My wife has a 13" Macbook Pro from around 2008. It's 250GB HD is full so I purchased a 500 GB drive, partitioned with GUID, erased with Journaled and cloned with CCC. I took out the old disk and put in the new and could not boot: just a folder with ? icon. Put old drive back and new drive on USB, held alt key and drive was there. Could boot from new drive when hooked up via USB.

Am I missing a step? I removed the old disk and put in the new disk, got the OSX install disk and did a fresh OS install onto the new disk, rebooted and it worked fine. So I don't think it's a hardware issue.

All I want to do is swap the old 250 with the new 500 without having to spend hours reinstalling her apps and data. Is there a way to do that?

  • So if you boot with all drives connected and hold option, the 500 GB volume isn't showing? What if you boot to the 250 and use Startup Disk to choose the 500 GB drive and then restart to option? What do you see on that screen.
    – bmike
    Sep 12, 2015 at 15:25
  • @bmike No, it does show that way and I can boot from it. It's when I remove the old drive completely and put the new drive in (internally) that it doesn't see it.
    – 001
    Sep 12, 2015 at 15:27
  • If you swap the drives, new internal, old external, then clone, does it make any difference? I've never known CCC to leave a clone unbootable on the same machine. It will even put a Recovery partition on.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 12, 2015 at 16:41
  • Did you partition the new 500 to be 250 x 2? Maybe you should try that and clone it to one of the partitions. Sep 12, 2015 at 20:46

2 Answers 2


I would do the following to avoid hassles.

  1. Download the installer I want from a running OS and use it to make an official USB installer drive.
  2. Make a Time Machine backup of the 250 GB drive to the drive you will use to back up the Mac once it's running from the 500 GB drive. If you plan on no backups, beg/borrow/buy a drive at least 500 GB to use temporarily.
  3. Boot to the installer drive to test that it COULD install to the 250 or the 500 GB drive, but don't install yet.
  4. Power off the Mac and put the 500 GB drive inside.
  5. Boot to the installer with no other external drives connected. Use Disk Utility from the installer to wipe the 500 GB drive and repartition it as OS X Extended.
  6. Once you install to the internal 500 drive, connect the Time Machine drive to restore the backup you made earlier.
  7. Keep the 250 drive safe for a while. You can always connect it to recover files if you discover Time Machine skipped some data or files you need.

I know Carbon Copy Cloner has a way to make a clone bootable, but I don't use that tool, so perhaps my mentioning it will get someone to step forward with that experience.

Also, cloning the drive will carry forward disk errors so you really don't want to do that. Cloning also bypasses the new default settings. Why run in old crusty settings when you can choose what customizations you miss when they occur to you and make use of the new features fully.

There are a few cases where I clone a setup, but the drawbacks almost always make me wish I had started clean so I save little time if any by cloning these days.

  • 1
    Thanks. That might take a while. Will update when completed.
    – 001
    Sep 12, 2015 at 15:43
  • @JohnnyMopp Yup - I admire your willingness to abandon the clone route. Sunk cost and lost time are hard to ignore. Also, you could clone using Disk Utility if you really wanted to give that one more shot. That's how I do clones and image backups - but I'm a big fan of run the installer and then customize/restore data these days.
    – bmike
    Sep 12, 2015 at 15:46

I actually bought a desktop hardware device for cloning HDDs.
It was a few years ago now though and it got stolen before I even had a chance to try it out.
It looked promising though. Maybe it could help your situation.
I actually saw some fairly inexpensive ones on eBay just the other day.

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