I've recently asked a question regarding fitting a Crucial 256GB SSD (Part No : CT1742109) into my 2007 MacBook (model MB061LL/A), however when researching the transfer process something isn't too clear.

I have had to replace my hard drive a couple of times since I purchased the MacBook so I know I used to boot from the DVD and re-install. With Snow Leopard, I used to insert the disk and select 're-install from a Time Machine Backup' or something similar and it would go through the process. Why couldn't I do this using my most recent (albeit 'Lion') backup? I wouldn't be re-installing Snow Leopard, just merely using the DVD to access the option to re-install from backup.

A follow up question is should I stump up the extra for the data transfer kit offered or is this a waste? Note that I do not want to replace my optical bay and I also don't want to run two HD's at once. I would preferably like to clone the drive onto the new one.

2 Answers 2


My favorite method is to install a Recovery HD onto an external USB drive and then do a final backup to Time Machine. You can use any USB flash drive that has 1G of space and can be erased or partitioned for your Recovery HD storage.

Now you can place the new drive in your mac and install a fresh copy of Lion and play around a bit to make sure it works. Once you are happy, erase Lion and re-install a fresh copy but instead of making a new account, just migrate over from the Time Machine backup.

For advanced users, using Disk Utility or SuperDuper/CarbonCopyCloner can be fun, but even knowing how to do all that, I prefer the opportunity to test my backup since being able to restore a backup is so overlooked and catastrophic when it fails on you should you need it.

I'd say save your money on the transfer kit unless you want that anyhow. No need to move things over and in fact, it's sometimes better to let the system lay out the files in order rather than block copying the old structure on to a pristine new drive. With an SSD, access times are so fast, you may not notice, but I'd rather have one process that works either way - SSD to HD or back, larger drive to smaller, etc...

  • Yes this seems to be the thing I was looking for, SO I'll attempt this when I receive the drive. I didn't want to stump for the transfer kit, but at leaset wanted all of the options to be available for consideratiaon. Thanks for the edit, also as I forgot to link my previous question.
    – tomdot
    Jun 28, 2012 at 14:51
  • Awesome - and if you have the time - feel free to experiment with any of the cloning options (especially once you've verified your backup). They do work but have may more opportunities for failure. I learn the most when things fails since I then gain a deep understanding on how things like blessing a boot folder work and can poke at a broken system until it works again. You can absolutely save your change since Apple made it easy to reinstall the OS as long as you have internet.
    – bmike
    Jun 28, 2012 at 14:54
  • Bit of a follow up question - the link to the Apple Support page for Lion Recovery states you should have Lion Recovery HD installed otherwise you cant create an external HD, however, I ran a test using a USB drive and it transferred to the flash drive fine - though I haven't tested it yet obviously. Have I missed something or misunderstood?
    – tomdot
    Jun 29, 2012 at 7:02

Your question is not 100% clear to me. Under Lion you don't have a "bootable media DVD" (unless you have a USB-Key which you don't mention). If your current drive has Lion, probably the fastest way to deal with all this is to use Carbon Copy Cloner and any external ssd case, clone the drive (CCC can recognize Lion's recovery partition and clone that too), when the clone is finished and you're sure it boots (by pressing upon power on and selecting the external drive), you can then proceed to swap the drives and put the SSD you just cloned/tested in the internal bay, with luck, if you've gotten a flexible enough disc enclosure, you can even use the internal drive as a backup ;)

UPDATE: Since you find stupid the fact that you are trying to boot an older operating system to restore a newer one, then why don't you just go ahead and create a bootable drive of your newer operating system so you can restore your backup they way it should be? Any USB dongle will do.

Go ahead an use Lion Recovery Disk Assistant.

  • I know I don't have a Lion disk because there has never been one. What I wanted to do was use my Snow Leopard disk to boot up to the point where I can specify re-installing from Time Machine backup, then use my latest back up to populate my new SSD. I dont really want to purchase external enclosures I will only use once, and I find it stupid that I have to use another program to re-install rather than use Time Machine which is what it was designed for.
    – tomdot
    Jun 28, 2012 at 11:38
  • 1
    @tomdot, the process for restoring from a time machine backup includes installing the operating system first.. You'll need to address what Martin has pointed out WRT creating bootable media. If you have another machine with Lion installed ( or have a friend with one ), you could put you machine ( with the sad in it ) into Target disk mode and boot the other system into the Lion recovery partition. The recovery utilities will allow you to install Lion onto your ssd. You can then restore from Time Machine.
    – ephsmith
    Jun 28, 2012 at 12:37
  • Ah I couldn't remember whether I had installed the OS first but that has rung a bell. I wouldn't even mind creating a USB Lion install, making a clean install and then shovelling everything over from Time Machine. That's something I'm looking into now, but I'm unsure if that will work
    – tomdot
    Jun 28, 2012 at 13:43
  • 1
    I started with an answer different than Martin, but on editing it it seemed to morph identically into his - just worded differently. So here you have two votes for making a recovery HD. You don't need a Lion installer - the recovery HD will connect to Apple and download whatever is missing if needed. Let's agree to keep petty words like stupid to a minimum. They leech value from the discussion.
    – bmike
    Jun 28, 2012 at 14:45
  • @bmike Yeah I may now look into that. I originally had a USB Drive in mind, but I'll look at all my options rather than get wedded to an ideal. Thanks for the input
    – tomdot
    Jun 28, 2012 at 14:46

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .