Transferring ONLY integral system files to new SSD via time machine

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Solla Sollew, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. Solla Sollew macrumors newbie

    Feb 24, 2011
    Hi guys.

    I'm about to upgrade my MacBook Pro late 2011 17" with an SSD. I'm also going to pull the SuperDrive out and replace it with the old hard drive.

    Since prices are higher for larger capacity SSDs I'm considering a 256gb but my concern is that it'll be a complicated process restoring my old time machine backup, which is on a 750gb drive, to this much smaller drive. Is there any easy way to back up only the System files and the transfer the rest of my files (iTunes library, photos etc) to the secondary 750gb HDD? I'd rather not have to do a clean install on the SSD as I have a lot of applications installed which will take considerable time to install again.

    In the past I've used super duper for this task but I'm wondering whether it will give me the option

    Any help appreciated!

    P.S. I'm leaning towards the Owc Mercury Extreme 256 for the SSD but could be convinced that there are equally good and similarly priced options at the 500gb level! Eg. Sandisk extreme?
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    What you could do is go into the Time Machine privacy pane and exclude the Music and Photos folders from backup. Then just restore the TM backup to the SSD.

    I'm not particularly a fan of OWC due to their pricing. Samsung 840 is pretty popular around here and can be had for a good price.
  3. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    Time machine is not a good tool for disk cloning. Sometimes it will work, but it is inefficient. Just use CarbonCopyCloner for it, it is very easy to leave out some less important folders.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    What blanka said in post 3 is your solution.

    Use CarbonCopyCloner to create your backup.
    NOTE: even if you don't have CCC, you can download and use it free for 30 days. I think you will find it one of the best pieces of Mac software out there.

    Then, when you have BOTH drives, connect everything together, boot from the OLD HDD, initialize the NEW SSD.

    Then, use CCC to "selectively copy" your OS files and apps over to the new SSD.

    You can do this "by exclusion" in CCC's cloning/copying window -- by UNchecking stuff you DON'T want to be copied.

    For example -- if you have large amounts of data (music or movies, etc.) that is currently in your user account files, you can open these with CCC, and UNcheck the contents of your "Music", "Pictures", and "Movie" folders.

    The net result is that you will have your user account "cloned over" to the new drive, but the data files will be "left behind".

    When done, do a test boot from the HDD. It should boot up as did the old HDD (but more quickly), and when you get to the finder, check that your apps are there, and look around inside your user account. You shold see the folders "Movies", "Music", "Pictures" -- but they should be either empty or have very little in them.

    If it doesn't work out, you've "lost nothing" -- your old files will still be where they were, and you can now try a different approach.

    But again, I think this method will work for you just fine.

    Also -- after you've switched over to the SSD as your "main boot drive", you should still consider keeping a copy of the OS on the old HDD -- just use CCC and make the HDD the "target" drive for your cloned backups. CCC has an option which will let you clone without deleting the "left behind" files (BE CAREFUL if you choose to use this option, so that you don't accidentally erase the old data).

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