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I want to replace hard drive on my 2012 MacBook Pro. I have all the data backed up, but the only thing I want is to keep all my installed software, mainly music software like native instruments, waves, ableton etc. I have no idea where the serial numbers are.

Is there any way I can copy my current system onto a new hard drive without reinstalling everything?

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I'd say you'd need to clone it.

Clones survive with all pre-registered software still intact. I've been doing this for years across several Macs precisely for this reason.

I'd recommend Carbon Copy Cloner [just because it's the one I'm used to] which is capable of cloning to any drive large enough to fit all the data on; it will be bootable & it will offer to make a new Recovery Partition as part of the process.

On a single-drive laptop, you'd need to be able to get the new drive into an external enclosure before starting. You can also test the new clone is bootable from the external before committing to the final disk swap.

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Time Machine is the way to go. You'll need a spare external drive for it. First you need to backup your system onto the external drive using Time Machine:

Once you have the backup ready, connect the new hard drive in your MacBook, boot into recovery and restore from the Time Machine backup.

  • Both of these methods work a treat! I use SuperDuper for cloning but CCC and Time Machine work well too. – Steve Chambers Apr 25 at 14:43

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