Order of operations

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ayres, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. ayres macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    hi all, i'm passing my 13mbp along to a family member and landing a 15mbp with a 500gb hd. but i've purchased a 1tb hd to install in it immediately. so my questions revolve around the best way to get my time machine backup from my current 13mbp to the new 1tb hd in the 15mbp. if i only need to do three steps instead of eight, that's the kind of advice i'm looking for.

    so, upon removing the 500gb hd and installing the blank hd, what should i do first?

    does it need to be formatted?

    if i have a wi-fi signal, do i press command-r upon powering?

    or do i connect my time machine backup and boot from it using migration assistant?

    i've never put an entirely blank hd into a mac, so i'm not sure of these first necessary steps. any help is appreciated.

  2. bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    I would start the New MBP to make sure it works properly out of the box.

    Remove internal drive and replace with 1TB drive.
    Start holding Apple-R.
    Use DiskUtility to format the drive.
    Install clean copy of Mountain Lion. (Wired rather than WIFI if possible for a bit of speed gain)
    Use Set Up Assistant to transfer all you want from your TimeMachine backups when you get to that part of the set up process.

    If you already have the drive but not the new MBP you can prepare by formatting the 1 TB drive and install a clean copy of Mountain Lion onto it. Don't start from that drive, however, until you put it into the new MBP - that way you'll benefit from using Set Up Assistant for transferring from TimeMachine during the first start up. Useful especially if you want to continue backing up with Time Machine to that same set of backups.

    A rough summary of tips found here:
  3. ayres thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    awesome! thanks for the response...

    so i should first install mtn lion using command r... before using migration assistant for the time machine backup? that's what i was thinking, but if there were a more novel way, i was curious to know...

    thanks for the idea... yeah, i've used pondini in the past for time machine technicalities, and the information is so thorough!

    i'll have the computer a few days before the hard drive arrives, so i'll make sure it operates smoothly before all else. and in fact, i'll have an enclosure for the 500gb drive, to then use as an external.

    thanks, and if anyone else wants to chime in, feel free...
  4. 725032 Guest


    Aug 5, 2012
    If you're asking all these questions do you really think you should be attempting this?
  5. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    Asking questions does not imply the lack of ability to perform the job. That is just common sense if you haven't done it before (or haven't done it recently). A HD backup/swap is pretty straight forward.

    Would you have the OP take it to an Apple store and pay to have the drive swapped? :confused:
  6. bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    That may be even better because it allows you to experiment a bit with the Set Up process as well.

    In your position I would probably start the new MBP and see what happens when you use Set Up Assistant to get whatever you want from your back-ups.
    If that all works smoothly you'll essentially have your MBP the way you want it -but on a slightly smaller drive- before the 1TB even arrives.

    When the 1TB drive arrives you can format it for use in a Mac and since the new drive will be used in that same MBP you can clone the 500GB drive directly onto the 1TB.
    Depending on the OS pre-installed on your new MBP when it arrives you may also be able to use the restore partition on that drive to initialise the entire process using command-r.
  7. 725032 Guest


    Aug 5, 2012
    Just asking the OP to think about this in full before rushing in to anything.

    If the OP wants to take it to Apple, thats up to him. You or I shouldnt be making that decision for him.
  8. ayres thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    here's what it comes down to...

    i'm not only getting the opportunity to get a new computer, but i also have a chance to bump my storage, too. storage is paramount. right now, i have 20gb left on my 500gb hd.

    moreover, by purchasing a third party hd and not doing the simpler option of just getting the 1tb bto route, i save $100, AND i get a 500gb hd that can be put in an enclosure and used as an external.

    so i know what i want, and i'm fairly technically minded... i have the tools... if i took the 3rd party drive to apple, would they install it for me? i assumed not...

    so, it makes sense to first ensure that the new computer is up to snuff, then receive the new drive, swap them, boot up and hit command + r, let it do whatever it needs doing. then upon set up later, use migration assistant to restore to the time machine backup!!!
  9. bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Not to belabour the point and it is perhaps a mere matter of terminology in this case but just want to point out that there are differences between Set Up Assistant and Migration Assistant. Referencing: http://pondini.org/OSX/Setup.html
  10. ayres thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    the one caveat in all of this is the blank drive... that's what is confusing me... I've done migration before from one mbp to another...

    in essence, can I install the blank, unformatted 1tb hd and go staight into migration assistant using a tm backup? or does it need to have mtn lion properly installed first?
  11. bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    It seems straightforward but there are always variables. Some that will only be known to you. Or will be known to you initially because you may post details later that change what I or anyone else might suggest.

    If you begin from an empty, unformatted disk you need at the very least Disk Utility to format that drive before you can install any Mac System onto it.

    Should you attempt this from a completely empty disk by starting your new MBP with cmd+r with the empty disk inside you can get into DiskUtility first - because that ability is in Firmware these days - but after that the only way to go directly to your TimeMachine Backups is the option "Restore from Time Machine Backup". That will recreate the entire system as it existed on your old MBP.

    Since those backups were created on a different version MBP (older 13") that is not an advisable route. That's why I deleted an earlier comment and suggested Installing Mountain Lion onto the empty drive first, right after the point when you format the drive. Then restart.

    When you start that freshly installed Mountain Lion for the first time the Set Up Assistant will run. When you get to the screen "Transfer Information to this Mac" in that Set Up assistant, one of the options is to transfer "From Time Machine or other disk".
    That is the moment to transfer data from your older Time Machine back ups with the least risk of conflicts later on.

    That was my suggestion until you mentioned that you would receive the MBP before receiving the new 1TB HD.

    Scenario B:
    With the new MBP you may already have Mountain Lion on its 500GB internal drive. When you start that one up for the first time you will get to the screen "Transfer Information to this Mac" in the Set Up Assistant. If you transfer data from your Time Machine backups at that point you will create essentially the same system as the one you want to have on your new 1TB drive eventually.

    If you go that route, this 500GB drive will be set up inside your new MBP and there is no objection to then cloning the entire system you've set up that way directly onto the 1TB when it arrives.
    You can do all that while the 500GB drive is inside the new MBP or while the 1TB is inside the MBP because that 500GB drive will have a restore partition from which you can start up, run Disk Utility to format the 1TB drive and then transfer the contents of the main partition directly to that 1TB drive immediately after formatting.

    I hope scenario B makes sense the way I describe it because I think scenario B is the way to go - provided the 500GB drive is big enough to accommodate everything you want to put on it during first set up. If so you can run it like that for a few days. Transfer the entire thing onto the 1TB after it arrives and then if you want erase the 500GB drive a few days later once you know it all runs smoothly on the 1TB.

    A person could drive themselves loopy considering every option and weighing which one is most effective, consists of the fewest steps and has the least chance of conflict later on.
  12. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    What about cloning the existing internal drive to the 1TB before you install it, then install it and do migration assistant? Pop the 1TB drive into the empty external case and clone using SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. Make sure it's bootable and you are good to go. Swap that into your puter and you know you start from a working, bootable point.

    Just a thought. :D
  13. ayres thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    thanks for the ideas!

    @ spork... thanks for the cloning suggestions, and i notice superduper is free. i'll looking into that more.

    @ bluespace...

    you're right in that with so many variables at play, one has to be careful to fully disclose necessary information, or else the entire outcome is different - and not always welcomed. anyway, i should mention the following:

    not only is my current 13mbp a 2011 model, it also is running mtn lion.

    additionally, i'm able to hang onto my 13mbp for a little while after receiving both the new mbp and the 1tb hd.

    therefore, scenario b is a little redundant. i can simply maintain everything on my 13mbp once the 15mbp arrives and i wait for the 1tb hd to come. so transferring from 500gb > 500gb hd doesn't make sense. i'll just piddle around on the 15mbp (and it's 500gb hd) until the 1tb arrives. in fact, i'll do nothing on the new 15mbp that then needs saving, so that 500gb hd will be wiped clean without worry.

    so it makes sense to simply install the blank hd into the 15mbp, do an internet recovery via command+r.

    and if i understand internet recovery correctly, then at the end of it, the computer restarts, and osx will initiate the normal system setup... i can then connect my existing external hd and migrate from my time machine backup.

    phew! am i missing anything?! essentially, it's the blank hard drive that's thrown me for a loop.
  14. bluespaceoddity, Nov 25, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012

    bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Yes it does.

    Start with cmd+R
    Open Disk Utility and format the drive.
    Exit Disk Utility
    Install Mountain Lion
    During the normal system setup the "Transfer Information to this Mac" screen will appear and that will be the perfect moment to bring over all you want from your Time Machine backups.

    Having said that ... considerations with earlier suggestions - read only if you have nothing better to do :)

    Cloning requires:
    A. A bootable volume/partition to start from other than the volume/partition you intend to clone.


    B. Installing additional Software. Although they offer good features and are worth looking into, neither CCC nor Super Duper is in fact free any more. (They do have free trial periods). Unless you intend to continue using these commercial products after set up, installing them is an unnecessary, additional step.

    A. Can be accomplished using the Cmd+R route. Format the 1Tb in an external*, put a clean installation of Mountain Lion on it and use Set Up Assistant for the transfer of files from Time Machine.
    Using the Cmd+R route also give access to cloning tools built into Mac OS. When booted from a Recovery Partition you can use Restore in Disk Utility to clone the other partition on the drive.
    * Saves a swap to inside the MBP if the new drive turns out to be defective but can be done with the new drive installed inside the MBP as well.

    Cloning or restoring completely from a Time Machine back up of a different computer brings risks if the computer on which the System existed doesn't have the same exact hardware as the computer to which it will be cloned. So even if the 13" MBP isn't that old it still has different hardware than the 15".
    You don't have an SSD in any of the scenarios but I mention this only as an example - several people had trouble after cloning an internal HD to a new SSD for the same computer.

    Since you don't have the 1TB drive the moment the MBP 15" arrives you would bring the changes you made during the "piddling period" over onto your new 1TB drive if you cloned the internal drive at that point. If you do that, you would also forego the advantages of transferring data from your backups using Set Up Assistant on first run.

    I suggested it because using the 500GB internal and then transferring data from Time Machine onto the pre-installed OS inside the new 15" MBP doesn't involve an internet download of the OS - not during initial set up and not after the 1TB drive arrives either.
    See comment about changes to the system during the "piddling period" for a reason why cloning the System without also transferring from the Time Machine backups onto the new internal 500GB at that point has disadvantages, IMO.

    I agree that this scenario involves a few redundant steps in preparation but it doesn't require a re-download of the OS and also has you running from the 1TB in your new MBP in the shortest amount of time once all new hardware has arrived. (which one is faster depends on the speed of your internet connection and on the data transfer speed of the external enclosure you'll be using)
  15. ayres thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    awesome advice! thanks bluepace...

    your A is very interesting, as, like you said, it does not require internet recovery.

    yeah, given that apple is supplying the necessary means, i don't like buying third party software. though, i know many here swear by carbon copy. i'm sure it's good software. but if apply supplies something, i might as well use it given how much i've paid for it.

    anyway, i'll think a little more on these options.

    and i'll definitely post my results. the computer arrives tomorrow and the hd a few days later. so often, threads like this one fade off into cyber oblivion without proper closure, so i'll be sure to put my final stamp on it!
  16. bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    It looks like it isn't even required to start up from a separate volume to use Disk Utility's Restore function to recreate the entire Startup Volume on an empty HD. (That is (now?) only mentioned if you want to use the start up volume as the destination.)
    Which means that you don't have to use cmd+r to format and clone to the 1TB drive, If you decide to go that route.

    You could start up the MBP when it arrives, connect your disk with Time Machine backups and when the "Transfer Information to this Mac" screen appears in the Set Up Assistant you transfer what you need from your backups.

    The moment your 1TB drive arrives you could then put it in an external.
    Start the MBP as normal.
    Connect the 1TB to the MBP.
    Start Disk Utility on the MBP.
    Format the 1TB drive.
    Use Disk Utility Restore to clone the internal to the 1TB drive.
    When that is finished shut down and Restart holding the Option Key.
    This allows you to verify that a Recovery Partition and a Regular OS Partition have been created on the external.
    Select the partition with the regular OS on the External and restart from it to check that the 1TB is bootable.
    Swap the drives.
    Start up again to verify that the swap worked.

    Of course that involves cloning so if you'd rather start fresh it is possible to use the method you picked above. Cmd+R. Format with Disk Utility. Clean Install with Internet Recovery. Restart. Transfer files from backup at the appropriate time with the Set Up Assistant.

    There may be other methods that someone will post here at the last moment ...

    I must also correct my comment about SuperDuper and CCC.
    The free version of SuperDuper always works for Cloning. It is only activating additional features that requires purchasing.

    CCC for Mountain Lion is the one that has a free trial period. All features are available during that 30 day trial period.

    One reason they keep getting mentioned here is probably because they not only clone very well, with the option to customise what gets cloned, but offer good back-up options as well.

    And, of course these are only suggestions so I appreciate that you'll come back and post the method you ended up using. All roads lead to Rome.
  17. ayres thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    some updates... not all smooth sailing

    hi again, so my new 15mbp arrived (how did i ever live without the 1680x1050 screen?!?!), and everything was kosher. i started it up, and went through setup, and initiated it (no hazing involved!)

    the blank WD 1tb hd arrived the next day (yesterday)... so i swapped out hard drives, and did an internet recovery (cmnd+r). about two hours later, the necessary software was downloaded to continue with the setup...

    i was at a setup screen that gave me four options - among them, access to disc utility (for formatting, etc), restore from time machine backup, and continue reinstalling new ML copy.

    i first reformatted the hd. i was then back at the main setup screen.

    NOTE: apple always warns not to use time machine when setting up a new computer and transferring files from another computer.

    so, i figured i could/should restore with time machine at a later step (via migration assistant, possibly). there was no migration assistant option - it said that could be accessed later. so i figured i'd continue with a clean, new install of ML.

    i then tried continuing with the fresh install, but i received the following message:

    'could not write installation information to disk. contact applecare'

    this happened repeatedly, and there were no settings i could modify to change the outcome - that i'm aware of. so i did what it told me NOT to do: restore from a time machine backup from another computer (my soon-to-be ex-13mbp that i'm giving to my dad).

    i connected the external hd, and did it... no hiccups. as smoother as any other time machine backup i've done... and that's that... now i have exactly what was on my 13mbp on the 15mbp.

    but something doesn't seem right. i can't put my finger on it, but i feel like, while everything seems fine on my new machine, the fact that i did not first get prompted to the normal setup menu, and establish what rightfully needed to be established with the new hd, it just somehow feels uneasy. and, at a later date, i may see the repercussions of my restore decision.

    any thoughts on all this?

    any theory as to why it would not write installation info onto the disc and allow me to continue with a clean install of ML?

    and any reason why i might want to start all over with a clean install and use migration assistant to access the TM backup from my 13mbp?

  18. bluespaceoddity, Nov 29, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012

    bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    There are apparently people, who have done Restore from Time Machine the way you did, who never encountered trouble later on.

    If you don't feel comfortable with the thought then there is the option to start over. If you decide to start over it might be achieved the easiest by forcing the MBP into Internet Recovery right away.
    Cmd + Option + R

    When it gets to the point where Disk Utility becomes available wipe the entire internal drive (The one with the size info in GB and the name of the Manufacturer of the drive - not the one underneath it with Macintosh HD or a name you picked) by doing a complete erase and reformat (Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) (Guid Partition Table if you want to Partition the drive). After Disk Utility is done, Restart the computer and get into internet recovery again.

    This additional restart will probably result in avoiding:
    'could not write installation information to disk. contact applecare'
    (Since you do have phone support with a new Mac it isn't such a bad idea to contact Apple Care about that.)

    If that warning doesn't re-appear, make sure you still have an internet connection and Install the OS instead of going back into Disk Utility.

    When that is done, restart again and go through the Set Up process. When you get to the screen to transfer data to this Mac select the Time Machine backups on the external...
  19. ayres thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2010
    yep, so I went to a local apple store and spoke with a guy at the Genius Bar (I didn't have the mbp with me though)... told him exactly what I posted above, and he immediately identified the problem... I didn't partition the drive after I formatted the drive. so there's probably no recovery partition, however, I can easily live without it. if fact, he said that the 10.8.3 update may automatically fix it.
  20. bluespaceoddity macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2009
    Did you ask him anything about possible implications of using Restore from Time Machine backup from your previous computer?

    How much do you still feel like fiddling with it? Sounds like you're satisfied with the way things are now.

    One of the things you could do is check the Build number of Mountain Lion that is on your 1TB drive and compare it with the Build number on the 15" MPB's original 500GB drive if you still have that one with the original System on it.

    You can also check if there currently is a Recovery Partition on your MBP by starting up holding the Option Key one of these days. Just to have a look and then continue starting up from the ordinary start up disk.

    ... and you could still run the ML installer over the top of your current System to see if it updates anything as well btw. Have you already run Software Update since getting everything set up?

Share This Page