Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've got to drop my MBP (2010 model) in to the Apple store asap to get it repaired and it'll be out of action for a week during a time I need it most. My thought process is, due to the urgency of it all, to get a Mac Mini to tide me over until the repair is complete and keep working in the mean time.

If I buy a Mac Mini, could I just do a time machine restore of my MBP to that and be up and running? Are there any associated problems?

Second thought is also, could I just swap out the drive in the Mac Mini with that of my MBP and be up and running without issue? (I know I'll have to put my MBP in for repair with a drive in, got that thought covered).

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've had the best results restoring from Time Machine to a freshly formatted drive. I did this for a machine with lots of system modifications, (httpd.conf, ssh_config) and all of these files were restored. When I did that with an OS in place these files were missed. There were no problems when I restored to a clean drive. Everything was restored properly. So, if you buy a Mac Mini, format the drive before running the Time Machine restore.

I recommend sending machines to Apple as stock as possible. I've put in known bad hard drives with the Apple Logo on them when sending a machine back to Apple. The hard drive was replaced and the primary problem was fixed. The drive swap would be fine, but unless you are in a big hurry I'd discourage it.

share|improve this answer

This is completely doable. I recently swapped the 480 GB SSD from my MacBook Pro with a 250 GB SSD from my Mac Pro which was before part of a RAID0 configuration. Long story short, fired up setup, told it to recover from Time Machine and both machines were back in their previous state in no time.

Technically, you should be able to just swap the hard drives, but as I always recommend to have a backup anyway, you can just sit and wait for TM to finish.

share|improve this answer

The Time Machine Restore program might fail because it is a different model.

I once tried to restore my hackintosh from my time machine backup. I had customized the model to be a 'MacBookPro8,3', so Time Machine stored that. But to boot the Apple install CD, I used the nawcom mod CD first. Nawcom told the Apple install CD that my computer was a 'HacBook1,1'. When I went to restore, time machine complained that I was trying to restore to a different model.

I fixed it by changing a file in the Nawcom mod CD, but that CD doesn't work for real Macs.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.