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A1278 A1181 Hard Drives Compatible? Swap 10.5 for Lion?

First of all, are the SATA drives of a A1181 and A1278 swappable?

I have an old A1181 that had Lion and more importantly lots of tools installed on it. I bought this computer used w/ Lion installed.

Would it be possible to install that hard drive to the new/used A1278 I have now and not have to reinstall everything including a ridiculous 10.6 upgrade/Lion upgrade? Not to mention all the other tools on there.

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Do you have another usable hard drive in the new machine?


FYI I did this swap and it worked flawlessly after a PRAM reset. Lion and my old apps (and a working DVD drive) on the A1278 now.


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Yes, they use the same drives, so physically it is possible, although you'll need to swap the mounting screws, because the screws in those machines are different.

And as far as the software on the drives, it's generally possible to boot up into another Intel Mac's hard drive, as long as the memory and other hardware elements are roughly equivalent. Due to Apple controlling both the hardware and software that goes into its machines, Macs are far better about this type of thing than PCs. If it kernel panics the first time, power off, and power on again. A PRAM reset and a PMU/SMC reset might also help, especially if the computer takes a long time to find the boot device after the swap (blinking folder or a blank screen for a minute before the Apple icon appears, etc.)

Another option is to put a fresh install of Lion on the A1278, and use the Migration Assistant in the setup wizard to point to your A1181 (without swapping drives) and seamlessly copy all your data over. I don't know what variation of the Lion installer you have, but the one I've got allows you to go into Disk Utility, wipe the drive, and then close Disk Utility and do a fresh install, i.e. a non-upgrade.

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In target mode it shouldn't matter if Lion was an upgrade Snow Leopard or was the originally installed OS.


Thank you.

I will try that this weekend and update. The a1181 is not in working order overall. I do have it's hard drive in an enclosure. I'm trying to avoid the extra $70 for another Lion since I bought the A1181 (used) with the previous owner already having upgraded.

I may just get the thumb drive, upgrade the A1278 and copy settings. I will keep this updated when I try it.


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Christopher will be eternally grateful.
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