Swap MacOS X versions between internal and external drives?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by kuroyume0161, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. kuroyume0161 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    #1
    Currently, my iMac has 10.4.11 on the internal 250GB drive and 10.5.8 on an external 500 GB drive. Is there any way to 'move' 10.5.8 to the internal drive and the 10.4.11 to the external, even if it requires another external drive to accomodate the swap, without reinstalling?

    There is plenty of disk space on each. Not sure if this would require new installations with some form of backup of data/applications. Trying to do as little as possible. :)

    Thanks,
    Robert
     
  2. madog macrumors 65816

    madog

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    #2
    You can use DU or an app like CarbonCopy Cloner or SuperDuper to clone the contents from one drive to another and it will remain exact and bootable. A third drive to do this would make it a whole lot easier.
     
  3. kuroyume0161 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    So, with DU, I would go about it like this:

    1. Restore->Source of internal drive to Destination 'swap' external drive.
    2. Restore->Source of external drive to Destination internal drive. (Hope for the best). ;)
    3. Restore->Source of 'swap' external drive to Destination external drive. (Again, hope for best). ;)

    This would make my 10.5.8 OS on the internal drive and 10.4.11 OS external if all goes as planned. If that sounds correct, I'm going to go for it.

    Thanks,
    Robert
     
  4. madog macrumors 65816

    madog

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    #4
    If "swap" is the third blank drive, then yes. I've always personally used DU, but many people will say that the third party apps are better. There was some debate a while ago that DU didn't retain--something. Maybe it was file permissions or invisible files or whatever it was. But again, there shouldn't be an issue with using it.

    If you want the best experience, you can clone the internal drive to another external, erase and install a fresh OS on the internal, then just use the migration assistant to transfer over everything, minus some third-party system apps and drivers.
     
  5. kuroyume0161 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Right off the bat this isn't working.

    The 'swap' external drive is 120GB which is sufficient to restore the used storage space on the internal drive (using 98 GB) but Restore says it can't do it. With a 500 TB (corrected) as external (even though it is only using 40GB) that would make it impossible to use Restore to the internal drive (as it will always be larger than 250GB). Maybe there is just more data than Get Info shows for the drive or do the source and destination need to be the same size (or the destination at least as big as the source)?
     
  6. madog macrumors 65816

    madog

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    #6
    Strange. The used space should be all that matters, however, while thinking about it, it wouldn't surprise me if DU just looks at the capacity of the drive for the Restore process and may require the destination to be the same or more than the source.

    Maybe the other third-party apps won't have that limitation? Or maybe you can try partitioning the 500GB for this process.
     
  7. kuroyume0161 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Can it be partitioned in-place without affecting the bootable OS already installed on it? That would indeed provide more than enough space for the swap if that is possible. Looking into this. :)

    Thanks!
     
  8. madog macrumors 65816

    madog

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    #8
    If it were the internal drive, BootCamp does exactly that. All it does is partition and format the new partition to FAT, in which case it could easily be formatted back to HFS+.

    That won't work on externals though, so an app like iPartition should work. I have never used it before, but I've only heard good things. Just know that doing this (even with bootcamp) increases the chance of data loss if something were to go wrong.

    Not sure how useful the Demo of it is... or if there are other apps for this purpose.
     
  9. kuroyume0161 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Looks like partitioning (with DU anyway) isn't viable. The volume is always wiped. This bites. I have a 1TB external drive but it is currently occupied with archived data which I won't touch. It is the only other external drive of useful size that I own (80GB Lacie won't cut it either). I did have a 250GB external but it was old enough to be knackered (it had catastrophic write errors so it was trashed immediately).

    Can't really determine whether or not SuperDuper or CarbonCopy Cloner will work despite drive size differences. Will see if I can get a response on this from the makers.
     
  10. kuroyume0161 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    So far so good. I decided to see if the external drive could be 'Restored' to the 'swap' external drive and, yay, it worked! The 'swap' drive even booted flawlessy. Currently I'm restoring the internal drive to the external drive and then the 'swap' drive will be restored to the internal drive. The only caveat - slooooowwwww. Took about two hours to do the 40GB from the external (USB 2.0/7200RPM) to the 'swap' (USB 1.1/5400RPM - I think). Here's hoping that the 103GB internal to external is faster.

    I'll post back with full success or not when done.

    Thank you very much, madog! :)
     
  11. kuroyume0161 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Okay. Not good. Copying 10.4 from the internal to the external drive failed momentously. It just has a stream of black-screen errors and eventually bails during boot (it never boots) - after three hours of doing the cloning. I may try a 'hail mary' and install 10 on the external drive, update/update/update/update, and then copy over the apps and such. Hopefully this won't be too much work. :(

    ETA: I'm done. Back to where I started. Unfortunately, the internal drive started at like 10.1 and has been continuously updated for several years with dozens of installed applications (so on and so on and so on). I'm not starting from scratch and spending weeks getting these back to where they were. Warning: Nope. Mac cannot simply clone a bootable drive all ready to go.
     
  12. madog macrumors 65816

    madog

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    #12
    Well, it can because I and many other people have done it before.


    Side note: I felt queasy when you said you've had a version updated since 10.1... I'm honestly surprised that your system still functioned at all.
     
  13. kuroyume0161 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    There was no problem cloning the external drive to the other external drive. But after waiting three hours for the cloning of the internal drive to the external drive (there were no complaints during the process), it was just black screen/white text with issues all the way attempting to boot the external drive with the cloned OS on it. I wasted 8 hours yesterday trying to do this and I'm not going to waste another, ya think? ;)

    Well, yeah. What else am I supposed to do? When I got the iMac, it had 10.1 installed on it and Apple has been sending those Software Updates occassionally. Am I supposed to reinstall the entire system everytime there is a 'point' update? I have all of these on the internal drive:

    Cinema 4D 6.3, 7, 8, 8.2, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10.1, 10.5, 11
    Poser 4, 4PP, 5, 6, 7
    DAZ Studio
    CodeWarrior
    XCode
    Java NetBeans
    iTunes/QuickTime Pro
    All of my development project data and other data (including GB of Poser content, test files, and iTunes music and video).

    System works perfectly and has always done so. This is THE reason why I wanted to clone instead of start fresh, reinstall, reconfigure. It could take weeks to get this system back to where it is now - according to the economy, I don't have that type of time to waste.

    I'll just leave it the way it is now I guess.

    Thanks,
    Robert
     

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