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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Dec 25, 2008
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    4
    Upgrading MacBook hard drive with external USB HD
    Hi,

    I have a MacBook with a 1.83 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, OSX 10.5.6 and a miserable 60GB HD. I also have two external HDs, a 200 GB Passport WD and a 300 GB Fantom Drive. Both are USB drives unfortunately. The WD doesn't connect to a power source (just the USB), while the FD does.

    I'm very good about backing up my data and use Time Machine with both drives, keeping one at home and one at school. Before setting up TM, I also created a bootable partition on the WD and installed leopard on it. I originally did this so that I could clone the internal and put a disk image of it on the FD (which requires booting from the WD) so that if TimeMachine missed something, I'd have another place to look for the data.

    Contrary to a lot of data on the web, it is possible to boot to an external via USB. I've seen a lot of sites that say you can only do this wire FireWire.

    Anyway, it's high time for me to upgrade the internal HD and I just bought this: Newegg.com - Western Digital Scorpio WD3200BEVT 320GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Notebook Hard Drive - Laptop Hard Drives

    1) What's the best way to do this? Say I booted to my WD right now and made a clone of the current internal. Could I then swap internals, boot to the WD again and copy the disk image of my old internal onto the new one? I've never done this before, so I just have no idea if that's doable. Anything else that I should do? Will I have to format the new internal somehow first?

    2) Will TM work with drives smaller than it? Say I fill up 120GB of the new internal. Could I still use my passport as a backup drive for TM? Or should I partition the new internal such that the partition that TM is backing up from is smaller than the 200 GB WD?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
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    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    Your machine can boot from an external USB drive or Firewire.

    The easiest way to swap out the HD in your machine is to purchase a compatible HD (must be SATA and of the correct dimensions) and hook that new drive to your MacBook. You can hook it to the MacBook via an adapter like this one or put it in an external case.

    Use cloning software to copy everything from your 60Gb drive to the new one. I recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper.

    After making the bootable clone, remove it from the external case or adapter and swap it with the HD that's in your MacBook. Place the old 60Gb drive in the external case and use it for storage or attach it to the machine with the adapter and do the same thing.

    One note: You do need to format any new drive you purchase prior to using it to make the clone. Just use Disk Utility to format the entire drive as HFS +. You will need to do that prior to using the drive for the copy.

    Regards.

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Dec 25, 2008
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    The easiest way to swap out the HD in your machine is to purchase a compatible HD (must be SATA and of the correct dimensions) and hook that new drive to your MacBook.
    The one that I got is fine, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    You can hook it to the MacBook via an adapter like this one or put it in an external case.
    Will the factory (current) HD not have an adapter that I could use for the new drive?

    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post
    Use cloning software to copy everything from your 60Gb drive to the new one. I recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper.
    In the past I've used Disk Utility. Is there any reason not to do this? The only disadvantage is that you have to boot to a different drive (my WD) when making the copy of the internal, but I've already got that set up so it doesn't seem like a problem.

    Basically, if I plan on tossing the 60GB after I upgrade, I don't need a new adapter/case?

    If anyone knows the answer to my question about TM I'd appreciate it.

  4. #4


    Member Since
    Dec 25, 2008
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by emtb23 View Post
    The one that I got is fine, right?
    In the past I've used Disk Utility. Is there any reason not to do this? The only disadvantage is that you have to boot to a different drive (my WD) when making the copy of the internal, but I've already got that set up so it doesn't seem like a problem.

    If anyone knows the answer to my question about TM I'd appreciate it.
    Specifically, will I be able to use the "Restore" feature of Disk Utility? If I make an image of my current hard drive, store it on the external, swap internals, boot from the external, will I be able to just set the copy as the Source and the new internal as the Destination?

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Dec 25, 2008
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by emtb23 View Post
    Specifically, will I be able to use the "Restore" feature of Disk Utility? If I make an image of my current hard drive, store it on the external, swap internals, boot from the external, will I be able to just set the copy as the Source and the new internal as the Destination?
    Well, I guess either nobody here knows or nobody felt like helping.

    I did this last night and I'm adding a note in case anyone ever searches/googles to this page and has the same question:

    The process that I described above works fine. The only catch is that you have to install OSX from the DVD onto the partitioned new internal before you can restore it. It's not obvious and it took me a while to figure that out - it just greys out the "destination" in the restore tab of Disk Utility unless you try to offer up a drive with OSX.

    Also, when it asks you for a disk image source, it doesn't actually want the .dmg. You have to mount it and actually use the image at a source.

    All in all, it's not a very difficult process.

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