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is there a way to completely move my OSX Lion to my new SSD without reinstalling? I came from Windows and Linux to OSX and i thought maybe it is possible to simply change the bootloader config after copying all system files to the SSD like in GRUB?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I believe that simply copying the files manually won't be enough. I'd use SuperDuper for getting a "true" clone of the old drive.

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Thank that is exactly what i was looking for. I used Disk Utility to format the SSD to "Mac OS Extended" and then wrote some copying rules, because only need the system and my application on a SSD. All large files i will keep on the old hard drive. – morth Feb 13 '12 at 16:53
I use SuperDuper but there's also Carbon Copy Cloner. – TJ Luoma Feb 13 '12 at 17:03
Apple's Disk Utility handles making bootable copies - just restore your existing volume onto the new SSD. Boom, you're done. – bmike Feb 13 '12 at 17:07
SuperDuper worked like a charm, the new SSD is fast as hell and i am happy. Thank you guys. – morth Feb 13 '12 at 17:42

Doing a copy will not make the drive boot able. There are all kind of hidden files and "blessing" that needs to be done to make it boot able. For a really good description see What makes a volume bootable? And yes programs like Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! make this task very easy. Additionally, programs like those will let you select and choose what files and folders you do not want to copy to the SSD, if your are in a situation where you need to cut down on things to fit everything on the SSD.

Additionally, you can use the built in Disk Utility program if your current disk is smaller than the new SSD. Using the Restore tab. Select your old volume as the source and select the new SSD as the destination, and that should work as well, but the above choices are the best way to proceed, since they are more polished for the task.

Also there is "One More Thing" and its kind of important. Since this is Mac OS X Lion we are talking about. To truly get a complete Lion installation copied over to the SSD we should account for the hidden lion recovery partition. I can't say for sure but I think if you use CCC or SD! and pick the disk aka "Macintosh HD" and say copy that to disk "mySDD", its going to miss the lion recovery partition. Which you will probably want to have around too for when things go wrong.

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Thanks for the long answer. I actually hoped that Apple had some better tools for such things. With windows and linux i could move the bootloader around and edit his config as i wanted. – morth Feb 13 '12 at 16:56
Disk Utility is the Apple tool and it handles ensuring the copy is bootable if the source is bootable. There's no need for extra software even though both Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! are thoroughly awesome for speeding up a second or periodic copy. For your use case, they are basically functionally equivalent to Disk Utility. – bmike Feb 13 '12 at 17:06
@MrDaniel I dont need a recovery disk i think. Never needed with windows, never needed with linux. When "things go wrong" then i'll simply boot a linux, save my files and do a complete reinstall since i have the lion usb thumb. – morth Feb 13 '12 at 17:36
Morth ya its not needed, but this is a different beast than a windows recovery partition though, its kind of useful. For example being able to do Command + R on boot and then being able to run Disk Utility and more can be time saver, esp if you don't have the thumb drive handy. Just thought I would mention it so that the Recovery Partition is accounted for which would be part of a "truly" complete Lion migration. – MrDaniel Feb 13 '12 at 17:49
@DavidDelMonte No - Disk utility copies everything so unless you first copy everything, then thin out what you don't need it's not the tool for the task you describe. – bmike Nov 3 '13 at 1:24

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