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  1. #1
    Hard Drive Failing - replacement strategies
    I have a 2009 MBP 3.06 Ghz and the hard drive is becoming unreliable. I recognize it is time to replace the machine, but it is in very good condition and I would like to try to get 18-24 mos. more out of it if I can. I backed up the most essential files using Time Machine, bought a Samsung 850 EVO SSD 500 GB to replace the internal drive and bought a new LaCie Rugged 2 TB HDD to create a full backup of data from the failing drive (ca. 125 GB) and to function as a backup drive thereafter. I have several questions:

    1) What are the differences between using Time Machine vs. creating a disk image to transfer data from the old HDD to the portable La Cie? Should I partition the La Cie for any reason before backing up to it/creating a disk image on it?

    2) My existing backup drive contains only select data and none of my software or photos, so I need to attempt a full backup. Should I back up software differently from data (word files and photos)? I am most concerned about registered copies of Adobe Design Suite and Capture One, but also Endnote, Dragon Dictate, Canon Digital Photo Professional, Bitdefender.

    3) What are the advantages of using Time Machine versus Carbon Copy Cloner to create a backup? I would need to buy a copy of CCC, but that's doable.

    4) Should I partition the new internal SSD and what should the strategy be? Should I put system software and programs on a smaller partition and data on a larger partition?

    5) I would prefer to do a fresh install of the OS and the other software. Can I just download the OS from Apple, or will I need some kind of proof of prior purchase, etc.? Will the dmg files with verification code be all I need to do a fresh install of software listed in 2 above?

    6) There is a 2010 thread "How to keep your Mac running its best..." that recommends using a maintenance utility. Does that recommendation still stand? What are good options for that software?

    Other suggestions on the backup and re-install are welcome. Thanks for the help

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum.

    There ave been some problems reported with Samsung EVO drives and Apple laptops. That's just a small yellow-flag caution for you as you move along. With a bit of luck, maybe it will work well for you.

    1. A TM backup is not natively bootable, a clone is. You CAN boot with a TM using an EFI boot, but I've never tried it so I cannot say how well it would work. As for the LaCie, I would not partition it until after you get the system going on the new SSD and you KNOW you don't need the backup. Then you can partition it into two 1G partitions (my recommendation, you can make them as large as you want, and have as many as you want), and put one as the TM backup target and the other for whatever you want.

    2. TM will back up EVERYTHING on the drive, and you can set the clone apps (Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper!) to do the same. However, be aware that some software (Adobe in particular) use a registration process that won't be restored properly. You'll be better served to "uninstall" or "deactivate" the Adobe stuff and reinstall/reactivate it on the new drive. Cant' speak to the others, but Microsoft is known for similar schemes. You'll have to check with the vendors.

    3. Re-read my answer to #1.

    4. I would not partition the new internal drive, personally. Just let it be and use it as it is. I have always found that having data on a different drive causes some performance hit. Maybe insignificant on an SSD, but it's there.

    5. You didn't mention what version of OS X you have installed, but unless you downloaded an installer earlier, the only version available for install is Sierra (10.12.3). If your system cannot run Sierra, there is a legitimate copy of the El Capitan installer available, but I don't have the link to it. Maybe someone will come forward with that for you.

    6. Onyx ( is the only maintenance utility you will need. It's free and works well. Get the proper version for your version of OS X.

    What I would do personally is to use a cloner, put the new SSD in an external enclosure, clone from the dying drive to the SSD and then install the SSD in the MBP and boot from it. Test that it all works well, fix any issues (Adobe/MS, etc), and you are done! If you decide to upgrade, your can do it from there after the drive has been swapped. One challenge at a time is much better, IMHO.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the welcome and the detailed reply.

    I'm a heavy Microsoft Office user, so I appreciate the note that Adobe and Microsoft software may not back up properly. I'll do the uninstall and re-install.

    I think I've been running OS 10.10. I'm working mostly from a work laptop and will check when I boot to back up my machine. I'll check further to see whether my machine will support the latest OS.

    I saw from another thread that OWC SSDs were recommended, and that you had found the support with Crucial wanting. Any other brand or model suggestions? I also don't know if the SATA bus is limited in speed because the MBP is older, and how that should influence what I order. I mostly use Word, PowerPoint, and Acrobat Pro for work, and then Photoshop, Illustrator, and Capture One on my own time. That just to say that a lot of what I do doesn't require a lot of power, but the Adobe and other photo editing software does.

  4. #4
    I'm having difficulty making a data backup. I've downloaded CCC and when I ran the program last night, the failing drive was locking up. I went to this Macworld article: At this point, I started with step 3 and ran Disk Utility in Recovery Mode. When I ran repair disk, the machine came back with the HD appears to be okay.
    In Step 4, Safe Boot + Verbose Mode, I read that it is replaying the journal, fails to update an error in block 2. (Tried to attach photo)
    In Step 5, boot in Single User Mode and perform file system safety check, I repeatedly got disk 0S2 I/O error.

    Is there some software other than Disk Utility that I can run in order to repair the HD enough so that I can backup more of my data and software? IMG_20170308_121140.jpg

  5. #5

    Thank you, your advice worked great. Sorry not to have replied at the time. I bought an OWC SSD and it's working well. I used ProSoft's Data Rescue 4 for Mac and was able to remove files from the otherwise uncooperative hard drive.

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