Question about cloning boot drive to SSD

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by JamSandwich, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. JamSandwich macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    Hey MacRumors helpers... after much waffling, I pulled the trigger today on a new SSD for my 2012 Mac Mini.

    While it's on its way, I'm trying to figure out what the best way to move my current "world" over to the new drive.

    1. Cloning: A few months ago (last time I was kicking tires), I read about cloning the HDD to the SSD -- I like this option, though it does entail purchasing some sort of cable or enclosure. In researching today, I noted that OWC ( suggests that cloning isn't ideal. They say that's in part due to bloat and in part due to recovery partition on the original drive (???) Anyone have insight on that?
    2. Time Machine: I've used TM before, I'm comfortable with it. Not so sure I like the idea of Internet recovery...
    3. Migration Assitant: Using OWC's directions here: ...I guess this makes sense?
    Thanks in advance for the help. Tried searching but didn't see anything that quite addressed everything.

    Also, please remind me to enable TRIM :)
  2. Malcolm Kirk, Nov 24, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2015

    Malcolm Kirk macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2008
    You have to partition the existing HD
  3. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    If you already have a Time Machine backup to an external (USB) drive, just use that to restore. No need to spend money on any other hardware that way.

    Just install the new drive then attach the TM disk and option key boot to it. That will bring up a recovery screen. From there start Disk Utility and select the new drive in the left column. Then go to the erase tab and select Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format and apply that format. Then quit Disk Utility and click restore OS at the top. That will move everything including the OS and all your apps and data over to the new SSD.

    Once that is done shutdown and disconnect the TM disk. Then restart. Once it boots go to System Preferences and in the Startup Disk pane select the new drive as the boot source.

    If you are on the newest version of Yosemite or El Capitan, open Terminal and type the line below to enable TRIM.

    sudo trimforce enable
  4. JamSandwich, Nov 26, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015

    JamSandwich thread starter macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    So I followed Weaselboy's advice and installed my SSD today (momentarily thought I killed my system fan - pried the connector a bit, but all is well!).

    There's a problem with my Time Machine backup, though. The drive is OK, but it's not playing nicely for startup -- it has occasionally had issues where my computer doesn't "see" it, and I suspect that's what's happening here. When it has appeared as a startup disk, I enter my network info and then select it for startup and the whole process just freezes (and eventually goes to question-mark folder).

    I think the master plan is to create a bootable USB stick of Yosemite (downloading now on my MacBook) and restore the system using the migration tool. Does that make sense???

    I suppose I could also download El Capitan and use the SSD for that...

    Not really sure what the best course of action is. Also, I guess I could still get an enclosure/cable to boot from my old drive and transfer stuff over that way. Would appreciate any assistance as to whether I'm going in a sensible direction... after all, I've got an hour of downloading ahead that I can use to second guess myself ;)
  5. JamSandwich, Nov 26, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2015

    JamSandwich thread starter macrumors regular

    May 19, 2006
    Just in case someone stumbles across this thread via search later, here was the ultimate fix:

    1) I couldn't boot using my Time Machine disk.
    2) I made a bootable USB stick (using my laptop) using Apple's "createinstallmedia command" (, with the command line basically stolen from here ( but modified to reflect the fact I was installing Yosemite.
    3) Got into disk utility via the bootable USB, where I was able to restore from my Time Machine backup.
    4) Waited forever
    5) Got back into my system. Hooray!

    BTW, early performance pretty much guarantees that I won't buy a new Mac until large SSD drives are the norm. I've liked my computer well enough, but the old 5400RPM was pretty unpleasant. Up until this generation of hardware I'd never really "felt" the effect of a slow hard drive before.

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