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Trouble cloning to new hard drive

I purchased the 1TB hybrid hd from iFixit. Followed the instructions to clone using SuperDuper. The first attempt was unsuccessful due to an error with a file in my library for the Nat geo screensavers. I deleted that file hoping I could have a successful clone after that. 5 hours into second attempt my screen will not come up. Just remains black and my hard drive is madly clicking away. I don't know what to do. Manually shut down? With new HD still plugged in? Help?!

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2 Answers

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Here's what you need: OS-X El Capitan. Have you used Disk Utility yet to prep the USB thumb drive?

  • Remember you need to delete the FAT32 partition and create the GUID partition map and create the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) partition on the thumb drive.

Once you have it downloaded the installer on your good Mac with the USB thumb drive inserted, run the installer application make sure you've selected the thumb drive. Once done copy over the installer app onto the thumb drive. Now with your thumb drive plugged in your troubled system boot up your system holding the Option key so you can gain access to the drive manager to select the USB thumb drive to boot up from.

Now run disk utility to check your HD. Here we want to run both repair permissions & disk under the Disk First Aid section.

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Thank you so much for all your help Dan. I'll try that for the emergency disk. But if you could help me with the first part of my question.

1. Should I reformat new hybrid drive to start clean?

2. Should I try to use the migration assistant to clone files? If the old hd might be failing?

3. How do I recover files from time machine? I don't currently have El Capitan because there wasn't enough space on my HD. Will it recover the old OS,

Sorry for all the questions. Thank you!


Lets start things by first checking the drive with the USB thumb drive we have created to see whats the condition with the drive you're trying to clone. Until you know what the story is with it I would just be guessing here.

The old adage: You first need to stand before you can walk, you need to walk before you can run.

The order of your actions here is important! We first need to stand here (checking the source drive) then we can Walk (fix the drive) then we can run (using Migration Assistant).


"Once you have it downloaded the installer on your good Mac"

On my new hybrid drive? It is still in the usb connecter. How do I do that...

EDIT: I found this is this what I need to do on both USB and new drive? Or just USB for now?

For the USB Drive - You said to delete the FAT32 partition. Do I do that under the Disk Utility - Erase tab. Select "MacOS Extended Journaled" and then click erase? Then under Partition tab select 2 partitions?

EDIT: I formatted under Erase selected Mac OS Extended Journaled and named the disk. Then erased. Now under Partition I selected GUID Partition Map from options. Now how do I partition?

Is there an easier way I can connect with you so maybe I can get this done faster if you're available tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon? I'm heading to bed. Got kiddos to take care of in the morning and this thing is giving me a headache :). Thanks for all the help so far. Sorry to be a pain! :)


How about stopping at a Stapes Store or other store which sells Thumb drives on your way back home. Here's what you want: Thumb (Flash) drives. Just get a 16 GB unit.


Sorry if I was confusing last night. I already have the thumb drive. What I was asking was if you could confirm the steps to delete FAT32. I think I did it correctly.

Then I just need to know how to partition the drive with the GUID Partition and Mac OS Extended Journaled.

I also linked to an Apple support page about how to download the OS to an external drive. Should I do that for the USB thumb and my new drive? Thanks


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If repeated keystrokes/trackpad clicks won't wake the computer back up, then it's probably gone into a deep sleep. Even if it's still cloning, you may not feel confident about the trustworthiness of the clone. Better to scrap this job, and start from scratch once you've configured the computer to give you better information.

First, make absolutely sure that you're doing this clone attached to an AC charger. If you're doing it from a battery, it's powering both the laptop and the second hard drive, and cloning is a power-intensive operation. If the battery drains before the clone is completed, then you'll have to junk the clone.

Do a force shutdown by holding down the power button. Then start up again, open Disk Utility, reformat the hybrid drive to clean up any problems that may have cropped up.

Next, you configure the laptop so it stays awake at full power, so you can keep track of what's going on. Open System Preferences>Energy Saver, click on Power Adapter, and change these default settings:

Set "Computer Sleep" to Never

(optional) Set "Display Sleep" to 3 hours or Never

Uncheck "Put hard disks to sleep when possible"

The Sleep functions kick in when the computer decides you haven't interacted with the computer for some period of time (the default is 15 minutes). The definition of "interact"differs for different operating systems, but it's usually connected to the use of keyboard and pointing devices. System level activities such as the copying utility behind SuperDuper usually won't prevent sleep. A lot of user applications don't prevent sleep, either; I've seen display sleep when I'm watching streaming video, since I'm not clicking on anything.

Once you've reset the Energy Saver preferences, then you can take another shot at cloning your hard drive. Once the clone is complete, you can reset the Energy Saver preferences if you like (and change them on the clone, too, as the clone will duplicate the Energy Saver preferences that were in place at the time the copy was made).

Good luck!

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If you are going to redo things I would recommend you forget the cloning software and instead use the built-in Migration Assistant in the OS installer. It is better than the cloning software. At the end of the OS install it will ask you if you want to migrate the files from another system say yes, then with your old drive still plugged in point to it and let the magic happen! It will copy over your user accounts, Apps & the users data files and your done!


Dan! You answered my question the other day when I was going to start my clone. Well here I am...

The support guy that I emailed at SuperDuper said that it sounds like my HD is failing so it's locking up and can't complete the clone. Do you think that sounds accurate? If so, would using the Migration Assistant do the same thing? The SuperDuper tech said to just replace the current HD with my upgraded one and then install the OS using "network recovery" and restore from my Time Machine back up. But I heard that takes forever... The other day when you answered my question you said to make an emergency disk with a USB what OS Installer am I using from the App Store? Right now I know my software needs to be updated so I wasn't sure if I would be able to just download the most recent software to the USB. Finally, is the Migration Assistant the "Restore" tab in the disk utility?

Thank you!


I think the SuperDuper guy is overlooking one of the limitations of his software: If it hits an unreadable file, the clone quits entirely. Disk Utility's Restore function does the same. My preference for cloning software is Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner; it bypasses the damaged sectors and logs the failures, so you can complete the clone and then decide whether the damaged files are important or not.


Thanks! Wish I'd known that before :-)


Generally, I agree with Dan's point. If you're having repeated problems with cloning, you're better off doing a clean install on a bare drive, then using Migration Assistant during the initial setup to migrate the applications and user accounts over from the old drive. This has several advantages: It defragments the data, it leaves damaged system software behind, and it creates a new clean disk directory. One problem with a clone is that it's an exact duplicate of the original drive; whatever software problems were on the old drive get cloned right along with the good stuff.


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Tara will be eternally grateful.
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