Replacing failing internal HDD with SSD - need to clone first?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by zen, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. zen macrumors 68000

    zen

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    #1
    I have a Mac mini with a rapidly failing internal HDD. I've bought a SSD to install, but can I just fit the SSD, boot the computer and get OS X recovery to install a clean version of El Capitan? Or do I need to format the SSD and clone my internal drive first?

    My internal drive is about to fail, according to SMART - it has thousands of bad sectors, and I have a lot of data files that can't be read (as I discovered when I tried to copy them off onto another drive).

    I do have a Time Machine back-up, but I would prefer a fresh install of OS X.

    If I use something like Carbon Copy Cloner, won't it just get stuck on the bad sectors and damaged files?
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #2
    Don't clone with bad sectors, setup fresh OS or restore from Time Machine.

    OS X is one of the most versatile operating systems when it comes to installing, so whatever's best for you, is the way to go. You can run the SSD briefly through a USB SATA caddy and install through OS X recovery to the USB SSD (remembering to format through Disk Utility first). Then you can fit the SSD. Or you can fit the SSD first and hold Cmd+Alt+R on startup to boot into Internet recovery, to install the original OS (won't be El Cap) onto there. Or fit the SSD, take out the old HDD, boot into OS X Recovery from the old HDD, and install El Cap to the new one :D

    You can restore a TM backup or install OS X to any volume, internal or external. Honestly, whatever's easiest for you.

    I just advise massively against cloning with that amount of bad sectors. Other than that, Captain's discretion.
     
  3. Erdbeertorte macrumors demi-goddess

    Joined:
    May 20, 2015
    #3
    You could also download El Capitan from the App Store again and use DiskMaker X to create a bootable USB thumb drive installer:

    http://diskmakerx.com
     
  4. zen thread starter macrumors 68000

    zen

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    #4
    Thanks for those two speedy answers!

    It looks like creating a bootable El Capitan drive is the answer - as a test, I tried an internet recovery of El Capitan onto an external USB drive (my SSD hasn't arrived yet), and I continually got "Item is temporarily unavailable". However, I can download El Capitan via the App Store without any trouble - so with that, I'll use DiskMaker X to create a bootable USB thumb drive.

    Which means I should install my new SSD, then boot the computer from the USB thumb drive, and then reinstall OS X on the SSD - is that correct? That'll leave me with a fresh OS X install on my new SSD?
     
  5. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #5
    Correct just remember to partition and format the ssd using disk utility first or the installer won't see the ssd
     
  6. zen thread starter macrumors 68000

    zen

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    #6
    Ok, cool - boot from the external USB drive, select Disk Utility, format and partition the SSD, then install.

    Thanks for the advice. There is lots of info online about switching an HDD for an SSD but nearly all talk about cloning - which is where I got stuck, because I clearly don't want to clone.
     
  7. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    #7
    It's because using disk utility to cloan your drive and then swap it is such a simple process.
     
  8. zen thread starter macrumors 68000

    zen

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    #8
    Right... so simple that people like me spend too much time looking for info that isn't needed :)
     

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