What is probably a very simple question about installing a new HD and migrating

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by matthews, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. matthews macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2008
    So, I have a late 2008 model Mac Pro, with only the stock 250GB drive installed so far, and my goal this month is to buy a 1.5TB drive, and to make that my new system/default drive.

    Can anybody explain to me this process? It is relatively simple or am I in for more trouble than it's worth?

  2. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    Nope, it's quite easy. You don't even need any third-party tools. Just stick the new drive in, make sure it's formatted for OS X, and then you can use Disk Utility to copy the original to the new disk.

    So, instructions:

    1. Install new drive
    2. Format it
    3. Launch Disk Utility
    4. Go to the 'Restore Tab' (after you pick a hard drive)
    5. Drag the original to 'source'
    6. Drag the 1.5 TB drive to 'destination'
    7. Click 'restore'
    8. ???
    9. Profit!

    Heh. That should work, I've done it several times. If you need photos I can upload some later.
  3. matthews thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2008
    That sounds simple enough.
    Thanks a lot.

    Once I complete that process then, will it automatically boot from the new drive? Or do I need to change another setting?
  4. Mackilroy macrumors 68040


    Jun 29, 2006
    It's been a while so I don't recall exactly, but you should either be able to select the boot drive with Option upon boot, or you can select it in System Preferences under Startup Disk. You might also just take the 250 GB drive out to test booting with the larger drive, too.
  5. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    I recommend booting to a Mac OS X Installer CD, and using its Disk Utility (under the Utilities menubar). It works better when neither of the drives is in use.

    Also, check "Erase Destination" when cloning. It goes faster because it copies bits instead of files.

    Then, once it's done cloning using the method above, quit Disk Utility. Go up to Utilities / Startup Disk, and select the new drive and boot to it.

    It will be confusing at first because both disks will be called the same thing, but you can find out once booted which one you are in by opening Disk Utility, seeing the brand name of the disk that you want to boot from in the left, right-clicking and choosing "show in finder". Then you can rename one of the drives to something different so you're sure.
  6. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009

    Personally, I'm a fan of the clean install.

    I'd insert the new drive, install clean on that, then install apps and migrate files from the 250GB as needed. But that's me. Lord knows it's far from the easiest way to do it.
  7. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    I agree that a clean install and manual migration is the best route, but if you already have a pretty squeeky clean system going, no harm in a clone...
  8. matthews thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2008
    With the clean install though, how would I go about the migration of files I wanted on the new one?

    I'm slightly confused by that.
  9. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009
    Step one would be to reinstall all apps from scratch on the new drive.

    Most of your stuff is probably in the old Documents folder on your 250GB drive.

    Gather up all your passwords to websites and so forth, you will lose all your cookies. Back up your bookmarks so you can import them into your new browser. Re-install any plug-ins.


    This is a very manual process though and could take days or weeks before you feel like you've completely finished. You should accomplish most of it (80-90% ?) when you bring over what you need from you old Documents folder.

    To me the advantages are:

    1. Clean installs feel good. New preferences, new caches, etc.

    2. You only bring over what you need, leaving things you don't need behind. Almost the definition of a clean start.

    3. You learn more about your system the more you root around in it. If this feels a little bit over your head, that's fine. It's not hard, and we're here to answer any questions. You should not be in danger of losing anything, it's all on your 250GB drive.

    I get bored and do clean installs every 12-18 months for almost no reason sometimes. Mostly to clean away junk I don't use that much. It's like clearing my head or something.

    Of course, as mentioned above, it sounds like Apple may have some automatic feature to copy/clone your drive anfd you could be done in 30 minutes.
  10. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    Right, so a clean install would involve plugging in the new disk, formatting it with disk utility (HFS+ Journaled using GUID partition map), and installing Snow Leopard on it for a clean install.

    Then, you have two options to get your data on there:
    1) Boot from the new clean system and use Migration Assistant to pull over all the apps and user settings from your old drive. (note: when you setup the new system, don't set the initial user account to be the same as your old computer, because then you won't be able to migrate it, as it will conflict. so make an "admin" or "test" account, then migrate everything over and you can logout and log back in as yourself and delete the test user account).
    This way is easy, but in my opinion, you'd be better off cloning, because this is bringing over all your settings, apps, and user directory anyhow. So any clutter or junk or settings that slow things down a bit will come over too.

    2) Boot from the new clean system, create a new account for yourself (with your actual name this time). Update to the latest Mac OS X, repair permissions, install all your apps and update them all to the latest versions, and repair permissions.
    Next, go into each of the folders in your old home folder on your old drive (Desktop / Documents / Downloads / Movies / Music / etc...) and copy all the items from the individual folders into their new equivalents on the new disk.
    It's also a good idea to boot into the old system and backup your safari bookmarks, address book, iCal, etc so you can easily import them into the new system. Or, if you have mobile me, you can just sync them up to the cloud, and then sync them back down to your new system.
    The downsides to this method are time (spend a day doing this, especially if you're doing Adobe and Microsoft updates after install!), and you have to build all your settings back up again. The upside though is you know you have a perfectly clean system to work with - the speed boost is appreciable.

    Any way you do it though (cloning, migrating, or copying), you will have you old system on the old disk there so you can always start again if you mess up. just don't touch any files on the old disk! (ie - don't move files over, copy them. good to have a backup!)

    Lee Tom
  11. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    Also a note on the 2nd of the two methods (the copying method)... when you're copying, say, your Music folder over, don't copy the Music folder, but the contents OF that Music folder into the new Music folder that already exists. It ensures that the permissions are solid.

    And speaking of which - Since both of these drives are internal, before you do the copying you might want to Get Info on the OLD drive, authenticate at the bottom of the Get Info panel (click the lock) and "Ignore Ownership On This Volume". This will also ensure that permissions are solid too.

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