so I have a MacBook Pro, a new drive (NVMe SSD), PC, and portable USB HDD. The goal is to clone the MacBook's drive to a new drive (which cannot be attached to MacBook at the same time with the old drive).

  1. It looks like I can attach the portable HDD to the MacBook and clone MacBook's drive to it and then attach both the new drive and portable HHD to PC and clone it again there. Is it possible, right?

  2. Can I attach the new SSD to the PC and clone MacBook's SSD via network?

Another way is to buy an adapter for NVMe to connect to MacBook via USB but I would prefer to not do it.

P.S. I have an adapter for NVMe SSD to connect to MacBook

2 Answers 2


If you can't connect the old and new drives to the Mac at the same time, follow this procedure:

  1. Create a clone copy from the old drive onto the intermediary external USB drive, using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper!.

  2. Then swap the hardware over.

  3. You will need to boot to the intermediary drive (or a fourth drive!), so that you are free to write all over the new internal. (So make sure you've installed an OS on the disk beforehand...!)

  4. Use one of the apps mentioned above (the same one!) to copy the clone back to the blank new drive.

Generally, I would always advise having a spare drive with a bootable OS on it, 'just in case' - even if it's just a little 64 GB flash drive or something. (Oh, and of course, you'll also have another drive for your backup...!)

  • Okay, it looks like its possible to simply install MacOS on USB ( maketecheasier.com/install-macos-on-usb-drive ) so it should be simple. Thanks a lot!
    – Eugene
    Mar 31, 2021 at 10:57
  • Don't make the job harder than it needs to be. benwiggy's method is good.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 31, 2021 at 11:00

I would highly recommend doing this task entirely on the Mac.

Mac>Mac cloning is simple. Persuading Windows to do it is… not. You can buy utilities so that Windows can read/write HFS+ or APFS, but persuading it to handle the multi-volume setup you will need, including a working recovery partition, is not a task I would trust to it.

See Carbon Copy Cloner for one app that is good at this task.

  • Cool and how to do it entirely on Mac?
    – Eugene
    Mar 31, 2021 at 10:37
  • Ok it got answered
    – Eugene
    Mar 31, 2021 at 10:58

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