Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If I buy a new hard drive and clone my original onto it (using Carbon Copy Cloner or something similar), will my computer function exactly the same as it did before? Will things like licensed programs not work properly? (I can't think of any reason they wouldn't, but you never know.)

share|improve this question
    
One point. If you want a start-up disk, you have to have the proper formatting scheme on it, before you clone onto it. For 10.4 and later, use GUID Partition Table –  GEdgar Feb 23 at 14:49
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Yes. I swap out drives all the time... it's basically transparent on a Mac. I've even booted my MacBook Pro's drive on my wife's MacBook Pro and vice versa. It takes a minute longer to boot as it reconfigures itself but once it starts you can't even tell the difference.

share|improve this answer
1  
do you have any Adobe apps on either machine? That's what I think someone would be most likely to run into trouble, given the number of product registration issues they've caused. –  Dori Sep 19 '10 at 6:32
    
Yes, PS on my wife's. No issues... it was originally installed on her old mbp too. –  Robert S Ciaccio Sep 19 '10 at 6:58
add comment

Short answer: Probably

Long answer:

Technically speaking CCC and similiar tools do not make bitwise exact copies of volumes. There are detectable differences (for example, each disk will have different UUIDs). Having said that, I have never seen any software that depends on something like the disk UUID, but it is possible someone uses it as a part of a copy protection scheme or something.

One exception is Time Machine. Time Machine uses the UUID to identify the source disk. So in order for time machine to incrementally continue on your previous backup, you'll have to use the command sudo tmutil associatedisk -a.

share|improve this answer
1  
Time Machine depends on UUID. A solution to this problem is given here: hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20090213071015789 –  mouviciel Sep 19 '10 at 18:46
1  
I never had problems even with time machine. I swapped out drives and when I hooked it up it picked up right where it left off. Maybe this is only an issue in Leopard? –  Robert S Ciaccio Sep 19 '10 at 22:51
    
@Robert: Strange - my timemachine wanted to back up everything again. Once I changed the UUID to match the original all was fine. –  n1000 Feb 23 at 10:43
add comment

As has been said, everything should work. It is easy to test this. Simply put the drive in an external enclosure, clone the current drive, then use Startup Disk utility in System Preferences to boot off of the new disk. This will allow you to verify that everything works as intended. If your original disk is mounted, you probably want to eject it to ensure the system is picking anything up off of that disk.

share|improve this answer
    
+1... this is how I always test a drive that I'm swapping in. –  Robert S Ciaccio Sep 20 '10 at 16:07
add comment

Yes, everything will work the same if you use software such as Carbon Copy Cloner and choose to move the entire hard disk to the new (or "other") one.

It is a great way to have a backup disk that will just work immediately in case if failure of the internal drive (this is how I do with my MacBook Pro), and it's a good companion (not substitute) of Time Machine.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

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.