Swapping in new HD headache

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by theoletts, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. theoletts macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2013
    Hi new to the forums,

    So my problem is I have installed a new HD in my old macbook pro, and thought I could boot straight from my time machine backup on an external drive, which I have quickly realised is not possible!

    Here are the facts:

    I have a early 2008 15" Macbook Pro, that earlier this year the HD broke - it was running on Snow Leopard. I had it backed up on time machine on an external drive. I do not have the original install discs (and the cd drive is a bit dodgy).

    I have fitted a new HD to it.

    I have just bought a 15" retina Macbook Pro - could I boot from this somehow?

    Ideally I want to set up Snow Leopard on my old computer again - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've looked up solutions but I really want to just be told what it the cheapest and quickest solution.

  2. Ledgem macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    Hawaii, USA
    Welcome! :)

    There are a few things that you can do, but if you want Snow Leopard then you're going to need to acquire a disc or disc image at some point. Time Machine backs up your personal files and settings, but it doesn't make a perfect 1:1 copy of your drive. It's designed with the expectation that the core operating system files will always be provided by some other means. Even on the newer systems, a full recovery generally involves downloading the installer (the disc image - for OS X 10.7 and 10.8), installing it, and then migrating data from Time Machine.

    If you don't trust the CD drive in your 2008 Macbook Pro, you can put it into Target Disk Mode (hold down "t" when booting) and then connect it via Firewire cable to your Retina Macbook Pro. The hard drive will become available as a bare drive; create a partition and use Disk Utility to apply the OS X 10.6 installer image to it, and then when you boot up on the 2008 MBP it'll act as if you're loading from the OS X 10.6 installer. As a bonus, the installation will be very fast because it'll be on the hard drive, rather than a DVD.

    You won't be able to install onto the drive from the retina MBP. Even with an OS X 10.6 installer disc, the installer won't recognize your new hardware and will have issues.

    Since you don't have the 10.6 installer disc on you and since the DVD drive is having issues, it would be much easier if you would install OS X 10.7 (or even better, 10.8) onto the 2008's hard drive instead.

    One thing you should be aware of: if you use your Time Machine volume with a newer version of OS X (backing up to it, not simply accessing the data on it), the Time Machine volume will be updated to a newer version and will not be readable on older versions of the operating systen. In other words, if you used Migration Assistant with your rMBP and the 2008 MBP's Time Machine drive, and you already had a backup made with your new system (which is presumably running 10.8, but this applies even if it's 10.7), then you're out of luck. Even if you installed OS X 10.6 onto your 2008 MBP, it would be unable to access the Time Machine data.

Share This Page