Please help me figure out a few things before an SSD upgrade (late 2011 Macbook pro)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by nikobe, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. nikobe macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2011
    Hi All,

    I'm after a bit of help and a steer in the right direction. I hope I'm not repeating or duplicating questions too much. I apologise if so, but there is a minefield of info out there. I hope also that this is the right place for this question.

    The situation:

    -I have a late 2011 Macbook pro, currently running El Capitan and I want to install a SSD.

    -I have created a USB installer which I can use if necessary.

    -I have a time machine back up

    -I intend to put my existing HDD back in for additional storage.

    I have done a lot of trawling the internet for instructions and different options of how to achieve what I'm wanting to do and I feel I'm almost there, but there are a few things that I'm not sure of and this is where I hope you can help.

    Questions I'm looking for answers to:

    1) I'm thinking I would prefer to do a clean install of El Cap onto the SSD. I am comfortable with this process on its own. But I'm not clear on how best to get my apps and data onto the new install - should I:
    a) not do a clean install but recover my whole operating system from the time machine backup? Does this risk carrying over any issues with the current install?
    b) do a clean install and copy across specific data and apps and settings from time machine? Is this simple enough to do? Should I use migration assistant or time machine or something else?
    c) copy over some data from the existing HDD? If so what should come from here? I assume just data. This leads on to the next question also.

    2) As I said, I intend to install the SSD and also keep the HDD installed for extra storage. If I have the 2 drives installed and then go ahead and install the operating system on the SSD, I will be left with 2 installed drives both with a bootable copy of El Cap on them. Can this scenario cause issues in terms of which disk the mac will boot from or can I select which one to boot from at startup? I do obviously intend to format the HDD eventually and remove the bootable OS, but I would ideally like to not do this until after the OS is installed on the SSD and up and running, just for extra peace of mind.

    3) Which drive should I put in the main bay and which in the optical bay? I've read differing advice on this. I know that there is no sudden movement sensor in the optical bay so for this reason it would be better to put the SSD there but conversely I've read that the optical bay may or may not support as fast data transfer rates as the main bay. Could the SSD performance be restricted by putting it in the optical bay?

    Phew, that's it.....Any answers to the questions above or advice would be very much appreciated.....

    MacBook Pro (15-inch - late 2011), OS X El Capitan.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    You can do it any of the ways you suggested.

    I'd put the SSD in the HDD bay and the HDD in the optical bay -- if memory serves I think the 2011s have 3Gb/s SATA for the ODD and 6Gb/s on the HDD bay. Even so, it's best to put the SSD in the HDD bay anyway. Movement sensor wouldn't matter for the SSD.

    Migration assistant would work fine to transfer apps and data. Otherwise you can drag-and-drop from Time Machine backup.

    If you haven't had any kernel panics or massive problems other than system running slowly due to the HDD, there's no harm in restoring your TM backup directly to the SSD.
  3. nikobe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 16, 2011
    Thanks for verifying that I'm on the right track. I think I know what I'm going to do now. Think I'll do a clean install with SSD in the main bay and then use migration assistant to bring what I need over.
  4. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    It'll work fine but any possible user account issues (you probably don't have any) will come back using Migration Assistant. You might as well clone.
  5. BLUEDOG314 macrumors 6502


    Dec 12, 2015
    To be honest, SSD in hard drive bay with clean install is the best way to go. If your programs came from either app store or you have product keys, why not do a fresh install of them? From there all you have to do is drag and drop your content like pictures, music etc from the time machine backup. When possible I avoid using migration assistant.

    Also, before you migrate your data back preferably, go into terminal and run "sudo trimforce enable" to turn on trim for the drive.
  6. SgtPepper23 macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2010
    Los Angeles, California
    I have a similar setup on my 2010 MBP. However, I'd recommend against having the SSD in the hard drive bay, since you will continue to have your spinning HDD in your machine, the Sudden Motion Sensor is only on the HDD bay, if memory serves. Once you have the SSD in place and still have the spinning drive in, when you first boot, make sure you select the write disk, as that could lead to some accidents!
  7. Marshall73 macrumors 65816


    Apr 20, 2015
    I have done this for a few friends, just used carbon copy cloner to dupe their internal to an external USB enclosure containing the SSD then swap the disks. Or, if they are keeping the spinner to be used in an optibay, just swap the drives around then clone.

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