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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Can I swap harddrives?


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jamike

 
Member Since: Dec 03, 2009
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Hi there,

I have a 3-year old white Macbook and would like to buy a refurbished aluminum Macbook. My question is, can I simply take out the harddrive from the old Macbook (10.6.2) and insert it into the new Macbook? Is everything going to work or is this going to screw things up? It's a 250GB drive so I'd like to keep it rather than use the factory-shipped 160GB one.

If this worked, it would save me a lot of time because otherwise I'd have to copy my data somewhere else, then install the new hdd, reinstall Leopard, and then copy the data back.

Thanks a lot for you help!!

jamike
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bobtomay

 
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It may or may not even boot. Not the proper drivers installed for the new machine.

And if you don't already have your data backed up, I'd suggest you invest in an external backup ... before you spend money on a new machine.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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jamike

 
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Thank you for your reply.

I actually do have a backup and use Time Machine. It's only a 120GB disk though, so it only backs up the more important data that I actually care about.

How do you suggest I go about transferring my data if I want to keep my 250GB hdd?

Thanks again for your help.
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bobtomay

 
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How much used space on your internal drive?

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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jamike

 
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It's almost full, around 10GB is free.
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bobtomay

 
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You need a new hard drive now.

You are only asking for problems running a system partition with less than 15% free space, much less the 4% you currently have. I have kept all my system partitions at 25-30% minimum for years.

I would think you are already experiencing slow downs and beach balls. You have no space left for the system to be able to manage it's space and move things around as needed, much less for virtual memory. Snow Leopard will use 120-150GB of virtual memory to keep the system running at optimum conditions if you'll give it the space.

I'd suggest you seriously consider upgrading to a 500GB internal drive. Stick it in the external case you already have, create a bootable backup to it with SuperDuper! and then change drives. My guess with the improved speed just by this, you might think you got a new computer and for only $120 instead of $1000+.

Even if you decide to go with the new machine. You might as well upgrade it to 500GB right from the beginning. I wouldn't even consider keeping that 3 year old drive, that you're running at 96% used space in a new machine. Even if it would boot, all you're doing is transferring your beach balls to the new machine with that drive. You would be a disappointed camper wondering why it doesn't run any better than the old one.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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jamike

 
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Thank you for the extensive reply. I will go ahead and get myself a 500GB drive.

If I decide to go ahead and get a new machine anyway, what's the best way to transfer everything from my old machine to the new machine? Do you recommend a time machine backup that I restore onto my new machine or is the preferred method using an ethernet cable and Migration Assistant?

Thanks a lot for all your help!!!
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bobtomay

 
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Well, I've not yet had to personally deal with this. Am still using the same MBP purchased the day I joined this forum.

Doubt there is much difference between the 2 of them actually.
For those wanting to do it the easiest way, would recommend TM.

For myself, I would probably just keep the clean install on the new machine and manually install all my apps and move all of my data over. This does require more work and knowledge to get your Keychain, iPhoto or Aperture library, and any other apps which keep things stored in random places.

I cannot be held responsible for the things that come out of my mouth.
In the Windows world, most everything folks don't understand is called a virus.
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jamike

 
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Thanks a bunch for all your replies!! Very, very helpful!!!
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drtech

 
Member Since: Dec 07, 2009
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We've found that Migration Assistant works really well in most cases. The only time we've seen it give us any fits is when the previous data is corrupted or there are some outstanding issues.

A Migration Assistant transfer can be a lot less painful that a manual transfer. Like bobtomay says, getting your Keychain, iPhoto, iTunes, etc., transferred manually means knowing where all of the data for those apps lives and then properly replacing / merging with the new data. That is exactly what Migration Assistant is made to do.

Based on the vintage of the Macs you are discussing, you will most likely need to use Firewire. You new Mac will ask you if you want to transfer data from your old Mac during the initial setup of a new OS. Or, you can start Migration Assistant anytime in the "Utilities" folder.

Once Migration Assistant is running, start your old Mac in target disk mode. Do this by holding down the "T" key while powering on the Mac. The Firewire symbol will bounce around on the screen. This essentially turns your Mac into a big external drive.

Next fire up Migration Assistant and follow the step-by-step procedures. It will tell you when to connect up the old Mac. Choose the things you want to transfer, and away you go.

But, be sure to keep a backup of all of the data from your old Mac until you are very certain that everything you need was transferred properly.

Jeff

Data Recovery Technician
Specialized Mac Data Recovery
*Use the information provided in this post at your own risk without any warranties, expressed or implied.
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