Upgrading a Mac’s Hard Drive By Josh Blagden | JB - Mac Help | JBlagden

Upgrading a Mac’s Hard Drive By Josh Blagden

There are two ways of doing this. The easiest way is to clone the original hard drive. Though, many will argue that it’s better to do a clean installation of the operating system on the new drive and then use Migration Assistant to move applications, settings, and media(optional). In fact, a clean installation might even be advisable for upgrading to a Solid State Drive due to the difference in storage technology.

Cloning the drive:  

1.Purchase a hard drive(or Solid State Drive) and either a hard drive enclosure or a SATA to USB adapter. When purchasing the new drive, keep in mind the speed(in the case of a regular hard drive), technology (platter or SSD) and capacity of the drive.

2. Download Carbon Copy Cloner from http://www.bombich.com

3. Turn off the Mac.

4. Remove the Mac’s internal hard drive

5. Put the new hard drive into the Mac’s hard drive bay which was originally occupied by the hard drive which you just removed.

6. Externally connect the original hard drive.

7. Turn on the Mac and hold down Option. Then a menu will be presented, showing all available boot disks. From here, click on the original hard drive.

8. After the Mac has finished booting from the original hard drive, open Carbon Copy Cloner.

9. Now, select the original hard drive as the source and the new hard drive as the Destination.

10. Next, select Clone. This will initiate the cloning process, which will take several hours, and is something which is best done before bed.

11. When the cloning process finishes, you can Eject the original hard drive after going to Startup Drive in System Preferences and clicking on Restart. From here, the Mac will boot from the new hard drive.


To make a clean installation of OS X:

 1. Download the installer from the Mac App Store.

2. Run the installer and instruct in to install on the new drive.

3. Once it finishes and loads the desktop on the new drive, open Migration Assistant. 

4. Instruct Migration assistant to transfer data from the old drive.

5. From here, you can tell Migration Assistant what you want to transfer. You can’t get too specific, but you can exclude main folders. For example, if you’re moving to a Solid State Drive, you could exclude the Music, Movies and Pictures folders as you’ll likely be moving to a small Solid State Drive due to the price of solid state, and those three folders can take up a lot of space. You should also be aware that it will take hours to migrate from the old drive to the new one. It can take 10 hours or more, so this might be something you’re going to want to start an hour or two before you go to bed and just let it run all night.

© Joshua Blagden & Justin Barczak 2013-2015