Trouble Restoring 11" 2011 MBA and from Time Machine Backups

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Reidan, May 3, 2012.

  1. Reidan macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I purchased a 240 Gb SSD from OWC to upgrade the original 64 Gb SSD in my 11" 2011 MBA. Having issues restoring from the Time Machine Backups.

    I use a G-Drive Mini for my Time Machine Backups. Made a backup just before shutting down to install the new SSD. Installed replacement drive taking precautions for ESD. Boot from the G-Drive just fine. Boot from the Recovery Image that Time Machine put on the G-drive. Use the Utilities to Partition and Format the new SSD. Choose to restore from Time Machine. It sees all of my Backups. Choose the newest one from today. It starts the Restore Process. Runs for about 30 - 45 minutes. I see it reboot. Watch the screen. Apple Logo comes up and the spinning icon comes on the screen. Lion never boots.

    Power off and back on and press Option key. Choose the new SSD to boot from. Same thing.

    Start process over again. Has the exact same results. Runs for about 30 - 45 minutes and then reboots. But will not boot off of the new SSD.

    This time I use the recovery partition to check drive. Has 50 gb of data on the SSD. So it did restore data from the Time Machine Backups. Check drive for errors, none found. Tell it to restore permissions. Says it found some and fixed them. Still will not boot.

    If I put the original SSD back in, it boots just fine. So no problems with the MBA after tinkering around inside it.

    So, what did I miss?



    This is the external drive that I use for Time Machine.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    A much simpler approach is to put your new drive in an external enclosure, then clone your old drive to the new one, using Carbon Copy Cloner, then simply swap the drives and boot up. You're now running on your new drive and your old one is now useful as an external drive for backups or additional storage.
  3. Reidan thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    If it had a standard sata interface that would be simple. I saw that OWC sells an enclosure, but did not order one. Do they sell these at Microcenter or Fry's?
  4. Reidan thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I am using Carbon Cleaner to image to a 64 Gb Thumb Drive. Will then boot from the drive and reverse the process to the new SSD.

    Running very slow. Will let it run all night to see if it completes and is bootable.

    Would still like to have an mSATA to SATA Adapter to add to my toolkit if anyone can recommend a good one. Don't care if it is in an enclosure as I can add it to one of my existing ones.
  5. Reidan, May 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2012

    Reidan thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    Using Carbon Copy to clone to the Thumb Drive worked. Took about 2.5 Hours to complete. I verified that it would boot off of the drive before going to bed last night. Everything was painfully slow, but everything was working.

    This morning I have re-installed the new OWC SSD. I have booted off of the thumb drive and am currently using Carbon Copy to copy from the thumb drive to the SSD. Seems that reading from the thumb drive is running faster than writing the image to it. If it continues at this rate, I guesstimate that the time will be less than 1/2 of the time it took to create the bootable thumb drive.

    I am confident that this will work.

    If anyone is interested, the thumb drive is an OCZ Rally 2 64 Gb. Matches well since the SSD I am replacing is also 64 Gb. When I bought it about 2 years ago it was one of the fastest and largest available at that time. I know there are faster and larger ones available now. But this one is performing well for this task. Especially considering I already owned it so did not need to purchase it to get my new SSD up and running.

    Still wanting to find an adapter to add to my toolkit for any future MBA cloning or data recovery needs. Will this SATA to Micro SATA work with the MBA SSD's?

    Ok, the Carbon Copy from the Thumb Drive to the new SSD took 1.5 hours to complete. And the MBA is successfully booting from the new larger and faster SSD!! :D

    Hope future users looking to upgrade the SSD in their MacBook Airs find these posts helpful.
  6. mr.tolgao macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2010
    I am also thinking to upgrade my MBP HD to an SSD in the future. I keep Time Machine Backups on my Time Capsule regularly. After reading you, am I not going to be able to restore my new SSD from Time Machine Backups ? I don't want to use Carbon Copy Cloner method. Whole purpose of Time Machine Backups is to restore my Backups to a new larger SSD or newer Mac computer.
    Do you think that this problem of yours regarding restoring Backup from Time Machine is random or Shall I have the same problem ? Thanks.
  7. halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    hmmm, interesting thread.

    for what it's worth, I'd opt for inserting the new SSD, formatting with Disk Utility, install Lion and all your Apps,
    updating via Software Update and finally
    pulling the home folder off my latest backup onto the desktop and sorting from there.

    (I keep all my Time Machine backups and Application install images on a partitioned external HDD, plus I have 2 usb sticks, one for the Recovery image (which I made using Apple's Lion Recovery Disk Assistant v1.0 - and the other for Lion)

    certainly a less expensive option and one ends up with a fast Mac free of any conflicts that may have crept in.

    once you're happy with everything - give it a couple of days in case there's something you forgot to transfer - then you can erase both you G-mini and the 'old' 64gb SSD and you have 2 clean backup discs to go again.
  8. Reidan thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    The Time Machine Backups booted and started the restore process. I did not sit and stare at the screen while it ran. I never saw any messages popup before it rebooted. I do not know why the drive was not bootable after the restore. This is my first OS X Mac, so I am still learning. With more experience I may have known what to do to make it work correctly.

    The MBA uses non-standard SSD's with less common Micro SATA connectors. MBP use standard SSD's with standard SATA connectors. So it is easier to install the drive in a external enclosure or even mount it in the optical bay inside the MBP and use the existing drive to boot the OS and run your restores to the new drive. So you may have an easier time upgrading.
  9. Reidan thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 12, 2012
    I had considered this. I even let it start the Internet Lion download and was going to do the save it to a USB drive and power it off after the download completes and the install starts. I have a slower DSL connection. Said it was going to take 8 hours to download. So I did not want to risk waiting 8 hours and then miss powering it off after the download completed.

    I even went and purchased the Lion Install USB Thumb Drive from the Apple Store. I did this while waiting for the SSD to arrive from OWC. Wanted to go ahead and have all options covered when the drive finally arrived so that I could start the install process immediately. I did not know that it would not work with 2011 MBA's. Now I need to see if they will give me a full refund on it since the package has been opened. I told the sales rep at the Apple Store that I was replacing the SSD in my 2011 MBA, she never warned me that it would not work. So I am hoping they will give me a full refund.


    My MBA is working just fine after copying my data in the process I detailed in my posts earlier today. I have typed all my replies on it tonight and have not had any issues. But I am going to keep my old SSD in a safe place for awhile before I try to re-use it for anything else.
  10. halledise, May 5, 2012
    Last edited: May 9, 2012

    halledise macrumors 65816

    May 7, 2009
    Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, QLD Australia
    you do it overnight in that case and you do it like this article sez.

    Downloading Hardware Specific Lion Installers
    Thursday, August 11 2011 @ 07:20 pm MDT
    Contributed by: macshome
    Views: 6,480

    … …

    Mac Sysadmins are Smarter

    It's very easy to use the Mac App Store's smarts to our own advantage and gain access to a copy of that hardware specific OS build. Here's what to do:
    1. Boot the hardware you need an image for from the Recovery HD by holding Command-r at power on time.
    2. Plug in a JHFS+ formatted external disk.
    3. Select the Re-install OS X Lion option and target the external disk.
    4. Once the Installer finishes downloading, simply shutdown and unplug the disk.
    Now when you mount that external disk you will find a directory named Mac OS X Install Data on the root. Inside of this folder is the elusive, hardware-specific, InstallerESD.dmg image that you can feed to SIU or any other imaging tool of choice. Having this installer will now allow you to build out re-deployment images for all of your hardware until rollup installers are available.

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