I have used Time Machine to restore my MBP to a larger HDD with great success, but am about to purchase a smaller SSD for it.

With the obvious caveat of not having more data than the SSD can hold, is there anything stopping me from going from a 500GB SATA drive to a 240GB SSD using a Time Machine restore?

It's a 2010 MBP running Lion 10.7.1, if that makes any difference.



The system is built to accommodate this if possible.

The restore process does a fairly good check before starting to restore to ensure the space is free enough to land the data stored on your specific snapshot in Time Machine.

Time Machine (and Disk Utility restores) work well as long as the "cargo" fits with maybe just a little extra room for overhead. Generally, less space is wasted at the end of files on smaller drives, so the thousands of small preference files pack more tightly on smaller drives.

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  • It should be agnostic about the target disk so long as it meets it requirements, being the ability to fit the data, and the ability to be formatted (if it isn't already) using the correct partition scheme in order to allow the machine to boot from the recovered data. If for instance you were restoring onto a 24Gb partition rather than a whole drive, and that partition was on a drive that already has a different layout including EXFS, or FAT, or NTFS filesystems for Linux/Windows etc, you may run into problems, but you don't have this scenario and should be fine as bmike says. – stuffe Sep 15 '11 at 9:26
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    Having said that, make sure that when you say it will fit, that you mean it will fit and provide with sufficient free space to allow continued use. Also, if your Time Machine backup has any exclusions, like virtual machine files etc, this could return to bite you, and don't forget that Time Machine doesn't actually backup everything, so your hibernation file (roughly equal to the amount of RAM you have), page file, various logs and cache files etc will produce additional usage when you are up and running. – stuffe Sep 15 '11 at 9:29

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