I have a time machine backup of my early 2011 macbook pro OSX system with mountain lion, I want to remove it's hard disk and replace it with SSD, I have a spare memory key, is there a way to restore data from hard disk to SSD without downloading full mountain lion image, I tried downloading it but Apple servers are too slow, I am getting a speed of 50kbps for a 4.37 gb download, my internet is fine and I have a 10Mbps connection.

  • 2
    Unless you still have the ML Installer on your hard drive, you need to download it to create a bootable USB stick.
    – nohillside
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 14:48
  • I have even copied Mountain Lion onto an 8 GB USB key and it is so slow and painful to boot from, I wish I had just postponed my install for a day and waited for the download to complete over night.
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 18:17

2 Answers 2

  • Buy an enclosure kit from OWC or another vendor.

  • Buy and put your SSD in the enclosure.

  • Connect SSD/enclosure to your computer.

  • Format the SSD with Apple's Disk Utility.

  • Use SuperDuper! to copy your entire internal HD onto the SSD.

  • Set startup to the SSD and boot from it to make sure it boots.

  • Remove SSD from enclosure and install in MacBook Pro.

  • Put MacBook Pro's internal hard disk in now empty enclosure and use it as a backup.

You also can use Disk Utility to image the drive if you don't want to use a third party product like SuperDuper! or CarbonCopyCloner. Some people also prefer a simple USB to SATA connector and you can usually get them for less than $5 from Amazon if you don't need or want a drive enclosure for your old drive.

However, the use of your old hard disk in an enclosure and a backup tool like SuperDuper! or CCC gives you both an external drive and the beginning of a solid backup solution as well.

  • SSD can be connected externally as well. No need to buy an enclosure kit and put it. Samsung provided me with a connector kit.
    – Sairam
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 15:49
  • That's good to know. But, the enclosure kit gives you a place to put the old internal drive if you want to use it as a backup.
    – Richard
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 19:29

Using a USB Enclosure

If you have a USB enclosure that you can put either the SSD or internal drive in, you can clone your internal to your SSD directly. It's a bit more efficient than pulling from the Time Machine backup. For full instructions, read this, but the short version is:

  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Select your internal drive and click the restore tab.
  3. Set your internal as the source, and the SSD as the destination, then click the restore button.

Using USB Key & Time Machine

If you don't have access to a USB enclosure (although I recommend getting one — they can be had for $30 or less and are very handy to have around), then you can restore from the Time Machine by creating a Recovery Disk on your USB key.

  1. Download the OS X Recovery Disk Assistant, and follow the instructions to create a recovery partition on your USB key.
  2. Restart your Mac with the recovery key and Time Machine drive attached, with the SSD installed.
  3. Hold down option while restarting your Mac, and select the recovery partition as your boot drive.
  4. Choose the restore from Time Machine option, and follow the directions. Select your Time Machine drive as the source, and your SSD as the destination.
  • Just to be clear - the OS X Recovery Disk assistant does not eliminate the need to download the installer (or have it on hand already). It also has not been updated by Apple since the 1.0 release, so it may be something that isn't updated for newer macs - or on the way out like the iPod HiFi was to make room for future changes.
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 18:14
  • No, but the installer isn't necessary for restoring from a Time Machine backup. The Recovery Disk assistant simply copies over the Recovery Partition, which can itself access and copy over the Time Machine backup.
    – robmathers
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 19:36
  • Hmm - I should poke at that - modify the date/times of some files on the recovery HD and erase the target and see whether it duplicates itself over then boots the migration assistant to restore from a backup. Interesting...
    – bmike
    Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 20:30

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