Swapping boot drive between different macs

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mjsmke, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. mjsmke macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi,

    I think this will work but just want to check. My friend bought a new SSD and has lost his copy of 10.6 but i have mine.

    If i put his SSD in my mac pro and install 10.6 on that then put it back in his Macbook will it still work ok?
     
  2. goMac macrumors 603

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    Apr 15, 2004
    #2
    No, that won't work. 10.6 optimizes for the machine it's installing to during the install.

    Why not just install off the 10.6 disk onto his machine?
     
  3. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #3
    You can't use the install discs from a Mac Pro to install OS X on a MacBook.
    The supplied discs are tailored for the very system they ship with. You'd need a retail CD for such an attempt (not the grey ones).
     
  4. goMac macrumors 603

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    #4
    Yeah, I guess it just wasn't clear if OP had the in box DVDs or the retail DVD.

    You can get away with it if you install, and then install the latest combo update before you swap. But 10.6 DVDs are $30, seems like way more trouble than it's worth.
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    It should work because neither of them uses a special version of OS X (i.e. 10.6.6 is newer than the machines).
     
  6. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #6
    I was thinking about that, however, I wasn't a 100% sure if the combo update installs all drivers for all available Apple products on the machine. Actually that's quite hard to believe since there is no reason for installing 5870 drivers on a Mini.
     
  7. goMac macrumors 603

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    #7
    No, it won't. Apple purposely will only install the drivers for the machine you are installing to. Doesn't matter if the OS version is newer. You've got to install the combo update before you swap (which forces it to install the drivers.)

    I used to do a lot of imaging of machines, so I spent a lot of time dealing with all the pitfalls of this sort of thing. :)

    For some reason the combo update works. My understanding is this may have been done because Apple didn't want to bother with making the combo update "special" when most people will grab the machine specific deltas from Software Update anyway, and as a nod to sys admins who need to create "universal" hard disk images.
     
  8. mjsmke thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Thanks for the replies everyone. :)

    Yes its the grey disc i have that came with the Mac Pro.

    I just found a dmg file i made last year of the retail disc to 10.6, so i'm burning that now to see if it will boot.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    I've seen people swapping drives from 2006 MBPs to brand new 2010 MBPs without any special tricks and they share nothing when it comes to hardware. I can't say you're wrong as I have no personal experience with this but other posts I've seen fight against what you said.
     
  10. goMac macrumors 603

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    #10
    From personal experience, I know you can't even do this on normal Macbooks. It'll boot, but eventually you notice that performance is off, or you have other issues.

    The line I've gotten directly from Apple is not to do it, as the installer optimizes for the machine it's being run on, and you can run into issues.

    (If you install the combo update before you swap, you'll be fine.)
     
  11. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #11
    Sure, makes sense from that point of view. I was more thinking of the installation that might check the underlying system and installs only drivers according to that specific system, similar as the OS X installer itself does it.

    But well, apparently it does not. Good to know. :)
     
  12. goMac macrumors 603

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    #12
    Yeah, again, I'm not entirely sure why the combo doesn't do that, because what you said make sense, but if there wasn't an option to create universal boot disks, there would be a lot of angry sys admins. :)
     
  13. mjsmke thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Ok, ive just tried burning the .cdr file of Snow Leopard retail disk through disk utility but the disc afterwards is blank.

    Ive tried this twice.

    The discs are DVD+R DL so i know they should work.
     
  14. Cindori, Feb 18, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011

    Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #14
    W r o n g.

    There are loads of drivers in everyones system that are not for the machine.
    I have swapped boot drives between mac mini's, mac pro's, and macbook pro's. There has never been an issue. The boot drive I'm running my 2010 MBP with (and have been since august) was the boot drive in my Mac Pro 2006, for example. No problems. Camera worked right after replacing the drive.



    The retail disc is of course copy protected.
     
  15. mjsmke thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    So how come people have managed to download it via torrents? And its worked?
     
  16. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #16

    Because the copy protection is removed? [​IMG]
     
  17. goMac, Feb 18, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011

    goMac macrumors 603

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    #17
    Again, I'm going to tell you that I have personally, with my own two hands, swapped boot drives for both 10.5 and 10.6 and not had it work. In addition, I've seen other reports on this forum matching.

    Now, just because it worked for you don't mean it will work in every case. Apple most certainly has active support advisories against it.

    I'm glad it happened to work for you. But don't put false information on the forums.

    (They actually started doing this around 10.5 iirc and all the support advisories started then. It was to reduce install time and system update sizes. You'll notice in software update that every machine has a different download size for updates.)

    Pretty sure this isn't true... I've had no issues copying the disk, and Google doesn't show anyone reporting the disk is copy protected.

    Edit: First Apple support advisory concerning this is for 10.3.4's software update. Recommended resolution for moving an install between disks? Combo updater.
    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1228?viewlocale=en_US
     
  18. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #18
    You are talking about older OS versions.
    Older OS versions might not contain necessary drivers to run the computer.

    k, then OP fails at burning it.
     
  19. goMac macrumors 603

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    #19
    No, I'm not. Read my link. Apple does specific installs for specific machines. They do not install all drivers on all machines unless you do the combo update by hand.

    Seriously, I worked as a Mac tech. I had conversations with Apple about this.

    Edit: This is a possibility on why it worked for you:

    Again, don't go promising people that they can swap drives. The above most certainly will not apply to everyone. Telling people to apply the combo first is the safest way to go.
     
  20. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #20
    Minor updates may be tailored, but OS are not afaik. That is why it will work for OP. 10.6 contains drivers to run Macbooks.
     
  21. goMac macrumors 603

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    #21
    Yeah, Googling but I'm 99% sure that's not right. The DVD's also cut out certain drivers at run time in order to cut down the install time.
     
  22. Cindori macrumors 68040

    Cindori

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    #22
    Speculating doesnt help TS much though.
    He should just try swapping drives, if it boots he's going to install updates anyway and if they behave as you describe he will not have problems.
     
  23. pknz macrumors 68020

    pknz

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    #23
    I have done a 10.6 install on an external drive connected to a Mac Pro that has booted a MacBook.

    My 2c.
     
  24. linuxcooldude macrumors 68020

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    Mar 1, 2010
    #24
    While I'm not doubting swapping drives or using install disks from other mac computers will work, I'm weary about problems will eventually crop up or performance issues in the future. Seems to be a lot of people saying it will work fine, others it might have issues. For the time being I'll think I will try to use the correct install disks or retail version of Snow leopard till I get something more solid.
     
  25. mjsmke thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    I have Snow Leopard retail on my hard drive as a .cdr and .dmg files but cant get them to work from a dual layer DVD. wasted 3 already. Disk utility says it has been successfully burned but the disk is blank in finder and wont boot.

    Maybe i can restore the dmg file to a usb flash drive?
     

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