Upgrading hard drive - can I use time machine to setup the new drive exactly as befor

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Narcosynthesis, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. Narcosynthesis macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2008
    I have only recently gotten my macbook, and am currently waiting on a new hard drive arriving so I can swap out the drive in my mac for a bigger one.

    I know time machine lets you restore your system from a backup to its last known state, but can this be done between disks? Ideally I want to be able to save my system, replace the hard drive and install as per apples instructions, then reload the last system image from the time machine so the machine is basically the same as it was before, just with an increased hard drive?

    Possible? Anythign I have overlooked or easier solutions?
  2. kornyboy macrumors 68000

    Sep 27, 2004
    Knoxville, TN (USA)
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5G77 Safari/525.20)

    I don't see why this wouldn't work. Time Machine is designed to be able to recover your stuff if a drive fails. You as swapping the drive as if the old one failed so you should be able to recover everything.
  3. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    If you've installed OS X on the new drive, then you can use Migration Assistant to transfer the old machine's state to the new machine, and time machine can be one of the sources. That's a bit more work than is really necessary. I normally use Super Duper to clone the source drive onto the new drive, boot from the new drive to make sure everything is ok, then swap the drives.

    edit (a couple of things I forgot):

    - a version of Super Duper that will do what you need to clone the drive is also free.
    - buy an external USB 2.0 case for your new drive (and the old one once you swap it out, assuming you plan on keeping it), or buy a SATA to USB adapter
  4. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Defintely agreed with Cliff3- simply cloning the drive onto the new one using SuperDuper (or the free Carbon Copy Cloner as is my preference) has a couple of distinct advantages IMO:

    1. The new drive will be guaranteed to be identical to the existing one. No files or directories missed, etc. No worries about which files TM does and does not backup, and no concerns about which files will be tranferred with Migration Assistant. Just a simple duplicate of the existing drive done simply and quickly.
    2. The clone can be booted from as Cliff3 noted- you can boot from it to make sure all is well (running when booted from the clone should be identical to running from the existing drive) before you swap the drives- not something you can do to test a TM backup set.

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