you must first install the Operating System before you can do the Time Machine restore so it's not the same :p

    There's 3 ways to go about it.

    1. Install the OS on the new drive and start from scratch.
    2. Install the OS and then plug in the Time Machine drive to restore
    3. Install the OS and plug in the OLD drive and use "restore from another drive on this mac"

    The 3rd option will get you back on track without needing any other drives :p
  10. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    No you don't. Boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and select restore from Time Machine. It's one of the menu options. I just did it like 2 weeks ago and while my drive was not "new" it was formatted so it might as well have been. Besides it makes no sense to have to install first. What if you restore from a different version of the OS?
  11. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Ah I see :p

    What are you doing backing up the System files? I exclude system files to save space! These are files that shouldn't be changed to begin with so why back them up?

    It goes without saying that if you're like me and don't back up system files then you can't completely restore with time machine :p

    Also, I backed up in Leopard and then restored in an install of Snow Leopard and it was seamless...
  12. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    So I don't have to install the OS first before restoring :p

    I have a 1TB drive so it has plenty of space for my backups. It already came in handy when upgrading to Snow Leopard. The upgrade deleted my quicktime mpeg2 plugin, so I had to go back in time to get it.

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