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I am going to be installing a SSD into my 2011 15" Macbook Pro. After I install the SSD, how should I boot into OS X Recovery? Should I use Internet Recovery even though my Mac came with OS X 10.7; Now running 10.10.1? Or should I create an OS X Recovery USB Drive? Once I get into Recovery, I will use my Time Capsule restore to my SSD.

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Personally, I do not believe that you want to boot into recovery mode. Rather, if you're installing a new SSD into your Mac, the most effective path is to boot to a USB that has the OS X Yosemite installer loaded on it.

First things first, you will need a USB drive that has greater than 4 GB of space. Fall the instructions on this Apple help article for how to create your your Yosemite USB installer: “Create a bootable installer for OS X Mavericks or Yosemite - Apple Support” http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201372

After you've created your bootable installer, please make sure to back up to your time capsule. You may want to take the extra time and perform a manual backup of your most vital files on a separate external hard drive.

When you have your bootable installer and a fresh back up you may begin the process of replacing the original hard drive with the new solid-state. After installing the SSD, you will hold the 'C' button during boot up which will allow you to specify which disc to start up from. Please see this Apple help article which articulates possible key values during start up: “Startup key combinations for Intel-based Macs - Apple Support” http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201255

Although your SSD is most likely blank I find it good practice to ensure this fact by selecting disk utility from the available menus and wiping the SSD. You can also take this step further by re-formatting your drive to Mac OS Extended (journaled).

With your SSD squeaky clean it is time to install the fresh version of OS X Yosemite from the USB drive. You may select your Time machine back up during installation, or you may choose to wait until after install.

  • Would you recommend using Migration Assistant after install or restore from time capsule right away after USB boot? – Mikeca Jan 17 '15 at 15:54
  • @Mikeca depends. Migration Assistant allows you to select exactly what you want, while time machine is a full restore. Migration Assistant can also connect using thunderbolt/FireWire which will give faster speeds if you use the cords. – Jackson1442 Feb 16 '17 at 0:12
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I just got an SSD for my old MBP mid 2009. I had a hard disk enclosure - $9.99, works very well, and is quick and easy to install/remove drives. I put the old disk in it, and the blank SSD into the Mac, then used disk utility to erase the SSD.

You can then boot from the USB drive (former system) recovery mode, and use internet install to install the OS fresh on the SSD. You can always choose to boot from the old drive if you forgot anything.

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If you have an external USB enclosure, you could do what I did.

  • Put the new SSD in the enclosure.

  • Use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone your internal to the new drive. (Works for everything except Bootcamp partitions, for which you need WinClone)

  • Swap drives.

  • Done.

Not free, but solid.

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