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I am upgrading the HDD of a MBP 17" Mid-2009 to an SSD.

I have an Airport Time Capsule with Time Machine backups in it.

Do I still need to purchase a USB/SATA connector for my old drive or can I use the Time Capsule? If so, does it need to be physically connected via USB?

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Migration Assistant can use a Time Capsule as a Time Machine backup source, without the need for a direct connection. Once you've installed OS X, use Migration Assistant to restore from a Time Machine backup, then select your Time Capsule.

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