I'm planning to swap out my early 2011 MBP's drive for a larger capacity one. I'm running Mac OS 10.7.5.

I have available a 1 TB external USB-connected drive that I'm using for Time Machine backups.

I also have a SATA-to-USB adapter.

I'm pretty sure I have a compatible OS X install disk that I could boot from.

So given all that, what would be the most efficient way to get my old system onto the new drive? Should I copy it onto there before or after putting it into the machine?

Would the Time Machine backup help me out in any way?

2 Answers 2


A few ways to approach....

  1. Clone your existing drive to a drive image on the 1TB (if it has room). As @revolver mentioned, Carbon Copy Cloner is a good tool. Super Duper does very much the same thing. Your choice. Swap drives and then restore. You'll need a boot drive that has your clone tool. The 1TB could do this, or a flash drive, etc.

  2. Plug the new drive into the USB/SATA adapter. Install OS X on the new drive so you get the recovery partition setup properly. Then clone directly from internal to external drive. No drive image involved. You can even reboot while in this config to confirm everything worked. Then swap the hardware.

  3. Run a Time Machine backup. Install the new drive. Install OS X, with its recovery partition. Boot to the recovery partition and restore from Time Machine.

  4. Install OS X on the new drive and use the Migration Assistant tool to move all your data and apps over from Time Machine backup. This has the advantages of removing some cruft and getting you a "fresher" environment.

I'd pick #2 as you can test the new drive before you commit to the hardware install.

  • Thanks. I guess I try option 2. What's the preferred way to install OS X onto the USB connected drive?
    – Agvorth
    Jun 23, 2013 at 22:43

I will use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my current HDD to the one I am swapping to. Easiest solution in my opinion.

  • On further research, CCC does now have an option to also clone the Recovery Partition. It doesn't look like Super Duper supports this. Though the above options of installing Mac OS on the target disk first does get you a proper Recovery partition.
    – 8None1
    Jul 1, 2013 at 23:00

You must log in to answer this question.

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