I'm setting up a MacBook (2009 unibody, for the record) for a friend. There's currently a regular HDD in the machine, and I'm going to be putting a fresh install of Mountain Lion and iLife on it, along with fully updating the machine and preinstalling some useful third-party apps. I've also advised said friend to put an SSD in the machine, so my plan was to do the long-winded part of this on the current HDD, then when the SSD gets delivered, clone the contents over using CCC so it's good to go.

My question, then, is this. Is cloning from an HDD to an SSD absolutely no different to doing all this installing and configuring on the SSD directly, or are there any kind of optimisations or etc that the install process carries out when it's aware it's being installed onto a different type of drive? My instincts say no, but I don't want the machine to incur a performance penalty because I took a shortcut. Thanks for any advice!

2 Answers 2


Your question probably arose from awareness of "hot zones" that OS X automatically manages on HDDs (where the location of files on the physical disk has a bearing on performance). On SSDs, the location of files does not have any bearing on the performance. So there shouldn't be any issues cloning from the HDD to the SSD using Carbon Copy Cloner.

These responses from Mike Bombich (creator of CCC) from the official CCC discussion forums would be useful to you:
Clone to SSD on new iMac
Installing an SSD in a MacPro


I'd suggest cloning to the SSD first, then doing all of the new installs on the SSD and leaving the HDD as-is for awhile. This will give you the performance improvements of the SSD while doing some major installations, and will also give you a fallback in case of any issues, by allowing you to simply replace the existing HDD without any changes having been made to it.

I've now done several HDD to SSD upgrades using the still-awesome Carbon Copy Cloner and have not run into any issues. After cloning I'd recommend using a cache cleaning utility, such as Cocktail or Mountain lion Cache Cleaner to flush caches, repair permissions etc.

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