Exactly cloning a MacBook Pro's HD
October 9, 2006 6:52 PM   Subscribe

I need to make an exact clone of a MacBook Pro drive onto an external (fw) drive, which will then be used as the MBP's internal drive.

[Asking for a friend, thanks!]
So Carbon Copy Cloner has been highly recommended in other posts here. CCC's main page says it's not Intel compatible (runs under Rosetta) and they include a warning about using PPC-created drives with Intel systems -- but as far as I understand, it would still be safe for my process. If people here can confirm that CCC is the right solution, I'll just go with that.

The current internal drive (factory supplied) is 80GB. The replacement I got is a 160GB, 5400rpm Toshiba (the biggest capacity I could get on newegg).

Currently I've got the 160GB drive in a firewire enclosure. The only thing I've done with it is use Disk Utility to format it & verify it (using my current MBP). When I'm done with this cloning process I'll just switch them physically, so I have a 160GB internal and an 80GB external drive.

Yes, I want to clone my existing drive (rather than do a fresh OS install on the new one and have to redo all the extra stuff I've done). Thanks!
posted by lorimer to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by lalochezia at 6:54 PM on October 9, 2006

Yes, CCC will work fine in your situation; it basically acts as a front-end to preinstalled file copy utilities, and the PPC/Intel thing does not affect you, as you pointed out.

SuperDuper apparently copies some metadata more accurately, but this doesn't really matter unless you know it matters. I do want to point out that SD can be used without payment for simple whole-drive clones like yours.
posted by trevyn at 7:05 PM on October 9, 2006

posted by Armitage Shanks at 7:07 PM on October 9, 2006

Best answer: Yes, Super Duper. I did this little procedure with my stock 80 gig MacBook drive to the same 160 gig Toshiba, with no problems other than the clone stalled the first time after about two or three hours, and I had to do it again. Worked like a charm the second time. The 80 gig is now in the external housing as a backup drive.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:40 PM on October 9, 2006

Response by poster: Huh... if "SuperDuper apparently copies some metadata more accurately" than CCC, that tells me that neither produces an exact clone.

What's more, SuperDuper's advertised screen shot says the cloning process will copy all files "except the temporary and system-specific files Apple recommends excluding." -- I mean, sure, discard temp files, but system files? Or by system-specific does it mean *hardware* specific??

Maybe it is useful to just trust other people's experiences (especially Admiral Haddock's!).
posted by lorimer at 8:45 PM on October 9, 2006

I use CCC without any problems on my MBP. If it did mess up some metadata, I've yet to discover it.
posted by birdherder at 9:31 PM on October 9, 2006

Response by poster: Report from the front: SuperDuper took 75 mins to clone c. 35GB, then when the MBP was booted from the external drive it looked/worked precisely the same. Thanks folks!
posted by lorimer at 3:18 AM on October 10, 2006

I just (this weekend) copied the HD in my (G3/700, Dual USB) laptop by mounting the new HD in my G3 tower with an adaptor, attaching the laptop in Target mode via firewire and just using the system disk utility to transfer the OS X and OS 9 partitions. Put the new hard drive in and started it up right where it crashed the night before, right down to the firefox session.

Not so sure CCC/SuperDuper is all that necessary.
posted by Orb2069 at 7:01 AM on October 10, 2006

if you are comfortable with (one) command line, maybe use asr. It works great - not incremental - but creates a perfect bootable backup. it will write over the whole volume you point it at so its best if you set up a partition on the external drive the same size as the source drive.

man asr

and then

asr restore --source / --target /Volumes/[mounted drive ] --erase

takes about 3 hours and 10 mins to clone my 80 gig drive, and even if you set --verbose it doesnt say much, but it works like a champ, takes care of resource forks and stuff.

and then the same command with source and target reversed will put everything back.
posted by 31d1 at 7:55 AM on October 10, 2006

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