The HDD in my MacBook Pro failed so I followed some online instructions, and as I had a spare external USB HDD I ended up with the latest OS X Mavericks on the external HDD.

It was all done by Apple over the internet. The MacBook will now only work with the external HDD. I have a new SSD that I want to fit in the MacBook and have all the files on the current external HDD transferred to the SSD. When I restart the MacBook I want it to boot from the new internal SSD. However, I am a bit stumped with all the various instructions so can someone give me an easy guide i.e. step-by-step? I want the MacBook Pro configured as if it was new, i.e. with all the necessary software on the SSD. I have Time Machine backups, I have an USB enclosure. The SSD is a Samsung 840 Pro 512 GB. I also have the original discs with OS etc.

Do I install the SSD in the MacBook first and then format it using the original OS disc?

I ask because I have plugged in the SSD using the enclosure and it is not recognised with Disk Utility? I have also discovered that the existing internal HDD is accessible again and alive but when I try a restore command I get a message: "Cannot restore from source disk"!

I hope I have explained my predicament clearly. References to cloning, carbon copy etc have me lost.

I did this and got the following. I did as instructed which was as follows, and as it all happened so fast I may miss out a bit! Installed the SSD, ran OS dvd, partitioned the new ssd, then clicked on continue, got an option to restore OS, selected that and used time machine backup. This tranferred my latest backup to the new ssd, tok about 2 hours. Mac restarted and booted from ssd. Everything worked. Turned off mac and back on all booted ok. Delighted. Switched off last night, this morning switched mac back on, would not boot from SSD. Then would not boot from USB HDD. Put back in OS DVD, checked disk utility, saw samsung ssd, under partition all ok but cant make it start up disk, got error message, partition fail, tried verify disk now and got some information was unavailable during an internal look up. , then tried partition, got error couldnt unmount disk. I then tried the unmount tab but it says could not unmount, . I am stuck good and proper. I wonder why it worked for a while and then once left powered off overnight failed. help??

3 Answers 3


what I did when my hdd died last week (coincidence): I replaced my hdd with a smaller ssd and replaced the disk drive with a hdd. Then I installed a fresh version of osx on the ssd. After installation I plugged in my dead hdd with my old installation and simply dragged my home folder to my new hdd. When this was finished i changed the path to my home folder in system settings to my old folder I just copied to my new hdd. this gave me a brand new instal of osx and 99% of al my data I only had to re-download a few plugins.

You could try this aswel since I am guessing there is a problem with your old osx installation.


  • Reinstall osx on your SSD
  • Drag your old home folder on your new drive
  • change the path to your home folder in system settings

I haven't tried having the main OS disk externally but there should be recovery partition never the less.

Recovery Mode gives you all you need to (re)install OS X. So put in the SSD and power on the Mac, then — immediately — hold down +R and wait for at couple of seconds until the Apple logo appears. It might also be a spinning globe logo in some cases.

When it finishes loading, you should get a desktop with "Install OS X" among the options.

(If this doesn't happen, you don't have a recovery partition and in that case just use the OS disc you have)

Then open Disk Utility and make sure that the SSD is visible to the MacBook. If so, format it with 1 partion and HFS+ (Journaled, case-insensitive) as filesystem.

Then proceed to install OS X and select the SSD as destination. This will give you a clean version of OS X on the SSD. After that you can move the files from the external drive.

To the Apple-certified technicians that I know are here sometimes, please correct me if I'm wrong :)

  • I did as instructed which was as follows, and as it all happened so fast I may miss out a bit!
    – user71734
    Commented Mar 2, 2014 at 15:43

I think it could be done easily: with the mac running from your actual external HDD, connect the new SSD to usb either with a sata->USB cable or an enclusure plus cable. Start DiskUtility in Utilities: partition/erase the new SSD to. GUID Partition Table and. Mac OS Extended (journaled). Then start a cloning app like Carbon Copy Cloner (trial will do it I think), and make a clone from the HD to the SSD (include the RecoveryPartition). Then resta the mac while holding the Alt/option key: select the new SSD. When everything is OK, shutdown the mac and open the mac, put the SSD in the startup disk bay.

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