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Transferring OS X to a new hard drive

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello all,

I recently purchased a Mac Mini and immediately replaced the internal 5400RPM drive with a faster and bigger 7200 RPM drive. That install was so easy to do, that I am now going to install a second hard drive, probably a 120GB SSD in the extra bay.

So my question is on how best to go about transferring my current install of OS X Lion from the 7200 RPM HD to the new SSD. I would like the applications, the OS, and ultimately a bootcamp install to reside on the SSD, while my iTunes and Aperture libraries reside on the old HD. Is there a way to do this WITHOUT doing a fresh install on the new drive?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

I recently purchased a Mac Mini and immediately replaced the internal 5400RPM drive with a faster and bigger 7200 RPM drive. That install was so easy to do, that I am now going to install a second hard drive, probably a 120GB SSD in the extra bay.

So my question is on how best to go about transferring my current install of OS X Lion from the 7200 RPM HD to the new SSD. I would like the applications, the OS, and ultimately a bootcamp install to reside on the SSD, while my iTunes and Aperture libraries reside on the old HD. Is there a way to do this WITHOUT doing a fresh install on the new drive?

You can put the SSD into a hard drive enclosure like the following:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-5-USB-2-0-...ht_3803wt_1030

Then use Carbon Copy Cloner to move your existing system and data onto it. You can exclude large files to avoid filling it up. Check that it boots by holding the alt-key at boot time and choosing the drive. Once you have verified that, you can install it.

You will need the SATA drive cable if you don't have it (they only come with the Minis that ship with two drives):

http://www.macpartsonline.com/922-95...010-a1347.html
http://www.powerbookmedic.com/Mac-Mi...e-p-20708.html

The general consensus on the best drives would be one of the following:

Crucial M4, Corsair Force 3, OWC Mercury Pro, Intel 510 series

Intel is regarded as being the most reliable but research each one before buying as they don't all behave the same in every model of machine. From the reviews I've seen, the Crucial M4 seems to be the best choice and is also one of the cheapest.

Also, check if your drive requires a firmware upgrade before doing the data migration and don't enable TRIM unless you are certain it makes an improvement - on some drives, you shouldn't enable it. Don't fill your SSD too full either. If you plan to put 110GB of data onto a 120GB SSD, you would be better off with a bigger SSD.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

You can put the SSD into a hard drive enclosure like the following:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-5-USB-2-0-...ht_3803wt_1030

Then use Carbon Copy Cloner to move your existing system and data onto it. You can exclude large files to avoid filling it up. Check that it boots by holding the alt-key at boot time and choosing the drive. Once you have verified that, you can install it.

You will need the SATA drive cable if you don't have it (they only come with the Minis that ship with two drives):

http://www.macpartsonline.com/922-95...010-a1347.html
http://www.powerbookmedic.com/Mac-Mi...e-p-20708.html

The general consensus on the best drives would be one of the following:

Crucial M4, Corsair Force 3, OWC Mercury Pro, Intel 510 series

Intel is regarded as being the most reliable but research each one before buying as they don't all behave the same in every model of machine. From the reviews I've seen, the Crucial M4 seems to be the best choice and is also one of the cheapest.

Also, check if your drive requires a firmware upgrade before doing the data migration and don't enable TRIM unless you are certain it makes an improvement - on some drives, you shouldn't enable it. Don't fill your SSD too full either. If you plan to put 110GB of data onto a 120GB SSD, you would be better off with a bigger SSD.


Appreciate the reply. The SATA cable is, as you pointed out, a relatively easy piece to get, as are the grommets and screws to allow one to mount a second hard drive inside the Mac Mini. Ifixit even has a kit that bundles everything together.

My question pertains specifically to migrating just the operating system. The new SSD is going to be much smaller, so I cannot clone the entire HD over. I've never had to restore an operating system from a backup or migrate an operating system to a new computer. I've always just installed from new. I am trying to avoid that if at all possible this time.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

The new SSD is going to be much smaller, so I cannot clone the entire HD over.

Carbon Copy Cloner allows you to exclude files and folders from the clone so you only clone the essentials. It will warn you if you have excluded files that prevent the system booting. Most of the large files will likely be somewhere in your home folder e.g Music folder, Photos etc. Just click the triangles next to the folders in Carbon Copy Cloner and uncheck the box beside folders you don't want to copy and they won't get cloned to the SSD.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Carbon Copy Cloner allows you to exclude files and folders from the clone so you only clone the essentials. It will warn you if you have excluded files that prevent the system booting. Most of the large files will likely be somewhere in your home folder e.g Music folder, Photos etc. Just click the triangles next to the folders in Carbon Copy Cloner and uncheck the box beside folders you don't want to copy and they won't get cloned to the SSD.

Thanks! Will give this a try.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Used the ifixit kit and a OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD in my Mac Mini. Ended up doing a clean install of Lion and then using migration assistant to move over the applications and user info from the 750GB 7200 RPM HD. Boot time is "Holy s**t" fast as is application opening time and general snappiness of the UI. I love using the old HD as an internal data drive for iTunes and Aperture. Very very happy with the upgrade,
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

Used the ifixit kit and a OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD in my Mac Mini. Ended up doing a clean install of Lion and then using migration assistant to move over the applications and user info from the 750GB 7200 RPM HD. Boot time is "Holy s**t" fast as is application opening time and general snappiness of the UI. I love using the old HD as an internal data drive for iTunes and Aperture. Very very happy with the upgrade,

What kind of read/write speeds do you get with the OCZ? You can check using an app like the Blackmagic Disk Test:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/black...25264550?mt=12

Also, did you have to remove the motherboard to install the drives or did you fit both drives in and the SATA cable without doing this?
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

What kind of read/write speeds do you get with the OCZ? You can check using an app like the Blackmagic Disk Test:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/black...25264550?mt=12

Also, did you have to remove the motherboard to install the drives or did you fit both drives in and the SATA cable without doing this?

I followed the video on Otherworld Computing's website in order to get to the empty hard drive bay.

Once fully disassembled, this is was it looked like:

You can see the SSD inside the MacMini with the logic board completely removed (having taken the thing totally apart now, I cannot see how you would get to the second hard drive bay without removing the logic board and the power supply). Total time was about half an hour. I would recommend watching that video several times, and having it on your iPad or iPhone or Notebook computer for easy reference when actually doing the disassembly and reassembly.


Speed Test results:
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

having taken the thing totally apart now, I cannot see how you would get to the second hard drive bay without removing the logic board and the power supply

Yeah, it looks like you couldn't take it out without taking out its mounting bracket. It would have been nice if the drives were almost as easy to replace as the RAM e.g take off the wifi plate and they just pop out diagonally and go in the same way.

One day, they will be able to use the blade SSDs like the Air and it should mean an end to cumbersome upgrades:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Aura_Pro_Express

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

Speed Test results

Thanks for posting those. It looks like the OCZ one is close to the Crucial SSD:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPnlpF3sLtI

The OWC one seems to get extremely high scores:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJZG54fPOg0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDkb8gO14Dc

The reads are what matter for the responsiveness though and they are all around the same.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Check that it boots by holding the alt-key at boot time and choosing the drive. Once you have verified that, you can install it.

I tried holding down the ALT (Option) key, but I didn't get anyway to choose the drive. Is there something else I should have done additionally? Do you hold the Alt key when the chime rings and keep holding it? That's what I tried. Is there another way.
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post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

I tried holding down the ALT (Option) key, but I didn't get anyway to choose the drive. Is there something else I should have done additionally? Do you hold the Alt key when the chime rings and keep holding it? That's what I tried. Is there another way.

when you hold down the option key during restart or startup, the mac should give you a graphical list of all the bootable OS X installs that it can detect on internal drives or on attached drives or optical drives.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

when you hold down the option key during restart or startup, the mac should give you a graphical list of all the bootable OS X installs that it can detect on internal drives or on attached drives or optical drives.

Yep~! It works now. I had to back up Snow Leopard again with CCC, but now the computer sees it.

New question: How can you tell which HDD, when both have Snow Leopard, is running the computer?
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post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

Yep~! It works now. I had to back up Snow Leopard again with CCC, but now the computer sees it.

New question: How can you tell which HDD, when both have Snow Leopard, is running the computer?

The name of the hard drive should be listed as well when you option-restart. At least that is what i seem to recall when I did it.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
New question: How can you tell which HDD, when both have Snow Leopard, is running the computer?

Quote:
The name of the hard drive should be listed as well when you option-restart. At least that is what i seem to recall when I did it.

I'm referring to after the HDD is selected and the computer has been booted and is running. The external HDD is listed as well as the internal HDD, but how does the computer indicate which of the HDD's it was booted from? Or isn't there any way to tell?
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post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sequitur View Post

I'm referring to after the HDD is selected and the computer has been booted and is running. The external HDD is listed as well as the internal HDD, but how does the computer indicate which of the HDD's it was booted from? Or isn't there any way to tell?

Oh, I see. Under system preferences, look at the preference pane entitled "startup disk". I think (don't know for sure) that the disk from which you are booting, will appear furthest most to the left.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

Oh, I see. Under system preferences, look at the preference pane entitled "startup disk". I think (don't know for sure) that the disk from which you are booting, will appear furthest most to the left.

Thanx. It always amazes me when users know details like this. I have been using a Mac for about eight or nine years and I still don't know all the minutiae. I read MacWorld and learn some things, and I have tried to read third party manuals in the past, but there is just too much to assimilate - and remember. Mac HELP just doesn't help most of the time. I'd be lost without AppleInsider members.
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