Transfer old macbook hard drive to newer macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by syer, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. syer macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2012
    im trying to switch from an older macbook to a newer one using the old hdd
    i have a white macbook model 1,1
    and a black macbook model 4,1
    the white 1,1 is running 10.6.8 with a 320gb hdd
    the black 4,1 is running 10.7.4 with a 250gb hdd
    i want to use the 320gb hdd on the black macbook cause its bigger and has all my files on it
    i have tried physically swapping the hdds but i just get a flashing folder on one and a circle with a slash through on the other when i try booting them
    any help on what i can do to use my 320gb with the newer black macbook?
  2. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Swapping the drives like this usually works, but your white MacBook is not Lion-compatible, thus the strike-thru circle.

    The black MacBook should boot into SL. Try holding down the alt/option key after turning it on. This will get you into the boot menu where your only option will be the internal SL HDD. Click that.

    When it's booted, go to Apple Menu->System Preferences->Startup Disk and make sure the HDD is selected as default.
  3. syer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2012
    tried that and it doesnt work anything else you can recommend?
  4. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    There might be neater ways you could try, but this should work:

    1. Make a full Time Machine backup of the 320GB HDD on an external HDD.
    2. Create a Lion install thumb drive.
    3. Put the 320GB HDD into the black MacBook and boot off of the thumb drive.
    4. Erase the 320GB HDD.
    5. Install Lion.
    6. On first boot, choose to migrate your data from a Time Machine Backup, attach the backup drive and select it.

    With the white MacBook you can proceed similarly, but using the Snow Leopard Install DVD and copying the files you want to keep to something external by hand instead of using Time Machine, which probably won't work properly going from Lion back to Snow Leopard.
  5. syer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2012
    okay so i backed up my files from 320 hdd to an external drive
    then wiped the 320 hdd clean and installed lion on it while it was linked externally by usb to the black MB
    installed lion and it ran fine while connected by usb running lion and everything
    completely working

    then i go to place this 320 hdd in the black macbook internally and the same thing ends up happening with a flashing folder with a question mark
    i read somewhere that it might be because of a bad hdd cable that it wont recognize the new hdd but it still recognizes its original hdd and im sure that the 320 works because it runs bootable as an external drive

    think it might be the cable?
    the black MB is an early 2008 2.4Ghz intel core 2 duo by the way
  6. flatfoot macrumors 65816

    Aug 11, 2009
    Might be the HDD connection cable, though it's odd that the old HDD worked and the new one doesn't. When I replaced the HDD on a friend's aluminum MacBook we had the same phenomenon at first boot, but restarting and explicitly selecting the drive from the boot screen fixed it.

    First make sure both ends of the cable (mobo and HDD) are connected properly. If it still won't work, it should be fairly easy to replace the cable if you can get your hands on the spare part.

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