I just bought a new MacBook Pro overseas. I currently own a MacBook Air and I need to bring a backup of this current computer to US, so I can restore it on my new computer when I arrive.

I currently do incremental backups to a Time Capsule, but bringing it is not an option. What would be the best strategy to back my data up to an external HD and restoring it later on this new MBP?

I am OK if I need paid solutions too, but of course freebies are better.

Update: I used the approach of adding an extra drive to Time Machine and it worked beautifully! I got my new MBP and it had Lion installed. When I used the Migration Agent, the user was successfully migrated but it wouldn't recognize my password. I had to reinstall from scratch, add a new user, login, update to Mountain Lion and finally run the Migration Agent again. Once that was done, everything worked.

1 Answer 1


Have you considered using Time Machine to backup your computer to an external drive? If you change the Time Machine backup destination in System Preferences > Time Machine, it will stop backing up to your Time Capsule, and backup to your external. Then once it has completed a backup to the external, just point Time Machine back to the Time Capsule.

Carbon Copy Cloner is one of the best applications for this. It is free and makes a complete bootable backup of your hard drive to an external. I've used Carbon Copy Cloner many times and I highly recommend it.

SuperDuper! is another option. It allows you to create a fully bootable backup of your hard drive. The backup part is free, so you don't need to pay the $27.95 for the scheduling part. I've used SuperDuper! as well and it is a great application.

  • Thanks! It will work even if I have very different hardware and very different disk sizes?
    – kolrie
    Aug 16, 2012 at 4:53
  • Yes, I believe so. Definitely different disk sizes (provided you aren't trying to put 500GB of data on a 200GB hard drive :-). Hardware wise...it is just restoring a backup to a new computer...it should be just fine. Also, see my updated answer...
    – daviesgeek
    Aug 16, 2012 at 4:56
  • I am inclined on trying CCC (I wanted to do so for a long time now). So I may give it a go :)
    – kolrie
    Aug 16, 2012 at 5:00
  • And to clarify, I have a 256GB SSD and I am getting a MBP with 768GB SSD. I will give this a shot.
    – kolrie
    Aug 16, 2012 at 5:01
  • 1
    Yeah...you are best off probably using TM.
    – daviesgeek
    Aug 16, 2012 at 5:09

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