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The goal is to upgrade a Mac's hard drive to an SSD.

Is it possible to boot Clonezilla from a USB stick on a Mac (iMac 2007/Mac 7,1) to clone a mechanical HDD to a SDD? I do not have access to the target machine in my home / office and will have very limited amount of valuable time on the target machine.

Although there are reports of booting from USB, I am unable to find instances of booting a Mac from USB Clonezilla. My concern is that there is some obstacle to booting Clonezilla or other hurdle that would prevent upgradomg the HDD to a SDD. I would prefer that advance experience inform me that it is not possible because of X,Y,orZ so I do not waste my limited time on the target machine.

Although I have performed the clone exercise with other methods, my curiosity prompts the question: the hope is that someone has actually performed the task with Clonezilla or knows enough to confidently claim Clonezilla is possible.

UPDATE: I do not have access to said target machine & it is not mine to experiment with as I please. I am reluctant to experiment on machines that are not mine to satisfy intellectual curiosity. The target machine is not mine. I am open to new ideas and appreciate suggestions that ultimately serve the goal & do not necessarily address the question.

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  • Why not just use Disk Utility while booted from macOS Recovery from a macOS USB Installer? May 30 '20 at 4:02
  • 1
    The issue, for me at least, is whether or not you tried. you obviously know how to use Clonezilla, so I don’t understand why the unwillingness to create a bootable Clonezilla USB and give it a go. In the 14 hrs from when you first posted and I cast my reopen vote, you could have attempted this several times. What is really poignant here is you state you “don’t want to waste your limited time.” So, our time isn’t as valuable as yours?
    – Allan
    May 30 '20 at 17:45
  • Might be easer to put the SSD into the external enclosure first, boot from HDD and mirror it to the SSD. Or, as already mentioned, boot into Recovery and clone the disk from there.
    – nohillside
    May 30 '20 at 18:03
  • @Allan, Thank you for casting the reopen vote. As reassurance for your vote: I do not have access to said target machine & it is not mine to experiment with as I please. I am reluctant to experiment on machines that are not mine to satisfy intellectual curiosity
    – gatorback
    May 31 '20 at 10:41
  • 1
    IMO The easiest and best way to handle this it to put the SSD in an enclosure and attach it to the Mac, then boot the Mac using a macOS USB Installer. From macOS Recovery you can use Disk Utility to restore a volume from another volume and when you restore from one volume to another volume, it makes an exact copy of the original. You'd select the disk itself, not e.g. Macintosh HD. Then boot the Mac from the SSD and if it works (it should), then swap out the disks. May 31 '20 at 14:24
5

Yes, it's doable!

Testing on a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Early 2013), as it's the oldest Mac I have access to today…

I went to https://clonezilla.org/downloads.php and clicked on alternative stable - 20200428-focal, then in the next window left 1, 2, 3 as set and clicked the DOWNLOAD button.

While the zip archive was downloading I prepared the USB drive in Disk Utility so it's a single FAT32 partition with an Master Boot Record. The output below from Terminal shows how it should look, although the disk number may vary on your system:

$ diskutil list disk3
/dev/disk3 (external, physical):
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:     FDisk_partition_scheme                        *8.0 GB     disk3
   1:                 DOS_FAT_32 UNTITLED                8.0 GB     disk3s1
$ 

Unzip the downloaded zip archive to the root of the USB drive while maintaining the hierarchical directory structure contained within the zip archive, as shown in Terminal using ls -al:

$ ls -al
total 128
drwxrwxrwx@ 1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:22 .
drwxr-xr-x@ 4 root  wheel    136 May 31 07:02 ..
drwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:22 .disk
-rwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff    188 Apr 28 22:56 Clonezilla-Live-Version
drwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:22 EFI
-rwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff  18092 Aug 11  2015 GPL
drwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:22 boot
drwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:20 home
drwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:22 live
drwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:22 syslinux
drwxrwxrwx  1 me   staff   4096 May 31 07:20 utils
$ 

Then booted the Mac with Clonezilla Live on USB by pressing the Option key at startup, selecting EFI Boot and pressed Enter.


However …

That all said, while it is possible to boot a Mac with Clonezilla Live on USB; nonetheless, I would just use Disk Utility while booted from macOS Recovery from a macOS USB Installer, and use it to mirror the drives using the Restore button.

3
  • It would be interesting to see the results of cat /proc/partitions and 'df -h`
    – gatorback
    May 31 '20 at 15:37
  • 1
    @gatorback, Considering what an inconvenience this was to do it the first place and the fact that on a Retina Display the text is so small I had to use a magnifying glass just to read the screen past a certain point in the boot process, sorry but it's not going to happen unless you boot it on your system. May 31 '20 at 17:14
  • Thanks for taking the time to post your results. I appreciate the effort. Credit awarded.
    – gatorback
    May 31 '20 at 17:32

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