Upgrade the MacBook Part 2: Get that data going

This is part 2 of a 2 part series on upgrading your MacBook. Part 1 is exchanging the hard drive.

After you upgrade your MacBook’s hard drive, you’re stuck with a computer that likely has no data on it. This, of course, is impossible to boot, so you’re left with a very nice looking paperweight. With a few pieces of software, you can be back up and running in no time.

Clone your OS X installation to the internal drive

The process of moving a bootable OS X installation to another drive is called cloning. This is different from straight drag and dropping because it takes into account all the hidden system files crucial for operating the system. For my needs, Carbon Copy Cloner fits the bill perfectly.

Before you can clone the drives, however, you must be able to connect the old MacBook hard drive. For this purpose, an external drive enclosure is just the ticket. Available for nearly all size of hard drives, they come in USB2 or FireWire connections and can allow you to use your old drives as boot volumes or storage sites. Since Intel Macs can boot from USB2 drives, I’ve decided to use my original 80 GB drive as a Leopard boot system and backup (I’ll share how I did that in an upcoming post). In order to use your original MacBook drive, purchase a 2.5″ enclosure with a SATA connector (any of these will do) and boot from it by holding the option key at startup.

Once you’re booted from the external drive, cloning is as easy as choosing the appropriate drives from within the Carbon Copy Cloner window. Once the operation is completed, you can restart normally, and you’ll be using the internal drive.

Clone Boot Camp drive*

Maybe you have a Boot Camp drive, maybe not, but if you do, you don’t have to erase your entire installation and start again. Thanks to a simple application called Winclone, you can copy an NTFS or FAT32 formatted Windows installation and use it on a different drive. This is perfect for moving the installation from one drive to another. The process is slightly different from CCC, as it copies the installation to a disk image, which can then be moved wherever you wish.

To clone a Boot Camp installation, open Winclone and choose your partition from the left side of the window. When you select Clone and let the operation finish, you’ll be left with a disk image you can then restore to the newly created Boot Camp partition using Winclone’s restore tab. This is also an excellent way to increase the size of your Boot Camp partition without having to use a brand new installation of Windows.

So there are the steps to get your brand new MacBook up and running with a larger hard drive. Happy upgrading!

*If necessary

[tags]Mac OS X, MacBook, computer, hard drive[/tags]

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